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2011: April

This month we give our opinion on the need to have your say, adjudicator feedback and come out in praise of mute abuse...

Have your say

There has never been a more appropriate time to register your opinion about how you feel the future of the brass band movement should pan out.

The proposals of the Working Party, which could well lead to the formation of the UK Brass Band Alliance have been published, and can be seen in full on 4BR at:

www.4barsrest.com/articles/2011/1226.asp

More importantly, the Working Party is asking for constructive comment and opinion from the rank and file brass band players who will ultimately decide whether they want to instigate progressive change in the way banding is organised in the UK, or not.

There is nothing greatly radical about what is proposed; more an evolutionary desire for self determination.  

Questions remain about funding, collective responsibility and self interest.

However, there is no doubting the desire to create something of lasting benefit for a banding movement that in the second decade of the 21st century is in real danger of spiraling into terminal decline.       

Whatever you feel about the proposals, it is essential the Working Party know about them - an apathetic response serves no one.

Take the opportunity to read the proposals and tell them what you think.

It may well be the first and last time such an opportunity may arise.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


Adjudicator feedback

One thing that consumer culture has given us in the UK is the desire for what analysts ubiquitously call, ‘feedback’ – the desire to know just what others thought of our performances.

In a way, brass band adjudicators have been doing this at a micro level for years in the traditional pre results contest speech.

However, what about the judges as a whole – as a representative body?
 
For instance, just what did ABBA members (although not all judges were member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators) think of the overall standard in the Championship Section up and down the country?

What were the significant problems that arose time and time again in the Second Section on ‘Resurgam’ or in the Fourth on John Golland’s work?  Why did the ‘tarantella’ cause all sorts of problems in the Third? Why couldn’t so many First Section bands play ‘Le Carnival Romain’?

Individual assessments are of course invaluable to bands, whilst single contest assessments add more understanding.

However, in relation to other regions, they are all rather meaningless.
 
What could be of even greater benefit would be a much broader analysis, outlining where ABBA thought there were musical concerns, problems and misunderstandings on each of the test pieces – where they felt bands went wrong and conductors went right.

The judges are ideally placed to evaluate just how good we think we really are, so would there be even greater benefit and understanding if they were able to speak as a whole rather than just as informed individuals.

Adjudicators get plenty of ‘feedback’ from disgruntled players and MDs, so perhaps the time has come for them to be able to give some back as well.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com


In praise of mute abuse

The brass band mute is the foundation powder of the conductor’s make up bag of musical tricks.

They come in expensive little boxes, crafted in all shapes and sizes, colours and materials, and are liberally used either with the dexterity of Joan Collins personal assistant or with a trowel like a drunken plasterer.

Like women with bad skin tone, conductors use them to mask, camouflage, conceal, hide, obscure and cheat: Ever so occasionally they are also used for the real purpose they were intended.    

If you ever wonder why conductors indulge in what is now commonly called ‘Mute abuse’ then think of it as the equivalent of either seeing Joan Rivers first thing in the morning as nature intended, or at 10.00pm at her show at the London Palladium .

It’s the same with brass band conductors.

It’s not right and it’s not particularly attractive either - and hopefully they will get caught out.

But if you are to win a contest, do you think any of them are going to worry about how they really look like in the mirror first thing in the morning either.    

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com



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Morgan Griffiths

Dip. Performance
Conductor, Peripatetic Music Teacher, Lower brass specialist


               

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