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Issue 6110

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A RISING STAR - BB meets Flowers and NYBBGB cornetist, Luke Barker

The conductors' toolkit - part three

Wednesday 4 August, 2021

As musical director of the world’s number one ranked band, Philip Harper is used to working at the pinnacle of brass band music making – but even Cory Band is not immune from the challenges of getting back together after a COVID-enforced break.

In the third and final part of his series The Conductors’ Toolkit, ‘master builder’ Philip writes exclusively for British Bandsman about two more crucial areas of consideration when it comes to picking up the pieces of a banding building project left largely untouched during the pandemic.

 

This is the last of three articles in which I will be suggesting a few of the items which I think it is important for conductors to have in their toolkit as we all tentatively return to band after many months in which the sound of live brass has been sorely missing. I am casting the conductor as a master builder who was involved in a big construction project but who was asked, mid-build, to down tools and leave the property vacant for over a year, before stepping back on site to pick up the pieces. I am suggesting six items for the toolkit:

1) Pencil and tape measure – for planning. “Measure twice, cut once” as they say
2) Pliers – for loosening things up, in terms of the band members
3) Screwdriver – for tightening things up, in terms of the performance
4) Spirit level – for checking everything is correct, which is done by listening carefully
5) Clamp – for making sure things stay together, by setting up or reaffirming the band’s regime
6) Safety goggles – because things sometimes go wrong!

In the previous two articles I looked in detail at the first four items on the list, which covered the importance of planning, how to motivate a team of people, how to improve their performance in rehearsal and last, but probably most importantly of all, why a good conductor is a good listener.

 

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