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Old 05-16-2010, 02:36 AM   #1
SwissMatthias
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Default P/M leading qualifications

Hello pipeworld,

what kind of qualifications must a P/M have to lead a pipe band? I don't mean any certificates. I mean things like:
- management
- leading role
- etc.

Looking forward to your opinions and advices.

Cheers

SwissPiper
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:36 AM   #2
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

It's sure nice if the PM is the best musician in the band, having rock-solid timing, great ear for tuning, good "expression" (command of the various idioms), and a knack for choosing good music.

Beyond that having good "people skills" is extremely important. Knowing how to motivate the members who need motivating, how to head off potential personality conflicts within the band, how to handle people with big egos, knowing when somebody needs to be kicked out, etc.

Also nice if the PM is a good recruiter. I had old PM who was always in the beer tent chatting up potential players.

A bit of megalomania doesn't hurt. A good leader has confidence in himself, and has the ability to get people to see things his way, the abiltiy to get the whole group working together toward a common goal.

There might be a PM who is a great player but isn't able to get everyone working together due to leadership that's too weak.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
Bruce Wright
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

I'd say that the single most important attribute would be good management skills. He or she doesn't have to have the best ear in the band, if tuning and tone can be delegated to someone who is better at it. Likewise they don't have to have the best hands in the band, if instructional issues like that can be handed off to someone who is better at them. Or they don't have to have the best promotional skills in the band, as long as they are able to delegate that to others.

However since the tradition is that the P/M is the person who directs the band in performances, it would be very problematic (at best) to put someone in that position who didn't have an extremely solid sense of timing.

It also includes how much of the band direction and management falls onto the P/M. In some bands, almost everything is put on their shoulders; in others the duties are much more spread out. In the former case I'd have concerns about burning out even the best players.

--Bruce
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
Nathaniel
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

I think the only real qualifications top be PM are to have followers. Then you have to look at yourself and decide what characteristics one has to have for you personally to follow that PM.

Band vision
Ability to get things done
- musically, organizationally, etc
Know the instrument

These are some things I could get behind.

Nathaniel
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:24 AM   #5
EquusRacer
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel View Post
I think the only real qualifications top be PM are to have followers. Then you have to look at yourself and decide what characteristics one has to have for you personally to follow that PM.

Band vision
Ability to get things done
- musically, organizationally, etc
Know the instrument

These are some things I could get behind.

Nathaniel
While I think I know where you're intending to go with this, Nathaniel, I've seen too many train wrecks for bands where the P/M has only followers. Sometimes that's due to a bully of a P/M who accepts no input or other; sometimes to a corps that provides no input.

Support--which also encompasses constructive criticism/suggestions--is essential to a P/M's role. Following in and of itself is not. And if it is to that particular P/M, then I'd submit that that person is usually so controlling as to be a long-term detriment to the band (sometimes they can also be necessary in a start-up).
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:59 AM   #6
AveryB
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

Having a P/M who actually seems INTERESTED in piping is important too. I left a band due to the overwhelming feeling that the P/M just didn't seem too interested in piping anymore. That feeling of ambivalence trickled down into the rest of the corps...that mentality of "well, I've done this for 25 years now and I don't much care if I do it again" doesn't tend to inspire people to greatness. It foments laziness - people don't show for practices or performances and when/if they do show up, practices and performances become a snoozefest of sitting around the table BS-ing for 2 hours.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:10 PM   #7
Nathaniel
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

A successful pipeband leader vs. just raw qualifications to be a PM. That is truly a distinction.
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:39 PM   #8
Greenpipe
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

A fellow piper years ago told me he had asked the legendary Archie Dewar, longtime P/M of the 48th Highlanders, that very question. "Well," said Archie, "he has to be a good player and a good musician, but that's about 25%. The other 75% is psychology."

Then he, the fp, went on to say, "I guess that explains our P/M; he's 25% player and musician, but the other 75% is psychotic."
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #9
Nathaniel
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Default Re: P/M leading qualifications

Excellent - I know that PM. Well not him specifically , but I know "him".
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