2008 Training Band Challenge

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jpbray, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    There are enough threads on this forum bleating about the lack of players and precarious position of Banding in general.

    I would like to throw the gauntlet down to All Bands to form a junior/training/youth band in 2008 with a view to taking that band to a local youth contest.

    There are probably 3 levels of the status of Youth Bands in this country.

    Level 1 being where everything is running like a swiss watch and everything in the garden is coming up roses.

    Level 2 where things have slipped and the impetus has gone.

    Level 3 where things are just not happening.

    This is something TMP could help drive. On this forum, bands could post do's and don'ts; best practice and bad practice; areas and points of contact for resources etc. There could be an online library for swaping posters etc.

    It is our future and it is still in our own hands. It is up to us go and get it. :p :p :p
  2. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Totally agree!

    Not sure about the contest, but certainly with a goal of giving the players a worthwhile musical challenge.
  3. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    A great idea to help drive things forward, although i do feel 'contest' may be a bit extreme.............

    I'm sure most bands would be delighted if they could get a training band off the ground that was capable of obtaining and supporting their own calendar of engagements!
  4. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    I will concede the contest but as Dave said "a worthwhile musical challenge"
  5. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Great things happening in youth development in Scotland. We have a FT Youth Development officer at SBBA in Alan Edmond, and things are really happening in particular in Fife where a number of initiatives are underway.

    In Bo'ness Kinneil Junior Band have recently made two public appearances for the first time in a long while.

    If you want it to happen it can do.

    Happy New Year.
  6. JTKBrass

    JTKBrass Member

    I agree totally with Paul there, there's some superb stuff going on in Scotland at all levels.

    Alan Edmond is doing great work in Scotland promoting youth development, and is well into his second year as Development Officer now.

    SBBA are proposing changes such as player shadowing to assist bands bring young players through, and improving on basic problem areas such as grading and registration to make sure those players aren't disillusioned later in life.

    NYBBS are stronger than ever, and are heading to Japan this year.

    Locally in Fife we've set up a new committee with representatives of all the local area member bands to promote workshops, concerts etc. leading to the creation of a new regional youth band. Hopefully we'll get them into the Scottish Open youth section later in the year.

    My own band has spent the last year planning, organising and funding a brand new youth policy. We've now got a dozen juniors and that'll rise to 25 in the next two weeks following another two successful workshops. Visit our youth band website on www.kingdombrassyouth.co.uk. for some more info.
  7. bbg

    bbg Member

    The Scottish Youth Championships in November 07 evidenced a lot of what John and Paul refer to - it was a fantastic sight to see so many younger players take to the stage. Full marks to SBBA for affording the youth section the "full works" that the senior bands had the day before - powerpoint photos of each band, a good compere and good coverage in the official programme.
    Our own youth band is enjoying a wee renaissance right now, numbers at their highest for a few years (22 or so, and I'm told there's even a young soprano player due to start any week now) and bags of enthusiasm. At the band's - not the conductor's - instigation, rehearsals have been extended as the youngsters were inspired by some of the "older" bands in November and they want to improve. They also have a block booking for the Black Dyke concert in Perth on 29 March - these youngsters (average age 12/13) are talented and committed - let's hope that we can keep them beyond school age.
  8. sniperjp

    sniperjp Member

    training bands

    Our band does have a training band. But cannot enter youth competitions because there are older members. We also cannot enter the 4th section because:
    1. The band is not at a good enough standard
    2. half the solo instrument players e.g. solo cornet are in the senior band playing on lower parts.

    AEHOWGATE Member

    Done it! I started a new training band last thursday, to act as a filter band for our 25 strong 'SK23' junior band formed in 2005. We have 10-12 learners to filter in over the year, many more and we will need a bigger bandroom. Hmmmm!
  10. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    Take a look at the youth band scene in Cornwall over the last few years, with the likes of St Keverene,Mount Charles,St Dennis and finally the organisation im involved with Camborne (www.cambornetownband.com) its thriving. With Camborne youth having won the national junior title three years on the trot and last year picking up the community champions title also the Greater Gwent title. We have an excellent youth band which feeds into our B Band (which has been premoted from non contesting to the 2nd section in 7 years,and has also made 2 national finals) We also have a junior contest band which plays its first contest at the South West Brass Band Assoc contest in Truro soon. We as an organisation have strived to get the best tuition and assistance we can,having called on the likes of Alan Morrison (the bands pro advisor) David Childs (who we have recorded our 3rd C.D with) Owen Farr,Richard Marshall, David Thornton and last not least Stan Lippeat. To take your young band to the heights we are acheieving takes a massive amount of work and dedication and our musical director Alan Pope has this!!! but if you good people reading this dont get stuck in your whole organisations will slowly die. We took the view that without a very proactive approach the players we needed just wouldnt be available so around 9 years ago we kick started our organisation,and see the results,they speak for them selves ( TAKE A LOOK AT OUR WEB SITE address is above).The B Band which was formed to help the better players from the youth set up has also helped to keep the youngsters within our set up ( we came 4th at Harrogate in the 3rd section) so take heart all you people working hard out there,with the right people working hard you will suceed Ta Dave
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  11. I've read this and other threads, and it disappoints me that training band almost always is interchangeable with the term youth band.

    I understand that the basic principal of the training band is to ensure the long term future of the contest / concert band, but as many players in our own training band are over school age - you are never too old to learn.

    I like the idea of competition though - as we are supposed to be training players for the main band, what use is it for them to not experience contesting until they graduate from the training band.

    Would it be too difficult for the regionals to run an unregistered section as a precursor for entry into the fourth section

    AEHOWGATE Member

    Under 18's should be able to register with their training band and their main band at the same time, Why not?
    That way, young bands can compete locally and still play for the main band. 4 sec contests could have awards for best youth bands, so it is a contest within a contest. Funding for youth awards at these contests should be managable and local contests will flourish.
  13. Liz Loftus

    Liz Loftus Member

    South Molton Training/Junior was reformed in June 2006. The numbers fluctuated at first and more dropped out than started but we now have a core of a dozen youngsters who turn up every week and practice at home. They all have very supportive parents - so much so that 2 parents have just this week decided to learn to play as well.

    Yesterday we did our first paid engagement - with the help of just a couple from the senior band to support the middle parts. From this we have been invited to perform at the Mayors charity concert in April. We have also been to a couple of solo and quartet contests - which are excellent when you only have a small number of players.

    We are also fortunate that the local secondary school has recently got a new head of music who specialises in brass and is keen to develop closer links with the band - this is our aim for the early part of this year.

    I am also trying to put together a North Devon Junior Band where we will be able to stretch the players - several bands have already said they would like to do this and we hope that through this we will have enough players to enter a contest in November.

    The South West Area Committee are also putting on an event to "Train the Trainers" in October which will be really useful for those of us who have no formal training.

    Our band like many, suffers from empty seat syndrome and yes it would be great if experienced players joined us but this just doesn't happen. We have lost 4 players in the last year and only gained 1. If we had had a junior band 5 years ago, we would have had ready made players in the wings waiting for the opportunity - this would also keep other "part time" players on their toes as well.

    Keep u the good work everyone!!!
  14. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    Further to my previous post, our youth band players are also able to contest with our B Band,and our junior contest band is for all intensive purposes our " training band" which includes some very young and some very inxeperienced players and remember most contests will allow a couple of adults to help with bass instruments. Our adult training band is basically made up of parents who have children that play and have felt the urge/got the bug to play themselves. I used to sit and watch my daughter ( she started nearly 10 years ago) and wish i could play so i had a go and im now in my 8th year,so it also pays to encourage those parents sitting at the back of the room as well. Incedently when our youth band reformed it was at a low ebb with around 7/8 players (my daughter was one of them) we now through hard work/organisation and dedication work with around 65/75 children/youths. If you bring in the right people and are prepared to do the work you will get the results your after Ta Dave
  15. JTKBrass

    JTKBrass Member

    Read a copy of the SBBA consultation paper (available on the website http://www.sbba.org.uk/ .. you'll see a proposed solution there, with 'player shadowing' proposed to allow youth players to sit next to experienced players at minor contests.

    Again, that's another proposal in the consultation document. They're all being discussed on our forum, at http://www.kingdombrass.co.uk/ so feel free to jump in there and support those proposals.
  16. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    What a fantastic idea! I can't agree with you more!

    I helped to set up the new South Molton Junior Band (as mentioned above!) with Mum and a few other senior band members. Unfortunately I've sinced moved away to uni, and now play with a different band, I miss the kids loads, and go back to see them when I can (for contests/concerts etc!)

    Our most successful way of getting kids to actually join (which is the probably the hardest part of starting a new junior band!) was by going into local schools, doing a short assembly with the kids we had playing a few pieces and allowing the children to have a go on instruments (namely the Eb Bass - the kids loved trying to get a note out of it!) then inviting all the children to come along to our bandroom the following morning (Saturday) to register their interest and have a proper go on an instrument!

    As far as taking the kids to a contest goes - it really isn't 'extreme' or impossible!

    We took some of our kids to their first 'contest' as little as 3 months after they'd started playing (1 child had even changed from horn to trombone only weeks before!) all but our very newest children have played a 'contest' now! We certaintly aren't talking the regionals or full band contests, but solo and quartet contests!

    Solo and Quartet contests are absolutely fantastic for learners! I can speak from personal experience as I went to literally hundreds as a child! Down here there are slow melody, air varie, duet, quartet and ensemble section all for various age groups. The Ensemble section was particularly brilliant for our kids, it meant we could get all of them on stage together, almost like a 'real' contest! The kids loved the contests they went too, and are always asking when the next contest will be!

    If you are thinking of starting a Junior band, DO IT! It is quite a lot of work intially, teaching brand new beginners isn't always easy, but it is always rewarding and so much fun! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! For the future of banding!
  17. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    Another good news story!
    In April 2007 Plymouth Soundhouse Brass re-launched its youth set up and formed Plymouth Soundhouse Brass Youth Band.
    It is fully supported by Plymouth Youth Music Services(PYMS) and members of the senior band willingly give of their spare time to help tutor the young people in the band.
    On Friday the 1st of February conducted by Emma Heard, the band entered the Saltash Music Festival and much to their delight gained a distinction from the adjudicator and nice shiny trophy too!
    Earlier in the day Emma took her school brass band (Widewell Brass) containing many of the same players to the festival and scooped the best Primary School Ensemble 1st prize!
    It`s still very early days for us, but it can be done!
    Ian Heard
    Plymouth Soundhouse Brass.
  18. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    I am of the assumption that many bands would like to start a training band, but have the problem of who is going to take it. Is this the case? Once again the age old resource problem.

    Would it make a difference if funding could be made available to pay for a band trainer?

    Any more thoughts why bands would find it difficult to start a training band;
    let the tMP population decide whether it is just an excuse or a genuine reason. :p :p :p
  19. MattEarl

    MattEarl Member

    Cheltenham Silver Band have a thriving training band (made up of all ages) which has been developing for many years. The band is not a full 25 piece brass band but are an ensemble big enough to perform at their own engagements (which they have been doing for the past couple of years) and last week played in the unregistered section of the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association's entertainment contest.

    The success of the training band is mainly down to the hard work, patience and perseverance of our Training Band MD and a few members of the main band. We are very fortunate to have seen some of the players graduate into the main band, progress into key positions and even be sought after by other local bands.

    Our Soprano player has already had a mention in the 4BR retrospectives at the age of 11.

    Take a look at our website for more info www.cheltenhamband.co.uk
  20. Liz Loftus

    Liz Loftus Member

    Would it make a difference if funding could be made available to pay for a band trainer?

    Here lies one of the main problems! When I learnt to play many years ago in the North West there were untold people who were prepared to turn out and teach the youngsters and conduct bands for no payment. I was part of the North West Youth Band, all the trainers turned out unpaid on a weekly basis, The bands I played never paid a penny to their conductors.

    Now it seems to be that everyone wants to make a living out of it! What happened to the hobby?