Are there less people for brass bands?

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by Walsallbrass, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Hardly what I'd call a "heated argument"; I'd call it expressing my dislike of Rootertooter's lack of common courtesy. And I fail to see how a personal disagreement between two posters on this forum can possibly affect our band's ability to attract new entrants - or that of any other band, come to that.

    You might see Rootertooter's posts as being "welcoming and nice"; I don't.
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I don’t see anything ‘heated’ here and any group that uniformly agrees with each other is lifeless. Personally I’d prefer to join a band or other group that wanted to debate the direction that it was going in - sharing information and questioning the validity of decisions leads to better outcomes.

    The forum did used to suffer with some Trolling, but that’s altogether different and we rarely if ever see that here now. With any written comment there’s always a danger too that what we write is understood or comprehended in a different way to that intended, or that we misunderstand what others have written. I think that that happens to virtually everyone at some time or other.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  3. rootertooter

    rootertooter New Member

    Well Jack E certainly comprehended it in a different way to that which was intended (resisting the urge to use a old person gag).
    2nd tenor likes this.
  4. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear that the Jack’s interpretation of your comments wasn’t correct. Jack is a bit older than some of us but he’s very much ‘on the ball’ and, though our views differ from time to time, he’s very well informed. I really couldn’t say whether he comes across as a bit grumpy at times, the ‘pot’ really shouldn’t call the ‘kettle’ black. :) .
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  5. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    I had to stop playing in brass bands because I won't do contests.
    I do occasionally help bands out - they then try and recruit me as a permanent player, but I won't do contests.
    Its a red line for me and for a surprising number of players round here.
    2nd tenor likes this.
  6. Brastard

    Brastard New Member

    I have reluctantly just retired from Radcliffe Brass Band at age 72. They put a lot of effort into a training band and deserve the youngsters coming through. I have nothing but good to say about them. (I will continue to play with a couple of concert bands and a dance band. As a trombone player, I need only think about bass clef then. These bands also struggle to get brass players, but woodwinds seem more readily available.)
  7. danielr

    danielr New Member

    Personally, I went through the school system, I learned brass in school under the guidance of a teacher who was in a band, I went through school bands, town junior bands, and then senior bands, I dropped out when I went to university, and since leaving university I've been able to do little other than dep or seat fill for concerts and contests.

    Looking around, i see that in the area where I am, so either that's fairly common, or we live in the same area!
    Personally, I don't really like contesting, I don't really like the pressure of it, I don't like the seemingly endless rehearsing the same piece, and I rarely like the result, I don't think that having divisions help to attract players, there are certain people in this world who don't want to play in a below X section band, whilst others are afraid to play in above a Y section band, for me contesting often takes something that should be fun, and turns it into a chore, a chore that often has very little thanks. I can understand why bands that contest may find it harder to find members than a band that has a much more open "we just play" outward face on it.

    I'll play in a contest if the band wants to go, but for me, the best bit about a contest is finding a pub after we've played.

    I disagree that this is the cause now.
    Realisitcally all the budget/funding cuts happened within the past 8 years. they also started slowly, where I am it is only this year that the local school has dropped GCSE music, you can still get instrument tuition. Basically, we haven't actually felt the effects of those particular cuts just yet... (so if you think it is bad now, I suspect that there is worse to come.)

    You surely must realise that is quite special?! - lots of bands have overheads, they may need to pay the MD, pay public liability insurance, hire coaches, pay fees for contests, pay rent on rehersal space etc... when you start saying bands should cover all that, and buy a load of instruments to just have ready and waiting for someone to express an interest. and then provide time and tuition also free of charge...

    I guess long story short.
    I agree with you, that's a way to get interested people started, give them everything and expect nothing.
    but for most bands, the ability to be able to do that is just a pipe dream.
    I'd be surprised if the whole setup that is going on there didn't hinge on one or two people, (like if "founder member 1" gave up on the teaching slowly but surely everyone else would too.) - which would be neither a healthy nor sustainable way to run a band...

    I could be wrong.
    Slider1 likes this.
  8. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I don't think this is necessarily that unusual. Most, if not all of the bands that I've been a member of could easily survive without income from subs. I'm a believer that the main reason for paying subs is to instill a sense of belonging, rather than any great financial benefit. I appreciate this isn't the case for all bands.
    rootertooter likes this.
  9. rootertooter

    rootertooter New Member

    Subs has always done my head in ! or should I say people not wanting to pay subs has always done my head in. Why would people expect an instrument, tuition (no matter how good you think you are you are always learning from the man in the middle).

    Have a wander down to your local leisure center or golf course to see what they give away for free !
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    2nd tenor likes this.
  10. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I suspect that your situation isn’t common across all of the U.K. and all levels of banding. Funding is such a variable mix,; if you own your own band room and can generate income from it then subs might be low and if you’re one of the better bands and can command a large audience ready to pay good money to hear you then that must be a help too. If you don’t own your own Bandroom then perhaps you might have a benevolent Landlord who asks for only a peppercorn rent. Contesting doesn’t come cheap but if you have a sponsor that might help a lot too, and if you have someone good with grant applications you might (effectively) get given instruments instead of having to buy them. So very many variables.
  11. HarriBari

    HarriBari New Member

    I wonder if our conductor in the WEBBA region was your conductor near Dartford?

    Re the topic at hand, our trouble (so far) hasn't been bums on seats but that isn't to say it wont be a problem going forward. Trouble is we move "paycheck to paycheck", are a registered charity, don't our our own bandroom and simply dont have the money to find the right rehearsal space to start a junior band, despite having discussed it about once a year since I joined in 2014.

    The other problem we're having is with interest - weve just had to cancel a concert which otherwise would have made us money, because unfortunately we just didn't sell enough tickets.

    Slider1 likes this.
  12. HarriBari

    HarriBari New Member

    Oh and regarding subs - we'd definitely fold without it.
    rootertooter likes this.
  13. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Hence the last line of my comment x
    2nd tenor likes this.
  14. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    At risk of repeating myself, even if you don't have anywhere to operate a junior band, it's still worthwhile contacting local schools. While music has been cut from some syllabuses, after-school music has been off the table for a long time due to the cost.

    Any head teacher worth their salt would jump at the opportunity to reinstate an after-school music club if it didn't eat into their budget, even if it's only to give them a boost with OFSTED.

    This not only enabled you to recruit new players, but overcomes the location problem, and also potentially gives you a foot in the door to negotiate a favourable rate to use a classroom or school hall for the senior band to use too.
  15. HarriBari

    HarriBari New Member

    But who would provide the instruments if all they have are french horns and trumpets?
  16. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    The school may have some old instruments knocking about, even if your band don't have any spares, if you have another band nearby they may well be prepared to lend some of their older spares.
  17. HarriBari

    HarriBari New Member

    All good points.
  18. rootertooter

    rootertooter New Member

    I would imagine any head teacher cacking themselves and saying "no thanks" due to health & safety, insurance, likelihood of OFSTED wagging the proverbial finger for any number of other reasons, parents not happy about the school handing little Charley and Kylie over to strangers, etc etc etc. Lovely idea but in the world we live in now I cant see it getting a green light, though I look forward to being corrected.
    Slider1 likes this.
  19. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    MMmmmm this was my initial thought reading that, too... very sad times really, but I can't imagine too many heads wanting to take that kind of risk?
    rootertooter likes this.
  20. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    Perhaps the elephant in the room: Is there an audience for brass band music?

    I am reminded of Don Lusher phoning his agent (the legendary jazz agent Jack Higgins) to ask why he wasn't getting any gigs. Higgins asked if he had seent he poll in the Sunday Times showing that trombone was the least popular instrument in Britain.

    I wonder if that is the issue - people don't go to see amateur groups as much as they do and when they do they only really go to ones connected to their own family.
    Maybe we have to do something about audience development?
    midlandman likes this.