Banding stikes back

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jpbray, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    Music, in the main would seem that it is always going to be on the back foot. Although it is now well documented that music stimulates learning, because this doesn’t appear to be directly measurable it is always going to be in the firing line when budgets cuts in are being considered.

    Bearing this in mind I think bands have got to do it for themselves, which in many respects I would imagine has been happening for a good many years.

    With forums such as this, these aspects are being discussed and faced. However, can tMP make a difference? There has been much talk, but can we, as forum consider campaigns for raising awareness, in addition to putting pressure on governing bodies to be more pro-active.

    One thing that has come to mind is to have a campaign “Take a Friend to Band Month”. This being directed towards youth bands and youth sections of bands, where the young players are encouraged to ask along a friend to band.

    Other things such more TV coverage, BBC 4 would seem an ideal medium for covering gala concerts etc.
  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The fact that there are over 3,200 people who have taken the effort to register for this forum, which is not yet two years old, shows that interest is still there for banding and music in general.

    In my daughter's school (she's in the seventh grade here in the US, not sure what that translates to in the UK system), over half of the students participate in performing music groups of some kind. When the local school authority tried to cut one of the music teachers last year, the parents bombarded local politicians until the decision was reversed. Keeping aware of governmental budget actions and organizing a response is an effective way to keep the budget cutters away.

    The "take a friend to band month" is a great idea. Here are a few others -
    • Make a press kit for your band, and keep it up to date. Things like a short history of the band, photos, MD bio, etc. easily accessible in both hard copy and electronic format. This is to be given to media representatives, concert sponsors, and anyone else who wants information about your group. People are much more likely to publish information if most of the work is already done for them.
    • Establish and keep updated a web site (maybe hosted by tMP :) )
    • Use your local media. Most towns have local newspapers who are always looking for local interest stories. Every time you perform, send a press release to the local papers. They can't report on what they don't know!
    • Establish an instructional program. You might want to try having some of the band members volunteer to do free music lessons for local schools or churches - this is a goodwill gesture and also creates a potential source for new talent.
  3. Bob Stevenson

    Bob Stevenson Member

    jpbray,...An important and interesting thread!

    As an instructor with a 100 strong youth wind band in Essex I have ALMOST come around to the position of hoping that music will end in local schools in the near future as the attitudes and behaviour of both school 'managers' and the music teachers themselves is all too often reprehensible to say the least, makes one wonder exactly WHY people become school music teachers in this area!

    In the 8 years that I have been with this band we have repeatedly tried to get a dialogue going with all the local schools and their music depts but, with one or two notable exceptions, have been met with rebuff, arrogance and distrust, not to mention lack of proffesionalism. In return teachers obviously see the band as a resource that they can abuse with advantage and without even having to acknowledge its existence in many cases! I have lost count of the times when kids have come to band with;..."my teacher says can you record me playing a solo for my GCSE"....and to the answer "Yes of course when do you need to have it by" ....the response 9 times out of 10 is;..."for tommorow!"

    Then there are the many youngsters that turn up at band who have been 'taught' to play the trumpet in school for 2 or 3 years but have no discernable technique, don't use their tongues and are in complete ignorance about breathing. Others don't know any music despite several years 'playing'.....A local teacher (not music) brought her own 9 yr old son to band after 2 years learning in school because he was keen to give up the trumpet and read no music at all,...After 3 lots of tears I managed to get out of the lad that the teacher had told him;....."Oh you again!,...I don't know why you bother coming to lessons" 18 months on, this kid is beginning to be an exciting cornet player with a passion for band.

    Our band is only 15 miles from London and being part of the Royal British Legion is often involved in high profile jobs with the bands of the Household Div. 2 weeks ago we performed a joint concert with the Band of The Blues and Royals (Household Cavalry) before 1200 people including a collection of local Mayors and Vip's. We sent out free invites to 15 local school music teachers but only heard from 2 to say they were not coming.

    One of the problems ney indeed be that bands get poor TV coverage presumably because producers and others see them as having little interest for the viewing public and thus bad for ratings.

    To add to 'brasscrest's' great ideas for getting youngsters to band;....we offer band members £5 if they successfully get a friend to reach selection into the band,......also, 'open days' with the offer to 'come and try an instrument' works well as all younsters like to blow a tuba and trombone to see if they can get a sound out!