Brass in Schools

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cornyandy, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. cornyandy

    cornyandy Member

    Hi all

    This is prompted by the "where have all the BBb bass players gone" thread. I am trying very hard to make ends meet while taking music exams and doing lots of practice. I work in a school and I see primary school children taking in trumpets (many of them are too small for a trumpet and would be better with the shorter cornet), trombones, and french horns. Most of these brass players have never heard of a Flugel or a tenor horn. With a little bit of digging I find that they only teach the instruments which children can go on to play proffessionally and study at Uni (not my prejudice but one oft repeated) It seems that because brass bands are amatuer they are considered second rate by, I would guesss, education authorities even if not by the actual teachers. I assume they don't fit in with the education eduction eduaction for work ehtic which abounds in modern schools.

    My own view is that is if you play a brass instrument you should look at banding as well because the vast majority of people will be able to play it recreationally. My own orchestral experience is limited to counting hundreds of bars rest playing a little fanfare then going to sleep until the final flourish. I often think it would be great if a band or a group of banders could get out into schools to try to inspire more youngsters in our direction. I am aware there are some very good young players about but I wonder how many come from banding families. Even 20+ years ago when I was at school I was told not to bother with the cornet and my treacher tried evey trick possible to get me to swap to trumpet.

    Sorry this is a long post but the rant is now over
  2. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I found the same thing in schools back in the 70's. I was playing Eb Bass and the school only had music in Bass Cleff for Tuba. I had already been learning 4 years in Treble Cleff. It wasn't easy to fit in.
  3. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    This may be down to Geographic Location.

    Here in the NW Schools certainly do have Brass Bands and teach the same.

    And Like Aussie, although I was at school in the 70's, I moved from the NW to London during my schooling, and whilst my NW school had and taught Brass for Brass Bands, My London School didnt. Instead they taught brass for Orchestra
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I remember 15-20 years ago that the Wantage band tried to link up their fantastic and huge youth scheme with the rather sparse work that the LEA was doing in the area. The LEA, as I recall, were distinctly sniffy about the idea - the impression given (admittedly second-hand) was that they didn't think much of the quality of tuition offered by the band, and would rather kids had no opportunities or instruction at all than suggest to them that the local band might be able to do something for them that the LEA didn't have the capacity for. Certainly, brass instruction in the schools in the area then was all about orchestral instruments, pretty much to the exclusion of brass band instruments [I shouldn't complain personally - I turned up at secondary school a euphonium player and left it with an additional skill as a trombonist; it served me well].

    I do wonder if I got the wrong end of the stick a little, because that frankly seems a shameful situation looking back at it...
  5. flugelbeth

    flugelbeth New Member

    Yeah, I'm in the NW and most of the kids at my school played in the school brass band from the age of 7- the first time I saw a real french horn was age 12 (not that that's a bad thing :p) and I've got a place to study music at Oxford next year on flugel so it can't be all bad!
  6. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Well I don’t teach ANY none band instruments even Bass Clef Trombone and have no Qualms in saying it or doing it. I want kids to play in bands primarily and any other groups they get into is up to them later on. Bands offer the quickest route to quality reading and they certainly offer the quickest route to quality music making. Most amateur Orchestra's are poor at best, wind and jazz bands are only OK from good standard semi professional upwards but the British Brass Band has always been a fabulous and graded opportunity to learn your craft before considering college followed by the world of overrated, jobs for the boys, professional orchestras.
  7. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Shame; I was on the point of agreeing with most of what you said before you came out with that little gem of blinkered prejudice ...:rolleyes:
  8. euph77

    euph77 Member

    In Gloucestershire there is a wealth of brass band instruments (and orchestral, btw) for hire. We have a thriving Youth Band where entry is subject to playing in an independent brass band. I teach both privately and for the county and will encourage students to try the "pointy-uppy" instruments (like tenor horn and baritone) but will happily teach trumpet, french horn or bass clef trombone if that is what the student wants and I feel it will work for them. I will then show them info on their local training bands. I share with my students what I do in my band and all I can hope for is they follow my lead.
  9. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    Entry to county brass band isn't subject to playing in an independent brass band Phil as there are quite a few of the cornet section who are actually trumpet players and so don't play for an independent brass band. I believe that is a good thing (it not being subject to playing in a brass band not necessarily them being trumpet players :p) as it encourages non brass band players into the brass band movement in addition to the orchestral world. There seems to be a pretty equal balance within the county on those learning brass band instruments via the county music service and those learning orchestral however sadly that's all going to change at the end of the academic year when the peri teaching system is done away with.
  10. blue juice

    blue juice Member

    My old youth band used to perform concerts and workshops at local primary schools to try and recruit members for our training and junior bands, always seemed to work quite well. Most bands that don't have training bands won't see the point wasting time that their players don't have on the young generation when they won't reap a benefit for maybe 10 years if at all. In my opinion (and one shared by Rod Franks at a recent talk) bands are the best place for players to learn their trade. From teaching privately I've found that the pupils in bands tend to practice and enjoy their playing more.
  11. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Nothing to do with prejudice. Show me an orchestra in this country who's personel is purely based on current ability and I'll part with hard earned to go and watch them. For every top player in our nations orchestras there are 2 who used to be good or had the right contacts. It's more corrupt than banking!
  12. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    that's just what they did in Birmingham

    I should say at the school i went to. The real Brassed off shows different.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  13. Pat J

    Pat J New Member

    Are you saying that Gloucestershire are axing all instrumental tuition across the board in schools from July?
  14. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    I hope that you are joking - the son of a friend of mine has just gone to Uni with the hope of beinga Peri!
  15. Sounds a tad bitter Toby. Not sure your maths is right, although there are clearly a few players struggling to maintain thier standard.
  16. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    No, Pat, they are retaining whole class instrumental and vocal teaching but the peri system per se is being withdrawn
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  17. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Is that Nationwide?
  18. Pat J

    Pat J New Member

    Do instruments such as brass get taught on a whole class system?
  19. cornyandy

    cornyandy Member

    I have heard of the whole class approach for instruments but I worry about it. I've no experience of it but I believe it is part of a music for all type initiative
  20. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    Not that I am aware of Pete, it's down to each music service as to what they provide I think. Brass does get taught as a whole class - it's been known as wider opportunities for the last few years