Conscription: aka Youth in Bands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Keppler, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Following on from a post in another thread, I thought it might be of some use to discuss the various methods around for establishing a youth presence in local bands.
    I'm sure we've all had experience with a band which mainly consists of the older generation, and unfortunately is slowly ebbing away. I'm also fairly sure that most of us will agree that there's a requirement for serious youth participation in the movement. So how does one "change focus" to a youth-facing organisation, while still maintaining the older membership?

    Your thoughts and recommendations are appreciated....
  2. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    I did post a bit of a rant about this subject in the other thread, but I'll be constructive for this one!
    As music (and all arts) is being given a lower and lower priority in our schools, in the name of numeracy and literacy targets, I think it's going to be down to external organisations such as bands to keep young people interested in music. I have a personal interest in this as my wife has recently started teaching a feeder band for our local band (Banks Brass). They have linked up with the local junior school. The band provides the instruments and music, the school provides the pupils, and more importantly some time for them to be taught (Friday afternoons in this case). The benefits are; the band gets new players with basic musical knowledge, and the pupils get a musical education they might not get otherwise, along with the social benefits of belonging to a band.
    My own band (Eccleston) has had school links for a while, via ex-players teaching in those schools (where they were ex-pupils, mainly). Again we provide instruments and they come to our Training Band, and eventually into the full band.
    All this can't be done without a lot of work, liaising with the schools and so on takes a lot of (usually unpaid) time. And the school (which usually means the head) has to want to get music into the school, otherwise it's a waste of time. But do it we must, otherwise in 30 years time we'll have no band!
  3. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    We are lucky in that several of our players teach in schools so we can make links there to fill out our youth band. We have also advertised and sent posters to local schools. We are planning a series of workshops to go into local schools to hopefully capture some more interest!!!
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    In some ways we are fortunate in the Salvation Army in that our young people's band is just one part of a range of youth activities in operation. We have regular youth club and Sabac (similar to scouts and guides), as well as our traditional Sunday school classes. There is also our singing company (junior choir).

    Having recently been involved in a schools week, covering various SA activities, history etc, there are now lots of children in the area who at least know where we are, and that the band exists. Over the past few months we have had a few more join our learners' group, which meets on Wednesdays prior to YP band practice, and where we are again fortunate in having plenty of helpers to supervise and teach (a very important area to consider, as they've all had to undertake "Safe and Sound" training). We have also been trying to raise money for additional instruments.

    From the age of fourteen, any players who are interested are invited to attend the senior band practice, but with no strings attached, and certainly no thought that they had to commit themselves to becoming a soldier (adult member) of the SA.
  5. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    Do'nt know if this is nationwide but in Scotland I've noticed most of the players-especially in the top sections are between35-40.Were their more chances to learn when we were at school.There are some brilliant younger players arround but there doesnt seem to be the same influx as in years gone by.Most schools seem to favour trumpets and wind bands nowadays.
  6. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    All of us in the brass band world must breed like rabbits, and then force our offspring to learn brass intruments until they know no different and thus continue the movement!!

    Failing that advertise around schools etc
  7. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    give a few 2 sticks and a drum kit too!!! and the odd xylophone and set of timps
  8. eckyboy

    eckyboy Member

    My wife doesn't play so any would only be half musical
    :idea: Percussionist :lol:
    Just a joke I couldn't resist
  9. Di

    Di Active Member

    Done our bit. Hubby and I both players and have raised a horn player and a percussionist. We have stepped down and the new generation has taken over. ! :lol:
  10. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I've rambled before about both the Junior band and ther Education system here. Still not happy with the teachers. If we had multi instrumentalists who were REAL multi instrumentalists, then I suppose it wouldn't be so bad. But when we have people who know a little bit of a scale calling themselves Trombonists and teaching it.....well you get the drift.

    In a perfect world, the schools, who all jump at the opportunity to have the band play, would work harder to support brass bands, not kill them off because we use ** :shock: shock, horror, gasp!! :shock: ** Cornets!!!
  11. Haha man thats an awesome idea!! - All this about designer babies and so on - in the future we could customize our offspring's facial muscles and lung capacity so that the next generation has a good ratio of basses:cornets:euphos:horns etc.

    As for percussionists - they can be stolen from the orchestral world or dragged off street corners.
  12. MattB

    MattB Member

    Breeding a good youth policy is a must. We have an 11 year old flugel player with our junior band who recently won the soloists 1st prize in our local music festival. It always helps to have younger members feeding through the ranks.

    Also, the transition from old- focused to young- focused is helped by the MD. Keeping 25 players happy ain't easy, especially with a big age gap. Our youngest was 9, and our oldest 87 when I first started!

    I guess the rule I found to work was cater for everyone but stick to your own rules. If people don't like it, they'll let you know soon enough.
  13. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    good good
    now wot is that supposed to mean???
  14. shedophone

    shedophone Member

    ok ok, is it national 'pick on percussionist' day or something?

    i would be honoured to, one day, bring up my own little shed builder, so there.

    (By then i'll be deaf anyway)
  15. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I think the opportunity to play with good (sic) players is an major bonus too. I remember when I played for Morecambe some of us used to sit in the the end of the Youth band rehersal and play along. It gives the younger players a bit of confidence and you can talk over specific problems that the conductor may not have time to discuss.
  16. Euph Kidd

    Euph Kidd Member

    We at Bon Accord A Band have 12 under 25's and 10 under 21's, most of whom have played at some point in the Bon Accord B Band. We're quite lucky in the fact that both Aberdeen bands have a training band giving players of all abilities a chance to develop. There is no doubting that we owe an incredible amount of thanks to a Mr Stewart Watson who founded the City Music Centre band, as well as being essentially Mr Bon Accord for so many years. I think training bands, provided you have the number of players, are crucial in providing a chance for players to develop before making a leap up to a more challenging level.
    Richard Kidd
  17. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    we evidently need more people like Catherine (?) Kent (ex Princess Michael of Kent)... I say her on TV the other night and she was doing some great work getting kids interested in music, taking them to orchestras rehearsing, letting them sit in the sections to give them differenct perspectives... all good stuff in my opinion (just wish she'd taken them to brass band rehearsal as well, although sitting in Grimethorpe's bass section may be too much for a small child) :wink:
  18. jambo

    jambo Member

    As I read this topic I can sympathise with all out there who are struggling to bring youth in to the banding world. I too am from a severely diminishing banding area ie the North East and our areas this weekend will be a sad reflection to this with only 43ish bands competing in total!

    I beliebe that the main problem with the demise of our fine bands is that we have no or very little public image.

    Having recently attended the concert at Salford Uni with the Coldstream guards on wednesday I noted thst the guards band are the band in residence.

    As a thought, why don't we as bandsmen get in touch with our local schools and become bands in residence for our local schools. With work and concerts here we could well generate interest and of course that all improtant public presence.

    Just a thought :roll:
  19. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    sounds like a good idea to me!
  20. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member

    At my band we offer 'lessons' before band practice. These are free and we offer instruments for free loan on the grounds that they attend regularly and look after them properly.

    The band members work to 'teach' these instruments and there are 3 or 4 of us there every week but if there is a person who wants to learn and instrument that one of us doesnt play then we get the section leader to come and teach. I think that it is important to 'teach' in a way that the 'youngsters' can relate to.

    We have advertised in local papers and at concerts but mostly rely on 'word of mouth'. :lol:

    Anouther use for having the band room open before band practice for 'lessons' is that the bandmaster is always there to help so if there is a problem with a piece that is played in the band then he is on hand to help!! :lol: :lol:

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