Dilemma for Training Bands?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by spiffy, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. spiffy

    spiffy New Member

    Our Training Band (TT Brass, Totnes) continues to go from strength to strength.:biggrin: 20 players at practise this morning, with seven regulars missing! Several of our more experienced players are now regularly playing with the main band- which also means we've lost one or two completely. :(

    Here's the Dilemma.

    The gulf at the moment between those players and the learners starting from scratch (including some adults) can be difficult to bridge, keeping people's interest when things are either too difficult or too easy is a challenge.

    We're fortunate enough to have players all aroung the band:
    10 Cornets
    5 Horns
    3 Euphs
    2 Baris
    4 troms
    and even one young lad on bass
    plus a percussionist

    But the development of the players doesn't necessarily match the instrumentation (3 trombones are complete beginners and most of the horn section is as well) so sub-dividing into two smaller groups isn't straightforward. Apart from that the social aspect of being together is what keeps people's interest.

    We've got a good range of music including "Kids at the movies", "Kids play Disney", "On the Bandstand" etc etc plus access to Salvation Army Unity Series Music (5 parts plus percussion)

    Often on TMP so much of the discussion is about bands struggling, folding etc but there must be other training groups around the country, so I'm just looking for a sharing of ideas- a kind of training band forum :biggrin:

    We would like to introduce the band to contesting, but when we tried at the SWBBA in November found that it's not easy when your learners are adults, so ended up entering the open/ungraded section which was a good experience, but...... a little bit beyond us!!
  2. tgfoxley

    tgfoxley Member

    Hi Spiffy

    We too have a training band, which we set up earlier this year, along with an intermediate group. Both groups rehearse before the main band on a Friday, with the beginners at 6-6.30 and the intermediates at 6.30-7.30. This way, the players just starting out only come to the beginners group, those a bit more advanced in their playing stay on for the intermediate band too, and some players come for the intermediate band and then stay for the full band afterwards! This mixing-and-matching could help to bridge some gaps. :tup

    Then for the instrumentation; well it is difficult, but training band repertoire does not usually require specific instruments for each part, and what can work is to have a few players from the senior band helping out in the intermediate group (this works for us as the intermediate band rehearse right before the senior band), perhaps even on a second instrument to give them a bit of a challenge! :tongue:

    Anyway, good luck in the future :)
  3. Jack

    Jack Member

    Our band has a senior band and then a junior band beneath that and a training band beneath that. People from the senior band give short lessons to the players from the junior and training band during the rehearsal. Like just take them out for 10 mins or so... can be annoying for rehearsing but does mean they get the one to one tuition needed. Also the principal players in the junior band tend to be the 2nd or 3rd cornets etc... from the senior band. This gives them the chance to develop there confidence and range and whatever as well as giving them the opportunity to play more interesting parts. As well as the senior band players teaching the players from the junior band they quite often stand behind them or sit in to help them if they get lost or whatever. As for music, it would be worth seeing if there are any people in the senior band that want to have a go at composing or arranging music because then they get a chance to get their music played and you get the chance to say can you make a certain part easier or harder depending on the strength of the players...
  4. spiffy

    spiffy New Member

    Thanks Guys, it's useful to read about other bands and how people overcome the challenges. In a way, it's a nice 'problem' to have.

    However, because of work commitments and practicalities our training band started 4 years ago on a Saturday morning and has remained there ever since. We've looked at trying to change it but it remains the best time for people to attend (and for parents!!). I'm sure that if training band happened before one of the two weekday practises, crossover and continuation would have been easier. Additionally members of the training band come from a large geographical area, and not necessarily from Totnes itself.

    As it is, getting "senior" players in on a Saturday is extremely difficult. Equally those in the training band have a myriad of reasons and other commitments preventing them from attending even part of one of the senior practises.

    With vacancies in the senior band we've got enough competent players in the training band to have a full complement (and more) and the training band would be just that.

    We have one or two who work really hard and remain committed to teaching, but we could always do with more because of the numbers. What we dont want is for those more competent players who might be feeling frustrated in the training band but are unable, for various reasons, to attend the senior band to drift away from brass playing.

    We keep looking at ways to overcome the challenges and get the parents more involved in the running of both bands, but it is just that- a challenge.

    Onwards and Upwards!! :tup
  5. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    hi we have a training band of about 45 too and I use allsorts of music including bespoke music by Simon kerwin :)
  6. (A shameless plug!) But our new 'BRASS MONKEYS' music label has been getting great reviews since it's release, catering for learners of all standards being able to mix together...


    “Brass Monkeys” is the new innovation by Pennine Music Publishing. The music published under this label is designed specifically for junior/training brass bands. Each item is arranged for a full brass band, from soprano to BBb Bass and even includes Drum kit and Glockenspiel parts for your percussionists.

    Many of the parts are doubled up to ensure that you do not need a full compliment of players to perform these pieces. To help with the confusing aspect of the lower instruments written in treble clef, bass clef parts are also included for Baritones, Euphoniums, Trombones and Tuba, meaning that even though the brass band treble clef transposition isn’t primarily taught by teachers to new students, they can still join in as they will be familiar with bass clef.

    As well as all this, each “Brass Monkeys” publication comes with a license from us to the user to allow photocopying of any of the parts supplied with each publication (for use with the group or band that purchased the initial set). That way if you’re lucky enough to have 6 trombones & 5 basses – this isn’t a problem!

    In a nutshell, the “Brass Monkeys” publications feature…

    · Full Score and Full Brass Band Parts
    · Percussion & Tuned Percussion Parts
    · Easy Keys & Time Signatures
    · Bass Clef Parts for Baritones, Trombones, Euphonium & Tuba included
    · An Unlimited Photocopy License for the Purchasing Group or Band
    · Doubling of Parts & So Playable By Small or Large Ensembles
    · High Frequency of Rehearsal Marks So Rehearsal Time Isn’t Wasted
    · Original Compositions & Arrangement of Well Known Tunes
    · Optional Octaves (for your braver players!)

    AVAILABLE TO VIEW AT: http://www.penninemusic.com/list_scores.php?forband=TB
  7. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    we use this too, 1st time last night :) alsomusic for all occasions, bit like tunes and toasts

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