Having read the "disagreements in public" thread (which has turned into a bit of a debate about commitment in banding) I have a theory which I'm going to put forward as to why people are less committed to banding than they used to be: Being a member of a brass band doesn't cost enough money. Let me explain. I play for Middleton Band. If I decided I'd had enough and wanted to do something else, these are some of my options locally: 1) North Manchester Golf Club - seriously expensive annual membership plus purchase of clubs, silly trousers, etc. Assuming I was allowed in, of course. 2) Esporta Gym - last time I checked, about £100 to join and about £48 a month membership, plus obviously you need to have all your own gym gear. 3) Assheton Bowmen Archery Club - annual membership, insurance, etc. totalling about £130 (I think) plus purchase of bow (£100-400), arrows (£15-ish each and you need about 12) and accessories (add maybe £60-100) Plus there are riding clubs, the cricket club, a rugby club, etc. etc. All of these would cost you, I reckon, a minimum of £500 a year to pursue regardless of whether you turned up or not. Membership of Middleton Band, where I do my best to make as many rehearsals as possible - I think I've missed maybe 4 this year - costs me: £0 The band has had a policy of not charging subs for a while and generates revenue from concerts and social/fundraising events. In many ways this is admirable, and I am not for one moment criticising Middleton or anyone there. However, I do feel sometimes that if it actually cost more money to join a band and remain a member, players would be less inclined to miss rehearsals or jobs for "frivolous" reasons. Bands would also be less obliged to take rubbish park/marching jobs for insultingly low fees from councils/churches , which I know is a problem for some bands and which de-motivates a lot of players. Here's a "for instance". Let's say your band, Bloggsthorpe Brass charges £2 a week subs, or £50 a year. Someone has to go round at each rehearsal with a tin collecting it, there are always a few who don't pay (especially when they've missed a few weeks rehearsals) and the band ends up with maybe £1000 in revenue. For the £2 a week players get a bandroom (lit and usually heated), an extensive music library, a uniform jacket/tie (sometimes two), usually an instrument, stands/mutes etc., plus tuition from a conductor who in many case will have professional brass playing or conducting experience at a high level. They also issue the band's property to new members without even taking their address or getting a receipt. From 2007 Bloggsthorpe Brass operate a new system; membership is £180 per year payable in advance, or by monthly direct debit of £15. Members who don't pay are suspended. Anyone who leaves can have their fee refunded when their jacket/instrument etc (for which they now sign a receipt) are returned. Exceptions would be made for those in full time education, getting jobseekers, over 65s, etc. Bloggsthorpe Brass now has a more or less guaranteed annual income of £4500 - in return for this the band guarantees to prioritise things that band members prefer doing, whether that be more contests, an annual band tour, social events, recording a CD. In the worst case, if paying members don't turn up for jobs, at least there is a bit more money in the kitty to pay dep expenses so that there aren't empty seats all the time. I'm of the opinion that if it was costing a bit more money, people would be less inclined to think "oh, it's only band, sod it, I won't bother tonight". I know there will be some who regard this as the thin end of the wedge, but when you sit back and consider how much it costs to run a brass band these days (if you don't know, ask your treasurer, I guarantee you will be horrified) the majority of banders in this country get their hobby very cheaply indeed, and I think that low cost is reflected in the low priority that banding sometimes gets in people's lives. What do you think? How much do you value your hobby? Should banding cost more to reflect the amazing value it offers? Or would that drive you away?