How to keep band interesting for young people?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hellraiser, May 27, 2005.

  1. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    In today's world young people have so many choices of things to do with their spare time. Banding is faced with competition like never before for young people's interest and time.

    Perhaps you'd like to share with us how you've managed to keep youngsters interested in brass bands.

    As a starter, I tend to think that youngsters will be more interested in bands that have plenty on as I think they'd get bored turning up to rehearse without anything to aim for. MDs must also choose music that youngsters want to play to inspire them. Also I think the social side is important and so a generous half time break is a good idea. Finally I think parent involment in some way is important- they have to feel that all the chauffering is worthwhile.

    I'd like to know what you think about this issue. I'm also quite welcome to debate how to keep band interesting for all people, not just the young.
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... for me, it is important to feature young players, both in rehearsal and in concert, in an effort to encourage their enthusiasm, confidence and ability. When I was 11 or 12, my school teacher allowed me to sit in the backrow of a championship band he was conducting and the experience overwhelmed me. This led to a lifelong interest in banding and a much accelerated learning curve for self-improvement. The kid must get hooked as a performer first and the music will look after itself (... after all, it is unlikely that he/she will be regularly playing what's on TOTP or the radio).
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    This is a big one. Applies to adult bands, too! But not too much - remember that kids have educational responsibilities. Also, depending on the age of your players, they may depend on someone else for transportation.

    Selection of music to play is, I think, the most difficult thing to do for youth bands. You have to walk a very fine line in terms of the difficulty of the music, or your more skilled players will be bored (music's not hard enough) and/or your less skilled players will be bored (I can't play any of this, so why bother).
  4. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    Do you think drills should be avoided?
  5. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    whan u say youngsters what age are you refering to
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... youngsters can be any age :rolleyes:
  7. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    yeah i suppose, young at heart n all that.
  8. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    Not sure, youth band age perhaps
  9. groovy

    groovy Active Member

    I think the thing that got me interested in band, along with my peers, was going on tour to France a few months after joining the main band. Best experience of my life. However that was just lucky that I joined on a tour year! The youth band members that have just joined our band seem to lack enthusiasm but hopefully they will stay especially after we go on tour in summer. I find that for the younger members of the band (myself included) the social side of it is a major attraction. We are all such good mates that we really enjoy band even if some younger ones aren't too bothered about improving their playing to a great extent. They just come to play 3rd cornet and have a good laugh!
  10. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    i think the main thing that kept me interested in banding, was the mixture of ages, the band i play for ranges between 16 and 60+. N social events that dont just involve playing are important.
  11. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    the conductor and other people in the band need to all accept that for young people,band isnt going to be as central to their lives as it is for a lot of adults. which means missing rehearsals and some concerts/contests, especialy if its round exam time. we will stay interested if we feel welcome and accepted, and not condemned for missing things sometimes.
    its nice for young people to be in a band when we're there with lots of friends our age, but as we get older and people leave, then the fun social side seems to end, and especially if still being got at by conductor, theres not much motivation to stay really is there?
  12. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    No. Drills are essential. Particularly for players who are getting their first band experience - playing in a group, and drilling as a group, is a different skill from doing individual practise or lessons. The MD must balance the amount to do against the needs of the individual group.
  13. Despot

    Despot Member

    Topic dear to my heart:

    Don't spend your days playing the same old tunes and going to the same old places.

    Always do new things (concerts, contests, trips) and introduce new music. Play some tunes they want to play or at least know. What you may consider "good" music, they may consider boring.

    They need regular targets, couple of events through the year.

    Do social things. Movie night, bowling night etc. And don't always tell them in advance!

    Always be positive, but straight with them. Don't tell them you're going to win the next contest, knowing full well you won't!!

    Remember they're only kids!! You can't and shouldn't push them as hard as you can an adult band.
  14. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    haveing taken our youth band for about 12 months now, i quickly came to notice that the band beacame bored very easily after doing the same sort of thing for weeks on end. so i and my helpers came up with a plan than has been used for 3 months now, and the kds seem to have really taken to it.

    firstly w decided that as we only have 1 hour a week to rehurse, we found that we couldnt cover everything that we wanted to so we broke the month down into a rota.

    week one we have a 3/4 of an hour theory lesson, with the rest of the time taken up with playing, usuallly something fun that they enjoy.

    week two we have a full band practice.

    week three we break the band up into sections and each helper takes a section away and we work on a new iece or something that the players are struglling with. we then come back together and put into practice the things weve blown through in the sectional.

    week four is then full band again.

    for those weeks with 5 weeks in we aim to do something a little different each time, this could be instrument maintainance, cleaning instruction, or individual work. we alsio aim in the next month to have the band broken up into smaller ensemble's for contest work.

    on the first practice of the month we also issue a news letter that lets the parents know whats going on with the band.

    as i said earlier, the kids seem to love this new system, so much so that i recently had a few parents coming up saying how happy they were to come to band on a friday
  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Listening sessions are useful too! Lend some top notch recordings to kids if they are interested. Nothing wrong in allowing them to hear what can be achieved and emulating the performances (if proper guidance is in place!).
  16. persins

    persins Member

    I found that the most important thing about keeping the interest is just making it enjoyable. All of the previous comments in this thread stand true for me especially the social side.
    When I started playing in Tadley Concert Brass' youth and training band, there were a lot of people the same sort of ages and we all progressed through together. We were never brilliant and were never expected to be. The emphasis was very much to try and keep us coming back and enjoying what we were doing. There have been a number of players from this band who have actually continued playing and have reached the level of championship section bands now, but that was a bonus rather than a deliberate attempt to push us in that direction.
    At the end of the day, the individual controls what they do. There is only so much that you can do to encourage younger players to do it, but the more that you do to make it fun, the more chance you have for young'ens to keep turning up.
  17. Steve

    Steve Active Member


    no, in all seriousness having spent a long time conducting a youth band the only answer is to make it fun and due to the diversity of personalities youngsters have you have to take the time to make them all feel like they are improtant to the team. Rotating music make no difference, featuring as many as possible in concerts makes no difference. It the way you go about it and generally listening to them and making them laugh makes it enjoyable for them.
  18. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    That sounds superb to me.
  19. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Our youth band is going from strength to strength at the moment. Most of the youngsters and oldsters seem to be enjoying it and are enthusiastic e.t.c. Some of the strategies we use include at least 2 trips away and Eurodisney as well last year. Joint concerts with other bands, plenty of varied music, and more recently we have started awarding star player awards. Sounds a bit babyish but they love it!!!!
  20. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    It's not just the young players that like a change. I'm getting really bored with my band rehersals lately. There are some very good, but pretty old players (and conductor) who only want to play 'traditional' brass band music or old marches, any suggestions for a change, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter type themes are dismissed as 'not proper music'. If there were any other bands within a reasonable distance I'd be off!

Share This Page