With comments made about innovation being expected a little more from competing bands in the programme section of the recent Butlins' contest, this has got me wondering what do they exactly mean by it. Without innovation, products and processes can become stale, dated and forgotten unless it a classic design that withstands other changes in society and is constantly required. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation What concerns me is what we, as a musical community, define as innovative musical development. Successful models in the past have relied on visiting previous established forms and styles using contemporary/modern techniques to present as 'new'. Other attempts usually fail as the majority of bandspeople see them as being abstract, novel or gimmicks that have only short-term value. I recently bought the Elgar/Patrick Howarth book "What A Performance!", and since it was published in 1988, I don't see much change from the observations and criticisms made then and what I hear and read now. Bands play what is seen as popular for a while and after a period of time, the music is dropped as being considered as 'old hat'. This applies to fantastic arrangements of orchestral classics to new compositions in both concert and contesting platforms. It seems that over time, only a small percentage of works are performed again & again (... works established as a genre classic). My problem is that I am struggling to find something that can be innovative and enduring for the future of brass band music. The well known composers of our generation have succeeded in finding elements that have progressed it and settled comfortably in their niche markets but I feel that these elements link to something in the past, whether it be baroque concertante styles or programme music used in films. Simply put, it relates to what most people can grasp and understand, i.e., based on something we already know. We all have different tastes in what we like to listen to and we have a service to provide to the general public. One obsevation in the Howarth book was that as a genre, we are now are our own audience catering mainly for ourselves. So what can be considered innovative in your opinion? Are you happy with what we've got? I'm a little stuck on this one ... there is music I would like to see developed but I'm afraid I might be one of a minority and have to realistically think I might waste my time trying to write it. Performances would be rare if they ever would happen, and these reasons haven't changed since 1979 when I turned down studying composition at established universities with a reputation in that field.