Junior Bands & Training Bands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Lawrencediana, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    With all the comments flying back and forward regarding conductors airing their greivances in public and the developing thoughts on commitment, I was thinking to myself (which I know is a dangerous thing) how many bands out there operate training/junior bands and what policies they have for promoting players from their training/junior bands into the senior organisations.
  2. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    We have a Training Band and a Junior Band both run by Sue (until recently a member of the Senior Band)

    She set them up when her own children started playing (I think) and is now a county peripatetic(sp) brass teacher and still runs both bands.

    The only policy we have regarding promoting players is that they have to be good enough and as committed as any other member of the senior band. In the past a number of players have come through to the senior band but as the senior band has moved up (1st Section now) the gap gets bigger and it has become (almost) impossoble to make the move, although we are very hopefull of a number of the current band coming up and joining us.

    The other option (as my son has done) is to join a local 'lower' section band - it does mean I now get roped in to doing jobs for both bands !
  3. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I think you have just raised a point I have been trying to make when people say, "well haven't you got a junior band?" No we haven't got a junior band, not for lack of wanting one, but because we have no funds to be able to start one. No funds, no instruments, simple as. But we are trying and will keep on trying. But then that does not solve the problem of the senior band in times when players are needed. As you so rightly pointed out, (most) Junior members are not at a standard to play with top section bands. And they will not stay in a Junior band until they are capable of this. They will move to other 4th/3rd section bands and I don't blame them. So even though having a junior band may encourage the players of the future, they are not going to solve the immediate or even long term problems that senior bands at the top level have of trying to find players.
  4. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    think of junior bands as apprentices (when they used to exist), very few apprentices went on to work at the company where they were trained. In our band there currently no players who have come through our training/junior bands but I know there are 100's of brass players out there who did so I'm sure there are bands with players who we trained.
  5. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I think it depends how many players you have. Look at Wantage down here in Oxfordshire. They are championship section (as of next year) and when they have a thriving junior band, as well as a B band which is 4th section. I think they have about 200 people in their organisation spread across 3 or 4 bands. I'm not entirely sure how they did it :eek: but if you can promote the kids within your own organisation until they are of a standard for the main band then that can only be a good thing.
  6. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    you'd be surprised how much you can get for very little when you ask around. Oughtibridge training band (at which I teach) has managed to scrape together a fair few instruments from people's lofts, auctions etc. they may not be top quality, but them get the kids interested and gives them something to aim for (playing better and getting a better instrument).

    Perhaps look to local schools/youth groups/churches for assistance, involve the community. Or maybe local businesses - I've been doing some redesigning of Hatfield Colliery in the last few weeks, and know that work is going to start on site soon redeveloping it. Have you approached any of the companies involved in the redevlopment? They may be willing to invest in local kids to raise their profile -worth getting in before the new school term so you can get some ads out when the schools restart. PM for any info/contacts I can scrape together.


    We have just recieved a grant from a local trust in order to purchase instruments for our junior band. Go to the council and see what's about, I think it was them that put us in touch with someone who co-ordinates people looking for grants with people who have grants to give away, this has been a great help as we wouldn't have known who to approach otherwise!
    At Chaple-en-le-Frith Town Band we have a junior band SK23 who are now getting too good to bring beginners into so we are starting a new beginners group (Brass Monkeys) in September. Some of the players in the junior band play with the senior band too and the idea is to keep progressing them through until the Senior band is full and capable enough to contest. But then, I have high aspirations, I started in Wantage Silver Band as a child!
  8. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    I think that there has to be a 'feeding system' put into place especially with championship sections bands. You first of all needed to have learner class where the pupils learn how to read music and the basics of playing the instrument. This should then feed a trainning/junior band where they start playing together in a group and do small concerts etc. Then there should be a Youth band where there are lots of concerts and contests. Then possibly a 'B' Band then this should feed to the first band. Youngters have to things to aim for, and going through a 'promotion' system it helps to encourage them by thinking that they are improving all the time. Any more suggestions on this idea? I'm not saying it is the correct way, or that bands have this oppertunity, just my opinion.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2006
  9. Our training band are quite lucky that we have the church hall for a small fee, and teach two of the vicars sons. They kindly put an advert in their parish paper advertising the band, which not only brought down a few new kids (and some adults) but also brought the band into the public eye and we gained a donation.
    We had instruments from auctions, and even got a couple from car boot sales, which we paid a small price for then had them repaired to reach a playable condition.
    Also had instruments sold/donated to the band from local players who had student instruments,.

    We know have some children who are more than ready to sit back row, but need a bit more confident, and in the past year we've had two of our adult learners join the ranks!

    We are really lucky that the transition isn't a big jump, but can totally understand higher section bands being too big a jump for learners who are progressing past training band but not enough for senior band.
  10. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Killamarsh "loaned" our pre-lottery instruments to a couple of local schools 8 years ago hoping that we might get a few kids learning at school on our instruments and then they might come along to our band too - not one turned up.

    Last year we ran a workshop for anyone insterested in joining a training band, we sent out letters to some 40 junior schools within a 15 mile radius - on the day 8 kids with instruments turned up plus a few more who were keen to try. What was obvious was the lack of backing from the schools - we even contacted our local education authority to see if we could borrow a 3/4 size eeb for a very enthusiatic learner - no luck they were not even prepared to lend us one even though the kid went to one of their schools. In the meantime we've got most of our old instrument being used by the training band members.

    Any way we've continued with this and we now have 15 regular attenders at our weekly training band rehearsal; they've even taken on a paid engagement for a local school fete and have performed separately at two concerts with the main band. So far they have been totally funded by the main band (which we are happy to do) and we have recently bought them two new Virtuosi cornets at £130.00 each - this meant that we could get two more instruments out to learners. Buying instruments at these prices means you could kit out a training band for less than £10,000.

    I was contacted last week by some one who works for something called Links in Chesterfield and they help organisations find funding for worthy projects - we have been told that an application on behalf of our training band could secure up to £7,000.00 to help with the running costs etc - with match funding from the band that would secure an independent future for our training band.

    Killamarsh do not contest, we do however get plenty of bookings for well paid jobs - our priority at the moment is to support our training band and we see this as securing the future for the main band.
  11. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    Keep it up, when I took over the running of Woodfalls Juniors we had 8 members and 10 instruments, with some canny buying (mostly from ebay) and some hard work we took it to a maximum strength of 43 in 8 years with instruments for all. I rarely spent over £100 on any cornet and the maximum spent was £350 for an EEb Bass. You do need some really enthusiastic committee members to drive the recruitment process and some dedicated tutoring staff to push the beginners.
  12. persins

    persins Member

    Indeed, and we appreciate all the hard work that you put in with the junior band Lawrence.:clap:

    Although not many of the juniors have gone on to play for SWT Woodfalls recently, I'm sure a great deal of them do progress through and have joined Woodfalls Concert Brass (1st Section now I believe?!).

    I first started playing through Tadley Concert Brass' youth band. We weren't great but there was definitely the progression opportunities available to get into the senior band if you worked at it. They are 4th section L&SC, but have a good deal of players who tend to stay with the band for a long time. Loads of the band have come through the youth band and stuck at it which is very pleasing to see. Everyone is given an opportunity to play in both concerts and contests if they wish which really gives the younger members some good experiences early on.

    Without Tadley Concert Brass, I wouldn't have been able to progress to the level I am now. Although I am not registered for them anymore, I often go back to help out when required. It also goes to show that just facilitating the opportunity for young people to get involved has massive benefits to the banding movement in general.

    Players from Tadley Concert Brass have progressed far and wide in the Brass band world including Cantium, Bodmin, Woodfalls, Torbay, Lympstone, Capital Concert Brass, Yeovil, Portishead, Bath Spa, Ocean, Sandhurst to name but a few.

    Not bad for a small lower section village band eh?!
  13. I can comment on this as a member of a Junior band. I play with Marsden Juniors, and basically, I'm getting nowhere. We have like, 19 players, most of which are cornet players. There's no way I'd get in to Marsden because of the lack of jobs etc that we (Juniors) partake in, meaning it would be too big a jump. We can't seem to encourage young players to join anymore. And we seem to be at a bit of a halt. The thing is, from March next year I'll be 19 therefore can't play with them anymore. We're lucky that we get accepted for grants every so often by a local charity shop in the village, and get very generous donations when we do jobs etc. This obviously benefits us greatly for updating instruments and doing repairs etc.
    Anyway, I'm lost, have no idea what to do on the matter. But, banding goes on... :D
  14. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    Marsden seem lucky to have you. Take your thoughts to the junior band management. We used to have junior band open evenings where we invited youngsters (through letters and flyers to local schools) to come and try an instrument it always used to pick up a few players. As to being unable to progress, if Marsden can't take you I am sure there will be a senior band close to you that would welcome you with open arms. I wish you the very best of luck for your future in banding.
  15. I've told Brighouse that I'm looking for a new band, gave them a bit of a wink, too. haha :tongue:
    It looks like I shall have to have a search for a band!
  16. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Sound like a similar situation to us down here in South Molton.... at the start of June we had an open afternoon, we sent letters to all the schools in the catchment area for South Molton Community College (being surrounded by millions of villages.... this was a LOT of schools!) and nobody came having heard about it from school! We got about 12 kids on the day and now have a permanent group of 10... who are progressing really well (1 has even started doing some Grade 1 stuff... ALREADY!! :D) they've also performed at their very first concert and had a masterclass with Vicki (vickitorious) which they all loved! We may only have a small group but they are really enthusiastic! We finish at 8 and they all carry on playing afterwards! If we had more than 10 complete beginners it'd be a bit of a nightmare anyway!

    We are thinking of having a new intake in September and having that group on a seperate night, and eventually in a few decades there may well be a South Molton 'B' Band! :tongue: here's hoping!

    Beginner's Band (yes I know there's only 10 of them!) is a lot of hard work.... but its so much fun.... and its amazing to see how far the kids have progressed in nearly 2 months!

  17. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    And this my dear is why you are going to be a music teacher! We are going to revolutionise the SW and turn every school we do practice in into budding young brass banders! .......Well I'm trying! My year ones were most impressed with my Euphonium, so thats 30 young euphonium players in the making! and i spent 6 weeks convincing my year 6's that MUSIC IS FUN!! :)
  18. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    did they believe you though? :tongue:

    I sooooo can't wait to start uni, I have seen music lessons in a year 2 class..... it was like an army procedure and anything BUT fun.... to me it seems completely impossible and stupidly difficult to make music boring.... don't know how that teacher managed it! Bring on the placments!

    P.S. the kids at band can tell I'm going to be a teacher.... I'm in charge of homework!! (nothing to difficult.... just nice fun theory sheets and they get stars in the back of their books if they complete it.... I never realised the amazingness of little sticky stars until beginner's band..... they postively LOVE them! :tongue: )
  19. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    I'll stop you there! Music in school?! *falls off chair* so it does exist! hee hee, nah theres cr*p or no proper music teaching in many schools, which is why it doesnt surprise me that your band didnt get much response from the schools. It does vary tho, i am informed (yet to see) some schools around our area with a great music department!

    Coloured stickers- Kids will do anything thing for one! I love it.....not that u use bribbing as my main source of classroom management!........

    Anyway, vaugely back on topic. Pendennis has always had a thriving training/junior/youth band. I was a product of the 1st one and the senior band is probably made up of at least half of the junoir band. I think its essential for the lower section bands to have a decent intake of youth, otherwise they can fold too easily.
    The downside is of course that you build up your little players and watch them grow into fine young players......and they get snatched up by higher section bands. still, this is life i suppose.
  20. Valvecap

    Valvecap Member

    There seem to be different approaches across the counties.... - Having only recently become involved with the setup at Frickley, I was suprised to see how efficient their system is - Senior Band - Carlton Main, Top section etc... South Elmsall - Training Band - have supplied a number of players to the senior band (as well as other top section bands) over the years - and continue to supply deps when required. Finally, Frickley South Elmsall has its own learners group which does concerts in its own right. Im under no illusions - I know that the bands all source players from the "open market" so to speak, but the thought is there.
    Back home in East Yorkshire, there is one independent youth band to develop players - attendances at this youth band have fallen - amongnst other things as a direct result of perry teachers deverting their learners to orchestra and wind band using the "if you play with the brass bands then I wont teach you" line. Only a thought, but I think that the way music is taught to younger players is having a marked effect on the numbers of learners avaliable to our movement.

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