New band - advice needed, please

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by North Londoner, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. Hello everyone. We've recently (January 2010) started a new brass band from scratch here in Enfield called 'North London Brass'. We've got off the blocks well with an average of around 18 players per week covering a good range of instruments.

    It would be great to speak with other people who've been involved in new band set-ups as, being relatively new to the whole brass band scene, I've got a stack of questions and could benefit from your experience, like (here's just a small sample of silly questions)... how do you best go about recruiting experienced players to a band that is, on average, at a fairly elementary level? How do you play concerts and contests with a percussionist if you have no bandroom storage of your own or just limited funds to buy timps etc? How do you get on the first rung of contesting when you have no-one in your band set-up with first-hand knowledge of the system.

    If you have time to help me with these and similar daft questions, please would you be kind enough get in touch? Indeed, if you're within striking distance of Enfield, please come and visit us... and bring your instrument too! We rehearse on Wednesday evenings. We've got a website with contact details on, it's linked through:

    Thanks very much for your help

    North London Brass
  2. lewis

    lewis Member

    Hi Martyn,
    sorry I haven't been able to make any rehearsals yet. I just saw this and thought I'd drop you a note to say I started and ran Alliance Brass for 6 years so if you do have any questions just give us a bell. I will make a rehearsal as soon after Easter as possible.
  3. Thanks, Lewis. It will be great to welcome you to a North London Brass rehearsal. We'll certainly tap into your knowledge and experience - just what we need... and bring you bass bone too! I'll keep in touch. Hope to speak soon. Martyn
  4. Zappa

    Zappa Member

    i will not be much use answering the questions ... However, congratulations of taking the first step of creating a new brass band and the very best of luck to North London Brass in the future.
  5. Thanks very much, Z, for your good wishes and encouragement. Regards. M
  6. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I'm curious as to why you chose to start a new band in the North London area, where there are several existing bands, most short of players?
  7. Hello David. Well, we started North London Brass as a fully accessible community project to allow people of all ages to take up brass for the first time or to return to their instruments after long breaks. Most of our new band members fall into that category and we've got learners in our Academy (Training Band) ranging from ages 10 to 81.

    We're also working closely with the Boys' Brigade in Enfield and across London to revitalise band work (there used to be a fine tradition of BB brass banding in North London) and a number of our players are ex-BB bandsmen. We employ professional brass coaches and provide instruments for nominal subs and we offer workshops on other week nights focusing on brass technique and also big band jazz playing, which appeals to a number of our members. We've done all this to fill a gap locally, but I'd be delighted to hear if anyone else is offering this depth of learning support.

    That said, it's my belief that the best hope for brass banding is to get those 'grass roots' shooting up all over the place to increase exposure and access, and to provide choice for people about the sort of band they want to belong to. It's our aim to start a second band in the North London area by this time next year and really give the movement a boost in our corner of the world.

    We're really keen to work with other local bands and to learn from experienced players and bands. We don't see what we're doing as anything that will diminish brass band work in London, but we hope it will draw more players into brass banding and help create a resurgence in interest. You'd be very welcome to come down and visit us at North London Brass (Wednesday nights in Enfield) and I trust you'll be encouraged by the work that we're doing. Regards. Martyn
  8. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Thanks. Good Luck.
  9. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    I have pm'd you, meanwhile good luck with your venture.

    Bude Metric Brass
  10. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    To start contesting I would contact either your local association secretary or your your regional co-ordinator. You'll be welcomed with open arms as they all want more bands to compete in their contests.

    For most contests you will need to be registered and graded. Colin Johnson at the registry is very helpful with matters like this. You will also find a full copy of the national rules on the registry website.

    if you want any advice with this side of things please feel free to pm me and good luck
  11. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    As a former BB bandsman myself, it is nice to see a new band being formed. I used to play for the 32nd Nottingham and Nottingham and Derby District band when I started playing. To think the first contests I went to were the BB/GB small band/big band contests - good times, but it seems a long time ago.

    I hope that your new band progresses Sure and Stedfastly! Good luck! :-D
  12. Thanks Oli for your encouragement. I think there are a lot of ex-BB bandsmen out there still playing in the brass banding world. The Brigade played a great role in introducing young people to music through brass, bugle and pipe bands. I believe it can do so again and this is why North London Brass is forging good links with local youth organisations - our members hail from six Enfield BB Companies, Sea Cadets, Scouts and even some players from London-based Territorial Army bands. North London Brass rehearses at my old Company Headquarters, the 3rd Enfield, and our Solo Horn player/coach hails from the 2nd Enfield Company, whose Silver Band you would may have come across at the BB Nationals if you were involved in the Sixties, Seventies or Eighties.

    ...and it's good to see Stedfast still spelt the 'traditional way'! Cheers

  13. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    It was as good a way of showing my allegiance as the BB handshake! :)
  14. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Ah a new brass band being formed!! such a rare event these days. Good to see this happening!! Good luck with your project and hope you succed!!
  15. Thanks very much, brassbandmaestro. We'll do our best, always.