New to Brass

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Flat Eric, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Flat Eric

    Flat Eric New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Hello, the kids have finally moved out, I have time to spare, I don't like watching tv and I need a new hobby.

    A while back I was at a music festival and got chatting to a couple of guys who were playing in a brass band. They invited me to go along to a practice session and try a brass instrument.

    Fast forward a few months and I'm involved with a learner band. Struggling to keep up with the talented kids and baffled by all those dots on the page; but loving every minute of it!
     
  2. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    . . . you and me both, Eric - welcome aboard! ;)
     
  3. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,327
    Location:
    Chigley
    Welcome to the world of Brass Banding. In that it seems to take forever - and in my case probably will - getting better at playing is like a long journey, both plan to and work at enjoying the journey. It is frustrating and embarrassing when some spotty kid plays better than you but just roll with it and enjoy what they can do instead. Have some fun, don’t worry about what you can’t do, do a moderate amount of practice, be patient and make friends as best you can. Good luck and enjoy.
     
    Jack E likes this.
  4. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

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    200
    You do have one major advantage over the kids. Most of them put their instrument in the case at the end of rehearsal and it stays there until the next rehearsal.

    Ten minutes a day (I find ten minutes a day more beneficial than 70 minutes a week) will quickly have you playing better than those pesky kids.

    Unfortunately a lot of those kids will stop playing in their teens.
     
  5. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Queeg; up to a point, you have a point - but only up to a point. Many youngsters do fail to practise between rehearsals - but not all. Many do stop playing in their teens - but not all. Our band is a fine example of how many don't fall by the wayside.

    Solo cornet, solo horn, sop cornet, rep cornet, first horn, second horns, three of the four percussionists, and four other cornets all started with the band as 'kids' - and are still playing (some are still teenagers, and some are now adults), and in a first section band, at that! They didn't achieve that standard of playing by never practising between rehearsals, so don't tar all youngsters with the same brush.
     
  6. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    Messages:
    200
    I did say a lot and most, rather than all.

    In my experience, the ones that are most likely to practice and or stick with it are those who have a parent who plays. It's hard enough getting motivated to practice when you have support, when you have family and neighbours who complain about the noise and the temptation of a games console for many kids practice is just something they pretend they did.

    Many kids, my own included simply get bored of playing altogether, though I have persuaded mine to help out if we are short.

    Others move away to university, or their families move. We have a few of our better players leaving us for university in a few weeks. Over the next few years we stand to lose quite a few more for the same reason.

    Fortunately we do have a strong pool of talent in our youth band ready to step up, though some find the step from leading the youth band to the junior member of the senior band off putting. Not sure if this is because the standard expected is much higher or simply because they see feel insulted by being relegated to the bottom of the row they were heading an hour previously.
     
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  7. Flat Eric

    Flat Eric New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Yes, it seems most of them do. But there are a couple of brothers at learner band who learnt the first few notes then turned up at practice a week later and started playing the Star Wars theme when told to have a quick blow to warm up!
     
  8. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

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    200
    I've come across one or two like that. They can be a double edged sword though. Clearly they have the ability and willingness, but when they are in a junior band with others of let's say less ability, they can become bored, distracted, and even sometimes disruptive. It can be difficult to know what to do with them in the interim, not up to the standard of joining the main band, but being held back by the beginners.
     
  9. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,945
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    There's basically two choices...
    1) cross your fingers and hope they stick at it
    2) go the extra mile, bring them on with more one-on-one and duets etc and try to get them up to main band standard faster
     
    Jack E likes this.
  10. Flat Eric

    Flat Eric New Member

    Messages:
    19
    3) hope I can keep my head out in front of them and make it to main band before they get all the best seats! :D
     
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  11. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,945
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Haha I meant from the bands point of view :p
    If you're one of the ones practicing and making good progress then they should want to invest the time in you :)
     
    Flat Eric likes this.
  12. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,200
    Location:
    Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
    Ah, you're in it for the big money then ;)!!
     
  13. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    I don't have any children, Tom, but thinking about parents I know, many of them them find that Option 2 works well for them. Keep your eyes peeled for boredom, see it coming, and make a pre-emptive strike before it takes hold.

    It's not a skill that all people have (me for one), and I can well believe that parents in a band who have their hands full with their own youngsters may well jib at the thought of taking on a similar responsibility for others' children. But I can see that tailoring the approach so that young players are constantly being given enough of a challenge to stop them getting bored, without over-facing them, could work very well.
     
  14. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    Messages:
    200
    There is always going to be an element of boredom, as there is always going to be some waiting around. Whether that is in the band room while the MD is going through a part with another section, or before a contest, dealing with this is productively is as important as how you play.

    In the band room while the MD goes through something with another section, you can elect to look at your own part, have a chat with the person next to you or get your phone out and start playing with it. I've seen all of these happen.

    In a similar vein while waiting for the other bands to play before a competition, one could warm up, maybe they have some relaxation techniques to deal with nerves, look through their part one last time, check out the competition, or maybe some other positive option. Alternatively they could go to the pub or generally make a nuisance of themselves.
     
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