Playing Advice..... PLEASE!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BandGoose, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. BandGoose

    BandGoose New Member

    Hello all, I'm relatively new to tmp but after reading so many posts on here there seems to be a few experienced players so I was wondering if any of you could give me any advice on making it in the Brass Band world. I am a 15 year-old cornet player and aspire to playing in a great band. How did you all get into your bands and could you use your experiences as advice for me? Thank-you!
  2. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    There's a couple of possible routes.

    If your county has a youth brass band, get in it - particularly if they are a good one (that's what I did in the Mid-Hants / Hampshire youth). It will give you a good stepping stone in experience - and a start to your "playing CV". Practice and work your way up to principal!

    Another route is find local bands who are looking for players. Again, learn your art and progress up the stands. Be prepared to dep(utise) with other bands in the area to get yourself known. Be able to play your parts and practice your sight reading.

    You'll only get into top bands by your ability and your commitment. Whilst you're ambitious, you have to be reliable and committed while you are playing with a particular band - getting a reputation for always "moving on" doesn't necessarily make you wanted. Try not to offend bands - you never know when you might want either to play with them or to borrow a player from them!

    You might get offers if you give a clue (in your tMp profile) as to where you are!

    Good luck
  3. vonny

    vonny Member

    I echo similar to what neil has written in his post.
    My first 'real' experience of brass banding was when i was in a local youth band. From here it was a case of listening, learning, practicing and playing... I think that the more experience you gain as a young player, will provide and equipt you to reach the 'top' so to speak.

    All the best...

    Yvonne x
  4. Well Worth It

    Well Worth It Active Member

    The best way to get noticed when you're ready, is through solo contests.
    Not only do the adjudicators hear you, but there are inadvertant scouts in the form of fellow competitors, parents and teachers in attendance.
    Practice hard and good luck.

  5. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    practic, practice, practice is always a good start. Also try and get a brass band player to teach you as you will find peripatetic teachers are often anti Brass band.

    Do as much playing as possible, join a good youth band or a local senior band with a training band as they do everything from park jobs to national contests. I would also suggest concentrating on more than just the playing you do in bands. Take note of how to treat fellow players, rehearsal etiquet, leadership skills, organisational practices and methods etc. Youth banding is some of the best years and you will (usually) learn most of what you need from the team that runs it.

    Play as much as possible with as many different people as possible, exposure is the best way to progress and you will find that the more players you play with, the more opportunities to progress there are.

    Most of all, be civil, courteous and willing to learn from everyone you come into contact with. You could be the best player on earth but no one likes a show off or an ego. You will find even the very best players in the country are still (generally ;) ) nice guys and gals who are still willing to listen and share their wisdom.

    I wish you all the best
  6. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    My 4 suggestions are:

    1 - practice lots of sight reading, do this by helping out as many bands as you can, you get to meet lots of people and get all the connections you can. Try to get involved in the tMP bands/Whit friday bands, get more connections through tMP. I know it can be hard if you're too young to drive, but most bands will really appreciate it if you make an effort to help out.

    2 - enjoy playing your part, whichever it is, and don't be too proud to play a part you don't normally. For example if someone asks you to play bottom 3rd cornet, make sure you are the best bottom 3rd cornet that band has heard. Be a real team player by listening to the rest of the band and talk to the bandsmen/women who have the experience.

    3 - Try different instruments. have a go at another valve instrument, or Trombone, even try a wind instrument, string instrument or piano. They will all help in becoming a more rounded musician and being able to put more expression, feeling and understanding in the music. Try a different group like a quartet or brass ensemble, jazz band or even try playing trumpet in an orchestra, it'll all help with understanding what you're playing and help you avoid becoming narrow-minded.

    4 - Finally try doing some theory books. The training band I help out at has some great theory books. It may be boring, but once again it helps you to understand the music and become a musician not just someone who can play cornet.

    Be positive, set yourself realistic goals (4th section top man by next summer; 3rd section rep by the summer after etc.), and stick at it no matter what.

    I'm sure if you say where you are based there will be plenty of suggestions of bands/ensembles/orchestras/contests you could get involved in.
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    What level are you playing at at the moment?
    Are you just starting learning?
    in school ensembles/orchestras and wanting to play 'real' music ;-),
    in a lower section band and looking to move on??

    What area of the country / world are you in.

    The answer to your questions is going to be different depending on how far you've got so far, but I'd pretty much agree with others - start off in a lower section band, work hard, enter solo contests, help out other local bands and audition for county/national youth Brass Bands (these are excellent both for intensive tuition, experience of playing challenging pieces and also for making contacts / getting yourself noticed).

    Good luck.
  8. persins

    persins Member

    A lot of it is just being prepared to have a go!!

    I started in a local 4th section band after having lessons at school. I played for them for years and progressed through the ranks. Whenever you get the opportunity to try something out or help out in different areas, don't be afraid to take the opportunity. I gradually moved up the levels by showing the committment and actually doing some practice.

    It wasn't until I went to uni though that I realised how important it was to socialise with other bands and get to know people. I was lucky to be introduced to a few people by a friend and then it just went from there. I began guesting with loads of different bands and got to know loads of people. Then when I left uni, I mentioned that I was looking for a band and agreed to help out woodfalls when they needed players on a job.
    From there, I joined the band and have been there ever since.

    Having the confidence to go out and meet people, take on challenges and be generally up for a laugh will always help. You have to put the work into your playing though as well!!

    Good luck,


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