Should All Bands Have A Youth Band?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by brassneck, Nov 5, 2006.


Should All Bands Have A Youth Band?

  1. Yes

    70 vote(s)
  2. No

    12 vote(s)
  3. district bands should be formed with local band support

    13 vote(s)
  4. local authorities should organise youth bands

    9 vote(s)
  5. don't know

    2 vote(s)
  6. don't care

    3 vote(s)
  1. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Recently at the The AGM of the Scottish Brass Band Association, Alan Fernie chaired a debate about whether all bands should have a youth band. Although no details of this discussion were noted on the site, I think Alan wouldn't mind extending it to this forum.

    There seems to be many factors why many areas nationally have seen a decline in band membership, with reduced funding and support from local authorities and a significant decline in interest from kids to play band instruments. Is it about time bands share resources to allow these youngsters a chance to play in a full band? Should educational/local authorities be approached with a mandate to resurrect a youth policy for amateur music making in their constituencies?

    I'm sure Alan will be keen to add what's been already discussed in Scotland.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2006
  2. postie

    postie Member

    Yes all band's should have a youth band this is the future of banding. Bestwood's new junior band was formed in May 2006 has been a great success and allowed access to youngsters to play who otherwise would not have had the opportunity. Band's need to look at things from a long time perspective, youngsters coming through are the next generation of players.
  3. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    i play for a youth band and we have a senior band and a B band and were all up th the same standard champioship but that does'nt matter you want younger people to learn instuments so that brass bands will cary on into the many yrs to come!
  4. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    A Question for you. Does the band want to be compeating in 10 years time? If yes having a Youth Band will definately help the cause!
  5. We are starting our first beginner's class on Sunday 12th November.
    We think it's our only way forward, but I'll let you know in a few weeks time!
  6. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I think the target will have to move a LOT higher than that. Regardless of what happens locally, the funds and resources as well as impetus for music in schools needs to be directed from NATIONAL government to have any significant effect. Music of any type is not very conducive to producing good statistics politicians can hope to be re-elected on.

    Even with the best will in the world though, current British society is not very good at "joining" anything now, as those of us who are members of other organisations will know, there is often a lack of staying power even when the initial drive to join some organisation (arts, social, whatever) is there. Even those bands that do have active training policies seem to see a lot of effort fail to produce very many adult members. I suspect it would take a lot more change in society than current attitudes to have much impact :-(
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    There is a lot more to it than just saying "lets have a youth band though". The small matter of a set of instruments for them is one consideration - even ropey ones will set you back a couple of grand if you buy enough for a decent ensemble, and that old tarnished bass with the dodgy 1st valve that is sat in the back of your instrument cupboard is hardly going to get little Tarquin's eyes lighting up with anticpation. You also have to find a room - not easy if your senior band doesn't have its own home either - and a stream of willing kids who can tear themselves away from their Playstations, and parents who can see the band as more than a free babysitting service. Oh, and don't forget that these days you have to get anyone involved in teaching kids through proper police searches.

    Once you have that in place, then you need to keep the kids and parents interested, involved, and committed to the group.

    If you can do all that, well done, you have probably secured the furture of your band for the next 10 years and will continue to do so while you have a youth band.

    So - yes of course its a very worthwhile thing to do, and everyband should have one. Just be prepared for an awful lot of hassle and hard work.
  8. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Without a doubt there shoukld be a youth band in every band as a conductor of a youth band i know the importance of having one cause not only does it create a foundation for the senior band it also gives the kids of the band a different way of looking at banding instead of just going to classes! For our band which is the Drogheda Brass Band( ) its vital cause with so many people going to college having a good youth band eliminates the prospect of holes appearing in the senior ranks!

    Stephen Murray
    Principal Cornet Drogheda Brass Band
    Drogheda Youth Brass Band Conductor
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  9. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    Brass banding as a whole needs new blood to survive. All bands must take some responsibility in making sure new players are encouraged into the brass band movement. One possibility may be for bands in local areas to join forces to create youth or beginner opportunities and share in the results. LEAs have been systematically reducing the amount of funding and time for musical tuition and so it is up to us to develop our own sources and resources.
  10. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Would it be nice if every band had a quality youth band?

    Is this likely?

    Purely personally, I would like to see bands getting involved with their local music authorities to see what help they might be able to offer. The combination of an enthusiastic band, keen to enable youngsters into a superb field of music making, alongside an organisation that is likely to have a qualified, experienced teacher base.

    As someone who works for the local authority, teaching music, I am often shocked at the methods that are recommended in some youth bands - some are a case of outdated thinking whilst others are just detrimental to playing, yet the tutors are seen as all-knowing by the youngsters because they play in the senior band.
    I am not saying that all the tutors who work for the local authorities are experts, neither am I saying that all those who work outside of the authorites are less than good, but if you are involved with the local authority you tend to have some form of teacher training, whilst if your only knowledge of youth band playing is from your youthful experience there is nothing to say that you will know what you are doing.

    In case any band reads this thread and thinks about starting their own youth band - good for you. It would be a crying shame if the banding movement was to continue to dwindle, even worse if it ever ceased to exist, BUT - I would very strongly advise that you contact local teachers to be involved. It could be that they already have a number of students who might be interested or they might be interested in getting ionvolved themselves.
    Rather than go for the isolationist viewpoint, go for inclusion - get everyone involved.

    One final thought - GET CRB CHECKED - If you are dealing with youngsters, this is a MUST - if not you can end up in very serious trouble, especially if anything goes wrong at any point.
  11. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    What about bands that don't have enough players for the main band, would there be any point?
  12. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I would think that if you ran with a shortage of players in the main band it would encourage you to form a junior/training section to provide the players required by the main band. Then by maintaining the junior/training section the main band may never want for players again. The band I used to play for have a thriving B band (although not now called a B band as they are in the first section) along with a junior band.
  13. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    In my area, the local authority music service is very anti letting children get involved with external music organisations. We have started countless children off playing; they grew to enjoy it enough to want professional lessons from the school, and then they get involved with the music service bands. These are designed (seemingly) to keep the children occupied several nights a week, and because it is a "school" activity, their membership of the local bands becomes a very low priority and eventually goes for a burton.

    We've approached the music service many times, but they are paranoid about losing their players to local bands. They had one head of brass who was interested in building links, but he left the music service after about a year - the rumour being that he was "too progressive" for the service. They won't even display concert posters for local music groups in case the kids get to hear that there are bands outside of their own organisation.

    The sad thing is that many of these children, once they have grown too old for the music service bands and are forced to leave, have no idea where to go next. The vast majority (of those who stay in the area anyway) seem to give up playing altogether. It becomes something done "in school" and given up afterwards. A very sad state of affairs indeed.
  14. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Oddly enough I help out a small "band" locally that is made up just like that that - an older former bandsman helps train local school kids (inc. IN the school) & a few adults too, despite the main adult "band" being little bigger than a Quintet at times! There are no direct ties to any full band locally, and as it is at the opposite ends of the county to the Bands of those of us who go along as "casual" players nor is it likely to directly help our bands out! Oddly enough, the nearest local band (which is a thriving organisation) appears to offer no such training, and may well ultimately be the beneficiary of his efforts.

    It hasn't made a huge impact on future bandsmen for the area yet, but who knows? (If he maintains the energy and enthusiasm he has now for long enough, that is). For me, it's far too much like hard work, today's primary school kids are not like I was at that age! :-(
  15. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Apologies for the lack of a mention on the site. Due to an unexpected family circumstance I was unable to attend the discussion so felt that I was hardly in a position to report accurately on an event I did not attend.
  16. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    Yep. It all comes back to my point at the start of this thread!!!!!!!!!
  17. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    I think if youth bands can work well alongside senior bands, then it can become a very good arrangement for both sides. However I've known a few bands where various dissagreements have caused problems between the bands, and the youth band involved ended up setting up on their own. That said, the training band at my previous band worked very well, with many players passing from the training band through to the main band at the appropriate time, and if this sort of thing works then it's worth doing, and benefical to both bands!
  18. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    What do you do with the kids as they come out of the junior band if they are not good enough for the senior band or there is not a vacancy on their instrument?

    We have a junior band and a training band but as the senior band has improved the gap in standard has become too wide for many players to be able to make the move from junior to senior band. Those that are good enough tend to be 15+ and after a year or 2 are off to college/uni, etc and the senior band is left with an empty chair again!
  19. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Why just a "Youth Band" - Aren't adults allowed to learn music too?

    Our Training Band is for any age (although having your adult teeth is advisable!). Oldest recruit so far - 66 (and still playing at 75!).

    While we should be "starting them young" wherever possible, why not get their parents involved as well?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2006
  20. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    At my old band they created a second junior band and the original junior band became the B band, although I think they need to do it again because the B Band has become very succesful in their own right and now the gap has grown too big again.

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