Starting Brass players in Year 3 (7 year olds)

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jmh3412, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. jmh3412

    jmh3412 Member

    My local music service is starting to run whole class "Wider Opps" brass sessions using cornets and baritones.

    Does anyone have any experience or strong opinions on the feasability of teaching pupils of this age??

    I realise that there may be some issues with missing teeth, but I would be very interested to hear of other peoples experiences.

  2. Despot

    Despot Member

    What's the age group?
  3. Daniel Sheard

    Daniel Sheard Member

    My guess would be age 7.
  4. hicks

    hicks Member

    Just an observation, but this might explain why there's such a dearth of trombonists. At 7 the kids are too small and it's much easier to give them a valved instrument.
    Anyway whatever you do, make sure that proper brass tuition is provided from a teacher who knows what they are talking about, as the initial stages are the most important to avoid picking up bad habits.
    I didn't start to play until I was about 10. I wouldn't start my daughter (currently 6) until she can at least comfortably read music - at the moment we've got her playing recorder.
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    No dearth of trombonists at local Killamarsh Junior school - they have 33 trumpets and 33 trombones! Why they didnt go the whole hog and get the full 76 I don't know (perhaps I cant add up ;))

    All part of the same Wider Opportunity scheme - just hope we can convince a few of these trombonist to move to some valved instruments or we are going to have some very unbalanced band set ups in future years. Perhaps they give the troms to all the kids with long arms.
  6. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Wider Ops is a scheme that is taking off all over the country.

    Which County service is it you are affiliated with?

    Wider ops is a fantastic idea, I think.
  7. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    Yeah, I like it in idea - but as long as it is a decent teacher. Trying to correct bad technique can be a nightmare later on.
  8. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Well, it's the music services that do it AFAIK so you should be getting Peripatetic teachers in to do it.
  9. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Killamarsh is covered by Derbyshire County Council and yes its run at the school by the peri.

    We started a Training Band 3 years ago but didnt get much support from the County Council schools music department. We are now trying to get some of the new learners along to our group too. As I understand it at the end of one years lessons the instruments are handed back to the following years learners and if any kids want to continue playing they get the opportunity to buy/rent instruments.

    We of course will be looking to feed some of our spare instruments to the ones that want to carry on.
  10. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    In the 2 authorities I have knowledge of, where WOPS has been going on for 2 or 3 years, there is no better take up of instrumental lessons once the kids move to secondary school. And the people running the show agree that the money would have been better spent teaching people who actually wanted to learn. Unfortunately the "Quality not Quantity" scheme isn't favoured.
  11. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I have seen that too mate, I have a couple of peri mates who have expressed the same view.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the average Joe Public parent loves the idea of free brass lessons for their kids within school but as soon as it comes to having to pay for Brass lessons, it isn't something they want to look into.

    Let's face it, music lessons are expensive as hell.

    And, of course, there are those parents who feel that Brass instruments aren't cool (My own brother being one of these)
  12. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    No problems with young children being given the chance to learn an instrument. My son has just had his first cornet (he's 6 years old), and I checked with the dentist and she said that there are no associated risks with him playing at this age, other than if he was playing for hours and hours a day (10 minutes here if we're lucky hee hee).

    I think WOPS is an excellent way to introduce instrumental teaching to children, and even if it is top-notch, then it is still better than nothing. What with the National Curriculum now focussing more and more on so-called 'core subjects', WOPS music teaching may be the best opportunity for children these days to have exposure to music.
  13. joker66

    joker66 Member

  14. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    I do wider opps teacher for my local music service, but we run it with slightly older children if it's brass - Year 4/5.

    The take up of "proper" lessons afterwards has not been great. Parents get free lessons and instruments for a year and then suddenly, they're asked to pay £65 a term for lessons plus £23 for an instrument for a year plus they're expected to buy music books etc! Not breaking the bank compared to private lessons or renting an instrument from a music shop... but a lot more expensive than the free lessons during Wider Opps.

    We have 2 music service teachers in a class for Wider Opps, that way while one is teaching, the other can correct technique, help out ones who are struggling etc. But I think that may be changing next year, it's too expensive for the music service to run it like that.
  15. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    I run music, amongst other things in my Primary School in Handsworth Birmingham - I have started a wider ops light this year on the Recorder - only 10 children at a time, but over the year all 60 children in Year 2 will have had the chance to learn an instrument, begun to read notation or different sorts etc. The hope from that is that children will be more likely to take on and sustain the wide range of instrumental teaching on offer for the rest of the school.

    I agree with what is said above - anything that exposes children to music is a good thing, and of those in the class if even 1 take it onwards in the future then that is great.
  16. Despot

    Despot Member

  17. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    The government have a 50% target for children to continue after Year 1 of Wider Ops.

    It is very hard for parents to then start paying after a free year, but in a couple of schools what they have done to combat that is to either run an after school brass club, where the fees are less, or the school pays for the teacher to come in for an hour and teach some that want to carry on from the Wider Ops first year, in that case the children don't pay anything.

    I work with Sandy Smith doing Wider Ops. in Doncaster and by myself in Kirklees, and it is a fantastic opportunity for the children. But you have to be realistic, and you need to have support from the school and class teachers. Some schools won't let the children take instruments home, so they are playing one hour a week, there's only so much you can do. So you're constantly oiling valves.

    I think the Wider Ops, is a great taster for children, and I think more of a link up with local bands, music centres would be beneficial. We often get the children to go to a local band if their parents are unable to pay for lessons. Maybe, some bands could go in to their local schools where Wider Ops are offered and give a workshop with the kids that are already playing brass instruments through the scheme.

    I absolutely love teaching Wider Ops. when you get a group of thirty kids playing a couple of simple tunes and being proud of themselves, there's nothing like it. We have several autistic kids and several physically handicapped children that we are teach and to see their faces when they get a note out for the first time it's fantastic.

    But, like I say you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. Me and Sandy are strong believers in getting the children to read and in most cases to also to write music. This way they are getting the taster and ability to either go and join a band and continue with their brass instruments or they might take up another instrument and we have given them the tools to be able to do that.

    So, with a bit more communication between the Wider Ops. teachers, music services and local bands this could be very beneficial for the brass band movement. It's not perfect but it is much better than absolutely nothing and watching the movement decline in numbers even further.

  18. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    Its not always about parents 'not appreciating' what they are getting. For some parents it would be a real struggle to pay even a small amount towards their children's instrumental lessons. My mum couldn't afford to pay for our lessons, so we were lucky to be taught by the conductor of our local brass band, who was a friend of the family. Had that opportunity not been there, there is no way we would've been able to learn an instrument...and our lessons at school were only £30 a term (this was 25 years ago mind).
  19. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Absolutely. And that is the main problem especially at these difficult times.

    So, we need to make sure that we're not losing these kids after one year, surely the teachers must point the kids in the direction of local bands or music centres.
  20. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    I think I have said this somewhere before, but Essex LEA has an instrumental voucher service. If you earn below a certain amount or don't work, you can apply for a voucher towards lessons. Makes lessons in some cases completely free, or a very minimal amount.

    At my Thursday evening music school we allow some reliable students to pay weekly who struggle to come up with the whole term's tuition, but appreciate what they are getting so will attend lessons.

    I wonder if these ideas would apply/help in those sorts of situations.