The East Anglian Youth Brass Band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Cornet_player, May 13, 2014.

  1. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member


    I am working on a new project and really need some support. I have played in bands since childhood and most certainly now have the banding 'bug' (I am currently doing a PhD with Brass Bands being my area of interest) lots of you will have seen me over the last 12 months or so at various competitions and events 'colouring pictures' and loads of you have taken time to chat with me about it which has been great and is SO appreciated.

    HOWEVER, another project that I am working on is setting up the East Anglian Youth Brass Band. Many of the 'local' bands in East Anglia are village bands and do not contest and are increasingly finding themselves short of players- particularly young people. Whilst 'youth projects' have been tried these seem to be largely unsuccessful and as a teacher the young people I have spoken to see banding as 'for old men' and the kids don't like being 'the only young one in the band'. The East Anglian Youth Brass Band concept is simple. Young people (up to age 18) can come to us, have basic tuition free of charge and play in the band with other like minded people. The band is not restrictive by location (if players want to travel to us they are quite welcome) and the idea is that once the young people are comfortable with the banding environment or as they get older they have the skills in place to transition into the existing bands around the community. This project is not about rivalry or being revolutionary, it is intended to support the community that already exists and get more young people enjoying playing in brass bands.

    So far we have been in touch with Brass Band England and works have started in the build of a rehearsal space (bandroom) which includes basic kitchen facilities and a toilet and will be fully wheelchair accessible to maximise opportunities. We need support in moving on from this to getting the kids through the door (we aim for a grand opening in September for the new academic year). We are trying to raise money for Chairs, Music Stands and Music. We have a very minimal complement of instruments (nowhere near 'a band') and know that some of the young people interested in the project have access to instrument, but we will need more to reach the potential this project has.

    How can you help?

    We have set up a fundraising page through the JustGiving initiative 'Crowdfunding' for the basics of stands and chairs and any donations however small will make a MASSIVE difference to us.

    We know that a lot of people have old instruments hidden away collecting dust. It would be AMAZING if you would be able to donate- it doesn't matter what condition they are in so long as they are playable (or can be made playable without too much cost involved). We are about having fun and enjoying making music and banding.

    There are loads of people who will have experience of these types of projects. Any advice or suggestions of things we might like to do or think about in making this project successful would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks

  2. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Hi Heather

    As an MD of a small town band in Norfolk with a junior band, and having connections via my kids to other Norfolk junior bands, this is a project close to my heart. Where abouts are you planning to base? I cant guarantee financial help but if I can help in other ways please shout. Have you publicised on other forums - eg the various Facebook pages?
  3. Dick Bone

    Dick Bone New Member

    Have you spoken to the local music services (hubs) in East Anglia?
    Would it be better to start rehearsing in a local school before trying to build a bandroom?
  4. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member


    Thanks for the interest!

    We will based in Lakenheath with is technically in Suffolk but is right on the Norfolk/Suffolk/Cambridgeshire boarders, hence why we have gone for a 'cover all' name with the East Anglian reference. Although I am based in Suffolk, I worked at Downham Market High School for a while and still have links there as well as other local schools in the area which we are planning on tapping in to for engaging young people. Where are you based?

    We have approached 4barsrest for publicity and there will be posts going up around facebook at some point today!

    Unfortunately, the local music hubs are not all that interested in brass bands. This is not a new thing actually as when I was in the music service system I played for ensembles across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Suffolk did not (and still doesn't) have a youth brass band, Cambridgeshire did under CIMA but I am told that this is no longer the case and Norfolk did have (and does still I believe, but it is under a slightly difference format now I believe). Unfortunately brass bands are quite low down on the priorities list, with orchestras and wind bands taking priority - that said we have and will to continue to hassle them.

    In regard to the band room- this is already being built (currently waiting for the roof trusses to arrive) so that's not really an issue. It has been privately funded so the money was not able to be used for the purchase of equipment.

    Thanks to the people who have donated already, the support is much appreciated!

    Adverts will be going up around facebook at some point today!

  5. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Thanks Heather
    I dont think there is anything in Norfolk now - in fact there hasnt really been a Norfolk county youth brass band since the early 80s (I was part of it)

    Have you spoken to Soham Comrades band? Theyre actually not far off your doorstep - they currently rehearse at Red Lodge - and would be the obvious partners at least initially. Littleport, City of Cambridge and Chatteris are all reasonably close too. May also be worth trying to tie in to the East Anglian Brass Band association - Diane Hastings and Christine Wade are the main contacts. A lot of bands have unused stuff in their bandrooms and may be willing to loan stuff either short or long term while youre setting up and trying to raise money

    The other people to talk to are Manea Silver band, who have a youth set up as well - theyre not in the immediate neighbourhood but theyve had reasonably close ties with Littleport especially, and its worth avoiding any uncomfortable issues around poaching etc. Its also a potential partner band for concerts etc?

    What ages are you looking at catering for, what standards (are you planning to teach from scratch, or have players that can at least play to say grade 3 or 5 standard?) Have you got plenty of help lined up (again local bands can potentially help especially if they are going to benefit)

    I think its a great project, and look forward to seeing it develop
  6. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member


    I know Soham Comrades Band quite well (I played for them until about a year ago), and have had offers of help from people at Littleport especially from the point of view of managing the young people and training them up :) I am not directly in touch with Manea, but I know the lady who helped to set up their youth set up and did a some of their teaching etc through school.

    We have decided to cater for anyone up to the age of 18 who wants to have a go at being in the band. I am a qualified teacher so am confident that I have the skills to train people 'properly' and will be on hand if any of the others (adults) involved need help/advice from the teaching perspective. We realise that this might mean we need to have split rehearsal times if we get enough more experienced players initially whilst our newbies get settled.

    We haven't approached the East Anglian Brass Band Association- that's a great idea (and something we really should have thought of!) Thank you.


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