I left the banding scene at around the millenium. Main reasons were that the standards of our top bands had deteriorated so much. There had become far too much emphasis on blowing as loud as you can. A band from Wales was winning prizes when the only prize I would have given them was a prize for the loudest band of the day. I certainly would not have credited such a band with prizes for best musicality, nicest sound, tuning, balance... Soon this fashion of trying to "blow louder than any band had ever before in the history of man" caught on to many other top bands. Many of our past great players would find it difficult playing in the top bands of today. If you can't play loud, people aren't interested. Bands rarely play quiet with real musicianship, tuning and quality. Dynamics are totally overdone- not just the mf+ dynamics but also cresc and dims are too in your face, very little sublety, very little class. The test pieces that top bands are asked to play have probably helped to contribute to this problem. Players have become obsessed with dynamic marks, time changes, technically challenging bits, high notes, playing super tight, speed playing, quick mute changes and have lost focus on the things that really matter such as musicality, emotion, quality sound, empathy, expression... Finally, the internet has brought with it fanzines and message boards where certain bands and players are being hyped up far beyond their abilities, talked about as heroes, by inept writers. Again, loud players are the ones who tend to get the hype and the hero tag. To summarise: the power and muscle approach to band playing has in my opinion made brass bands sound worse. We need to get back to basics and stop rewarding pyrotechnic bands for their awful performances.