Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jpbray, Jan 28, 2009.
My previous post is a quote of I posted in 2008. Having looked around our local Band scene since, most of our Bands are struggling for players. Has a movement we need to act now and act quickly. I don't know if I can turn this into a campaign, but here goes. This way is the long haul not an instant band, but tough its going to be the only long term solution to maintaining Banding
I challenge ALL bands in the country if they do not have one or if it is limping along on a wing and a prayer to form a training band (junior band).
The young people are out there waiting to be discovered. Our band took four band members into a primary school to play simple tunes and let the youngsters have blow on the instruments.
From this one visit we had 12 youngsters turned up at the next practice.
1) We took over the morning assembly
2) We were introduced by the Head.
3) We played No.1 out of the Jock Mackenzie book. (4 part harmony)
4 We introduced our self and why we were in their school.
5) We played No.5 out of the Jock Mackenzie book. (4 part harmony).
6) We introduced the 4 various instruments on the day, with each of us playing a short simple solo to demonstrate the voice of each instrument.
7) We then invited all the children to come and buzz into instruments that are found in a brass band, hence to see if they could make sound.
8) We finished by playing No.3 out of the Jock Mackenzie book. (4 part harmony).
9) We visited their classrooms to make sure everyone had "had a go*.
Every thing was kept simple so for the children to latch on to a tune and identify with it, and their enthusiasm is overwhelming.
Come on TMP let us turn this into campaign.
We need to do this or someone is going to be turnibg the light off and putting the cat out.
I think i posted on the original posting,this is a great cause and topic,at Camborne we have a training band,then our J.C.Bs (junior contest band) then its our 5x national champs youth band. This covers all aspects of our youth/training set up,further to this is the B Band which keeps the youngsters still playing as they get older and finally our Championship band. I know its not easy to get youngsters away from all the other things they can do but once they get the banding bug its supprising how many stick with it,we have around 65/70 involved at the moment and the organisation is thriving
We are currently a 3rd section band with mostly young inexperienced players. I would say about 3 players from our band have not come from our learner/junior band. We don't go about trying to go up the sections, but I would say we work extreamly well with what we have and we train our players very well and we are fortunate to have very experienced players who really should be playing for bands much better than us who are committed to our cause. The problem is it's not easy to set up and the results are long term and not a quick fix.
We don't contest much at all, but last year and beyond found it shocking how many 4th section bands with no young players in and are awful. (not mentioning names of course, but i know who you are LOL!!!) Lower section bands (especially 4th section bands) should be teaching (in my opinion) what have you to lose and isn't it a wonder why we have a general shortage of players in the movement when the majority of bands have no such system set up???
Bands who give something back to the whole movement whether its a championship band with a "B" band or youth band etc deserve funding and good luck to them.
Ten years ago Denton Brass was reformed, at that time we had maybe half a band, so we set up a training band(mainly children from 7 yrs to 14 yrs), because of the influx of the members from the training band we now have nearly a full band (just short of a few cornets) which is doing extremely well in contests. So if any of you bands are considering starting a training band DO IT, it will really bring in new members to banding.
Thanks BIG Paul for the endorsement. Our training band was operating, but we let it run down. So we made sure we had people in place to run a training Band, then we did the school job. To go into the schools is not a huge effort, keep it simple and relevant to the people you are trying to recruit and you will be surprised at the responce. It is just having the will to go and do it in the first place.
The silence is rather deafening. Nevertheless, our foray into just 2 local primary schools near to our band romm has swelled our Training Band numbers from 8 to 31 in just three weeks. Their enthusiasm is infectious and is a tonic to the Band. So if anyone says that banding is on its knees. I say B****cks. It is self inflicted. It is about going into the schools and engaging with these young people who will carry the future of banding; WE HAVE PROVED IT. To see banding in full swing, doing today what it does best namely giving the opportunity to people who would never ever get the chance to play and learn music is a wonderful thing.
Well JP this topic should be stiring lots of people but it is very quiet. Hows this for progression ten years ago our youth band was playing the good old Jock Mckenzie stuff tonight in preperation for Manchester they are working up two 1st section standard test pieces Quintessance by Robert Redhead and another i wont say what due to the opposition lol but its by Kenneth Downie,also most of the youth band will be playing in the second section at the areas so thats 3 hard test pieces its all down to commitment and hard work but this just shows how things can go!!!
JP your enthusiasm is fantastic. We aim to increase our training band over the next couple of months. Over the years we have trained many of our own players in the senior band and some players have gone onto top section bands.
Training bands can be good for us older players (30-something) as a place to start - it can be a funny age to start playing, we're generally too old for a youth or training band, and too new for anything else.
We were lucky to find somewhere that was happy for us to come along, and funnily enough, a fair number of the training band members are 30+ )
Simple, if you dont teach, your band deserves to fold & don't fill the site with sob stories, its down to everybody to teach, after all, somebody taught you!
Killamarsh started a training band in 2006 but we lost a few players when our first conductor moved on but we still have 12 enthusiastic players. They have a rehearsal for 1 hour on a Sunday and we now have 4 players that stay on for an extra hour with the main band's rehearsal immediately afterwards ( 2 cornets, 1 trom and a tuba)
We have 66 learners in a nearby school (33 trumpets and 33 troms - don't ask) and we hope to put on a workshop with these players later in the year and before they all have to hand their instruments back to the next cohort of learners - it's part of the Wider Opps Scheme and I am due to have a meeting with a local peri and someone from the Derbyshire Music Partnership that is overseeing the scheme.
I agree. also, I have had several conversations with adult learners recently who have made excellent progress with training bands. Who said it was exclusive to younger players? At our level (4th Section) it has to be a consideration. As you know weeble, we have 5 ex learners in our band and not one of them are sub standard and if anything have improved beyond everyone's expectations and continue to do so. We have no predjudice when it comes to age. The problem I have encountered is the schools allowing us to encourage their youngsters to participate outside school activities. I understand to a point, however they need reassurance that we don't intend to 'get in the way' of their agendas. In our case we would be very happy to work with them. I would very much welcome some help and advice here on how we can turn this around in order to work together with local schools in an environment which is difficult already to get players involved at this level.
Take a quartet into the school, doing something simple like I have set above and the youngster will come, good luck. The more bands like yourself we can get to pick up the training baton the more secure the future of Bands will become. Then its onto the funding challenge.
I started playing at the age of 50+, couldn't even read music but sat in with the beginners. I felt fine with that. Then I progressed to the " juniour band" and very quickly found myself sitting in Senior Band which at first was a bit scary but I coped and haven't looked back. You are never too old to learn to play an instrument.
Thats very true, one of our bass players in my band learnt to play in our learners/junior band after his two sons starting playing and has turned into a very handy player indeed.
Having started to play in my 30's, I found the problem to be two fold. Firstly, finding a training band accepting adults in a way that overcomes the embarrasment factor.
Secondly, a point not discussed yet. How to make the significant jump from training band to main band. Being musical prepared through taking ABRSM theory exams certainly helped, but the jump in both work rate and standard of music will catch newcomers unaware. I found hymns and christmas music made the transition easier. Playing New Christmas Praise on christmas jobs over and over again was a big help. Maybe christmas is the time to bring new players up to main band. Have them join in the caroling and sit in the concerts over christmas.
Yes that is a difficulty - as I said above we currently overlap our training and main band rehearsals so the better players do an hour at each band. So our Training Band front row cornets do an hour in Training then the next hour on back row in Main band. This is a good transition for now but how do we get them to do a full band rehearsal if they've just had a 1 hour rehearsal with the training band? 3 hours blowing would just be too much.
When we set up our Training band it was exactly that to be a feeder band for the main band however we dont want the Training band to suffer by moving on the better players and leaving them struggling.
So I suppose the solution is to have a constent flow of learners to trainers to main band. But as a training band they have also been able to take on their own engagements - school fetes, charity fund raisers etc.
AS per a few of the other posts i started playing at 35 having never played before,it was a good way to encourage my daughter,i practiced long and hard to develop a good tone and playing style,having played in almost every contest with our youth band and our Bband its been fantastic experience. We are very very lucky as an organisation to have such a commited conductor in Alan Pope and a real crop of exceptional youngsters (National Champs 5 times in a row)
There seems to be quite a ground swell of people trying to get training bands of the ground. Given the work Bands do in the community such as training bands can we get a collective effort to lobby MPs for funding. We might be p***ing into the wind, but unless we try collectively we will never get anything.
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