I don’t know if this has been thrashed out previously on this site, but since my return to banding since 2004 after a 17-year sabbatical, I have been wondering about the logic behind the traditional seat placing of the principal cornet on the end of the front row. I would presume the job of a principal cornet is to listen to and coordinate the cornet section, as well as lead in terms of style and sound. I have had the honour of playing soprano cornet behind three of the best in the last four years, Leon Renilson, Alex Kerwin and Vaughan McDonald. They have been wonderful to sit behind and listen to when I’m not playing, but nigh impossible to hear while playing with them, and totally impossible if playing in unison. You can’t even see facial expressions of approval or otherwise. Having done a contest stint at fourth solo cornet for Dalewool,I found it is just as bad trying to hear what is being lead from the top. Similarly, I don’t believe a principal cornet would be able to hear much other than the deputy, soprano and repiano (or in some cases, hear at all for some minutes after some exuberant soprano playing!). So considering the principal cornet probably cannot effectively hear, or be heard, on the end of the front row, why do they sit there? Is it merely so that they are safe in the knowledge that the audience can see they are the principal cornet, and not merely “one of the others”. In an orchestra, the lead violinist sits where they do for visual reasons, so that they can all match the bow directions for each phrase, and follow it on to the back rows – no such need in a cornet rank. Surely the best place for a principal cornet to sit is in either the middle of the back row (if they want to lead and communicate) or the middle of the front row (if they want to listen more and coordinate) I would be interested in people’s thoughts and experience on this.