Youth Finals

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by wilky, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. wilky

    wilky Member

    Hi All

    After an enjoyable day at the Youth Finals listening to some great playing and seeing Hundreds of young players , why is it that so many adult bands are struggling to fill empty seats. Is it down to a lack of trying from adult bands ie get an association with a youth band, is it that young players dont want to play in adult bands or is it Youth bands not wanting their young players to play in adult bands???
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  2. wilky

    wilky Member

    In my section there were 16 youth bands with say and average of 25 players = 400 youngsters. On top of this there were a number of other sections being held at the same time. I estimate there must have been around 800 performers today. Im sure a large number of these youngsters do play in adult bands but im sure a large number dont
  3. Mofman

    Mofman Member

    1) I think a lot of local bands already have successful associations with these youth bands. Many of the MD conduct other bands outside of these youth bands as so pick the cream of the crop for themselves.
    2) Young players in adults bands do pose a problem in that depending on age the late night that rehearsals end. 10pm on a school night for example. Also, if there is only one or two young players in the band it might not be 'fun' enough for them and staying in a youth band is better. Similar age etc...
    3) I feel there is certainly some of this going on but it's probably a combination of the two other reasons I've listed.
  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Bit of a generalisation coming up here, but...

    From what I can see, youth band conductors mostly go out of their way to ensure that their players are enjoying their banding. In many cases, it seems like they feel that making it fun is the principal objective - and it should be. Youth band conductors (who are often, unsurprisingly, also teachers) also seem to me to be better at people skills, coaching and positive reinforcement - good playing is recognised, bad playing is gently corrected rather than rudely exposed. Participation and enjoyment are key, and performance success is part of that rather than an end in itself, necessarily.

    Trouble is, "senior" band conductors don't have the same objectives, or often the same skills. Many of our bands are conducted by awesome players who learned their only people management and conducting skills under, shall we say, an older school of MD. Many of them appear to be focussed on winning contests to the detriment of everything else, and many of them to be fair have a weekly battle ensuring that the seats are filled for rehearsals and jobs. There are many bands that just don't seem to be having a lot of fun in their banding, and that often starts from the middle.

    I can imagine that if you started in a moderately successful youth band there'll have been a cohort of players in your age group, there'll have been band socials, and the conductor won't have (usually) had a monster strop when there are half a dozen empty seats. That certainly applied to the youth band I started in, anyway, even though it was a million years ago. To move up to a senior band where you're the youngest player, all the socials (if there are any) are basically pub crawls that you can't go on and the band get regular rollickings for poor attendance or poor playing must be demotivating, to say the least.

    I also think that the cynical atmosphere of contesting once you leave the Youth contests doesn't help. I thought yesterday had a great atmosphere - my 8 year old daughter played in her first contest and had a whale of a time, even though her band didn't get any of the trophies. Quick backslap - Kudos to Jamie Smith at Hammonds, who saw to it that the beginners band all played really well and had big smiles on their faces when they'd finished. There was just an air of fun about the whole thing. I can't honestly say that about most of the contests I've played in over the last few years, I wish I could - probably only the Sunday at Butlins comes close. I was reminded yesterday how I got the bug in the first place, and I'd love to get it back!
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Can I also say well done to Brass Bands England for yesterday, by the way? I've given them a bit of a slagging for other things over the last year on here, and deservedly so in my opinion, but the National Youth Championships is something that they do very, very well indeed, and they are to be congratulated for it!
  6. :clap: A great day.
  7. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    It was a great day to be part of as ever yesterday, congratulations to all the winners! Really refreshing to see so many young people taking part in the movement, and clearly enjoying themselves.

    Likewise, as commented on by the adjudicators (especially our section) it was good to see the Concert Hall so busy for the bands! (We took to stage at 8:45am and there must have been 50/60 people in even at that time!) Despite this though, my one slight query, is £9 per ticket, per hall a bit unfair on the parents? Say you have two kids at Wardle High School, one is in the Youth band, and one in the junior/beginner band in the other hall. You have your partner and grandparents with you coming to watch. That's £72 to effectively listen to 2 performances. Is it not something like £6 overall for every hall and every section at the NW area?
  8. I may be wrong but I think the tickets were transferable this year.
  9. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    Saw a number of people turned away entry into the concert hall with Theatre tickets, could have just been a staffing malfunction I suppose?
  10. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    In my opinion its because our movement is slowly dying, It doesn’t really know what it is anymore, it seems strangely ashamed of its past and role in today’s entertainment business. People don’t have as much time to commit these days and much of adult banding certainly lower section is disheartening due to poor attendance and contesting which as a event has been undermined by shamefully poor piece selection and too much emphasis being put on it throughout the year.

    I think adult bands could do worse than reaching out to successful youth bands. For a number of reasons. For players, for ideas, for organisational advice, to see what banding should be about.

    I think many do, but adult bands can sometimes be standoffish, not prepared to put up with kids missing due to school or tiredness etc not prepared to let kids make their mistakes. Top bands can be guilty of not taking a punt on talented kids thinking more short term due to needing someone who is reliable here and now in big contests understandable but a bit short-sighted in the long term.

    I would really hope not...I certainly spend a lot of my time trying to get our good kids into senior bands. Astley Youth/ Bolton service have provided players for....Eagley, Hoover Bolton, Tyldsley, Ellenbrook and Boothstown, Oldham, Morcombe, Rivington and Adlington, Stocksbridge, Marsden, Hepworth, Pemberton Wingates, Fodens, Black Dyke, Fairys and many, many more...I have always felt it is our job to enthuse them then ship them out, NOT necessarily becoming a super youth contesting band. I feel youth banding and adult banding can be happy bedfellows after all most youth bands usually rehearse once a week or in the daytime.

    In my opinion, what traditionally has been a problem for the transfer of kids from youth to senior is kids going from extremely well run and organised groups, that plan their year around the experience for kids, trying to find music that captures interest of players, arranging tours, joint concerts, training days with top players, etc etc to lower section bands that are cynical, sometimes a bit standoffish, a bit tired and slack in their playing, playing brown, naff music and place to much importance on contesting. Maybe kids are over provided for in good youth bands and it doesn’t necessarily prepare then for the realities of adult banding...I don’t know. I do think that with a bit of imagination kid A could be better hooked up with band B.
  11. brassmomma

    brassmomma New Member

    Well, I can only speak for my son's youth band (Elland) - but many of the Youth Band players also play for Adult Bands.

    It does seem though that many Senior bands do not have a Youth Band and do not have a policy for encouraging Youth Band players to join. The youth players that join seem to do so if they have family members in the Band or a teacher with a connection to it. I do feel the top bands should reach out more to the Youth Community. In Yorkshire - obviously Elland do - the Youth, Training and Starter bands are seen as critical to their future - not surprising then that they are now doing so well! Black Dyke and Grimethorpe also make the effort (Black Dyke work with the YYBB and Grimethorpe run workshops). Some other bands also have multiple tier bands (Skelmanthorpe comes to mind immediately) which can help develop the young players. As far as I can see though, too many top bands really don't seem to care - they just want players ready made and fully polished and rely on their reputation for the players to find them.

    As for the other points, although the players do have a lot of fun, Elland do expect all of their players to attend all youth band rehearsals unless they have a good excuse - and they do. They are praised but they are also criticised when needed, discipline is tight and everyone is expected to be professional. In fact, so long as it is fair, good discipline is appreciated by young players, structure and boundaries are important - if they know what they should be doing and where they are going it helps. I don't know how this differs from senior band rehearsals. Although social functions can be a problem, my son (still only 12) has been very happy in the Senior Bands he has been a member of - but maybe we have been lucky.

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