Are there less people for brass bands?

HarriBari

New Member
Perhaps the elephant in the room: Is there an audience for brass band music?

I am reminded of Don Lusher phoning his agent (the legendary jazz agent Jack Higgins) to ask why he wasn't getting any gigs. Higgins asked if he had seent he poll in the Sunday Times showing that trombone was the least popular instrument in Britain.

I wonder if that is the issue - people don't go to see amateur groups as much as they do and when they do they only really go to ones connected to their own family.
Maybe we have to do something about audience development?
Something definitely needs doing, and i mentioned it in my first post above.

Were trialling new things with each concert.
 

ari01

Active Member
The school system can work against you too..

Where I live the brass playing at the county music service and at my local comprehensive school is utterly brilliant. The county have almost a hundred children learning brass if not more (that is not an understatement - three brass bands all oversized).

The catch... many of the children are so busy playing at school and with the county they can't fit in a brass band too!!!!
 

ari01

Active Member
Perhaps the elephant in the room: Is there an audience for brass band music?
My personal opinion is that they are not linked. An 8 year old starting brass will not care about who listens. I personally hate listening to brass bands (it's generally awful, one dimensional music often very badly played) but take away my instrument then I would rather die than not be able to play.

I liken it to activities like running. The majority of people who go running would never turn up to watch a race they were not involved with. Or playing football and watching football. They are 2 distinctly different activities.

My view is that there is almost too much choice these days for kids of which most is very very affordable... singing, dancing, drama, sport, clubs.... the kids are just being attracted by something more glamorous!
 

HarriBari

New Member
The school system can work against you too..

Where I live the brass playing at the county music service and at my local comprehensive school is utterly brilliant. The county have almost a hundred children learning brass if not more (that is not an understatement - three brass bands all oversized).

The catch... many of the children are so busy playing at school and with the county they can't fit in a brass band too!!!!
Hampshire in a nutshell.
 

GordonH

Active Member
Same in Edinburgh, although we have the added historical issue of schools only teaching orchestral brass until recently. They only started teaching brass band instruments in the past ten years. I think this was due to our culture of having a lot of kids at private schools that still only teach orchestral brass. We also have wind bands rather than brass bands - in the main. This is due to being a military town.
 

HarriBari

New Member
Same in Edinburgh, although we have the added historical issue of schools only teaching orchestral brass until recently. They only started teaching brass band instruments in the past ten years. I think this was due to our culture of having a lot of kids at private schools that still only teach orchestral brass. We also have wind bands rather than brass bands - in the main. This is due to being a military town.
Growing up in Southampton i was in a wind band at school. My music (GCSE) teacher was RM. And its a way to catch all the wind instruments without separate bands. My instrument teacher started a brass band and while at the time i didn't think it ran particularly well, i now admire his effort.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Are there less people interested in playing brass these days as we seem to find its difficult finding people interested in the West Midlands area and wondered if this is nationwide?

Roger Bates.
Lots of good points have already been made on the thread but I don’t recall the time commitment being specifically mentioned.

There are several third and fourth section bands in my area that would likely welcome me as a player but the time commitment required to belong to them is way beyond what I could support. I could only manage it by sacrificing other equally or more satisfying recreational activities and, worse, possibly negelecting family and work commitments too. The demands of two rehearsals per week and say twenty plus performances a year just goes beyond the amount of time that a significant percentage of potential players have available to them or are prepared to devote to an individual activity.

Bands need to be more open to working with the limited time resources that many people have and to giving added value by developing the social engagement aspect of rehearsals (we meet and make friends at rehearsals as well as making ‘music’).
 
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Jack E

Well-Known Member
You surely must realise that is quite special?! - lots of bands have overheads, they may need to pay the MD, pay public liability insurance, hire coaches, pay fees for contests, pay rent on rehearsal space etc... when you start saying bands should cover all that, and buy a load of instruments to just have ready and waiting for someone to express an interest. and then provide time and tuition also free of charge...
This may come as a surprise to you, but EVERY band has overheads - including ours. We don't have to pay our MD, but we do pay insurance, hire coaches for the few contests that we do; we don't rent rehearsal space - but we did raise the money (over a very long period of years) to knock down the tin hut we used to rehearse in, and build a new band room from scratch (which was largely self-built by players and committee members); our stock of loan instruments has been built up over decades - some bought new with funds raised from concerts, donations and legacies, and some gifted to the band by players who have retired.

I agree with you, that's a way to get interested people started, give them everything and expect nothing. But for most bands, the ability to be able to do that is just a pipe dream.
I suggest you try reading my post before coming out with patronising cracks like that. As I made clear in my post (clear, that is, to anyone who read it), that what we do insist on from learners is that they turn up for lessons, and practise in between times. Our band has been following that approach for decades, and it has paid off handsomely - so don't tell me it's an impossible pipe dream.

I'd be surprised if the whole setup that is going on there didn't hinge on one or two people, (like if "founder member 1" gave up on the teaching slowly but surely everyone else would too.) - which would be neither a healthy nor sustainable way to run a band... I could be wrong.
You not only could be wrong - you are wrong. And you prove yet again that you didn't bother to read my post (or possibly you're implying that I'm a fantasist? Or a liar?). I made it very clear that it doesn't "depend on one or two people"; it's success is down to a group of players who act as tutors, and they are backed up by the rest of the band who support learners who are moving up through the junior band to a point where they are able to play with the main band.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I am reminded of this:

It Couldn’t Be Done
BY EDGAR ALBERT GUEST
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest
 
This may come as a surprise to you, but EVERY band has overheads - including ours. We don't have to pay our MD, but we do pay insurance, hire coaches for the few contests that we do; we don't rent rehearsal space - but we did raise the money (over a very long period of years) to knock down the tin hut we used to rehearse in, and build a new band room from scratch (which was largely self-built by players and committee members); our stock of loan instruments has been built up over decades - some bought new with funds raised from concerts, donations and legacies, and some gifted to the band by players who have retired.


I suggest you try reading my post before coming out with patronising cracks like that. As I made clear in my post (clear, that is, to anyone who read it), that what we do insist on from learners is that they turn up for lessons, and practise in between times. Our band has been following that approach for decades, and it has paid off handsomely - so don't tell me it's an impossible pipe dream.


You not only could be wrong - you are wrong. And you prove yet again that you didn't bother to read my post (or possibly you're implying that I'm a fantasist? Or a liar?). I made it very clear that it doesn't "depend on one or two people"; it's success is down to a group of players who act as tutors, and they are backed up by the rest of the band who support learners who are moving up through the junior band to a point where they are able to play with the main band.
You do tend to take offence at the slightest thing JakE, people are just expressing their views, suggestions and idea's. Dont forget that you are the 1st to mention on here that you have only just started playing recently, so why do you feel you know better than anyone who comments a different experience to your very limited and short one in the movement?
 
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Queeg2000

Active Member
You do tend to take offence at the slightest thing JakE, people are just expressing their views, suggestions and idea's. Dont forget that you are the 1st to mention on here that you have only just started playing recently, so why do you feel you know better than anyone who comments a different experience to your very limited and short one in the movement?

Oh dear, looks like you spelt his name wrong. (Grabs hard hat and waits for the backlash)
 

Slider1

Active Member
I wonder if our conductor in the WEBBA region was your conductor near Dartford?

Re the topic at hand, our trouble (so far) hasn't been bums on seats but that isn't to say it wont be a problem going forward. Trouble is we move "paycheck to paycheck", are a registered charity, don't our our own bandroom and simply dont have the money to find the right rehearsal space to start a junior band, despite having discussed it about once a year since I joined in 2014.

The other problem we're having is with interest - weve just had to cancel a concert which otherwise would have made us money, because unfortunately we just didn't sell enough tickets.

Harriet
More than likely;)
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
Oh dear, looks like you spelt his name wrong. (Grabs hard hat and waits for the backlash)
A simple typo wouldn't bother me in the slightest; we all do it from time to time. When somebody is deliberately rude, that's another matter altogether.
 
A simple typo wouldn't bother me in the slightest; we all do it from time to time. When somebody is deliberately rude, that's another matter altogether.
Jock E I think most readers here would agree that my replies to you are a lot politer than many of your retorts to people. After all, a bit of humour never hurt anyone did it ?

Probably best to leave it at that dont you think.
 
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Queeg2000

Active Member
Jock E I think most readers here would agree that my replies to you are a lot politer than many of your retorts to people. After all, a bit of humour never hurt anyone did it ?

Probably best to leave it at that dont you think.
Have to say, I'm finding it hard to believe you are making all these typing errors when writing the same persons name. You have called him many variations on his name, yet every other word is correctly typed. And don't blame auto correct either, as that would be changing his name to the same thing every time.

I'm always up for a joke, but &₹#@ a pantomime.
 
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