Area Opinions

Tuba Miriam

On the percussion question, all the region's percussionists were needed for Coventry Variations so maybe it's just as well Partita is percussion 'light'!!

More seriously, how much thought goes into percussion requirements when Areas pieces are selected? The process has no transparency so it's impossible to be sure, however I suspect not much.

It's admirable that a first section piece was chosen that includes really integral percussion parts, but is it practical to choose a piece that has enough percussion to keep four players busy? Where are these players supposed to come from? In our region, with 17 bands participating in the first section that's a requirement for 68 percussionists; that's before you work out the percussion requirements for any of the other sections.

If percussion is to be regarded as important a consideration as brass (as it should) then surely there needs to be some parity across all the sections in determining percussion requirements for the Areas?


The lack of (brass band) percussionists is obviously a problem in loads of bands, but we are out there if you can just recruit us. At my county music school (several years ago when it was still really hard to get percussion lessons), there were 7 of us in the senior group (grade 8+) and another 7 or 8 in the junior group (grade 6 and above) along with all the others at all the smaller music schools in the county just waiting for a chance to play with a decent my reckoning that was about 25 percussionists just in oxfordshire and not including anyone over the age of 17.....
perhaps the issue isnt about choosing test pieces that only need a bass drum player, but instead finding a way to convince all those players that brass bands are about more than marches-and indeed bass drums- then maybe every band can have 3 full time players. :D


Well-Known Member
jo said:
.......... then maybe every band can have 3 full time players.

Trouble is, speaking from a conductor's perspective, the average brass bands repertoire is such that it would would be virtually impossible to keep 3 players occupied full-time. I know there is plenty of new repertoire with lots of percussion, but what about the more traditional music? And you can't spend the whole of every rehearsal playing music with lots of percussion; it would get very wearing.............



Active Member
We're quite lucky in that our main percussionist plays a brass instrument so she flits back and forth, however we had a LOT of problems getting a percussionist this year. We did get one and he was extremely good, but he had to come quite some distance so it's not practical for him to come permanently. :(

Anyway comisserations Gareth, didn't get to hear you but if 4BR and people I spoke with were anything to go by you were extremely hard done by this year. Just go out and show em next year!


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