How can I get my band to move forward?


New Member
I'm an 18 year old baritone player who joined a 4th section band late last year.

On first appearance, the band seemed a great move. A lottery grant meant we had a full set of new instruments. Plus we had a core of players who could more than cope with 4th section contesting and we have a large practice room. However, after several Christmas concerts with a large amount of deps, practices into the new year left us with just the small core of players. Around about 13 at each practice to be precise, so we were unable to enter the Area Contest.

All the band needs to be very successful are a few new players, an enthusiastic M.D and more importantly an injection of self-confidence! I'm desperately trying to be this injection but at the moment would say I'm failing.

Unfortunately our area has a high proportion of bands, two have just been promoted at this years area. As a result, players overlook us. So is there anybody out there who has any good ideas what I can do. How can I attract players and an M.D, and get the band going again?

p.s. if you happen to live in the Northamptonshire area and are interested in having a blow, don't hesitate to contact me!!! :D :D


Staff member
How do you get your band to move forward?
"Band by the left, quick march...."

Seriously, I think you could be pushing a little hard. Banding's not all about contesting, as I'm sure you're well aware. Maybe trying to build up the band's reputation as a forward looking band, perhaps by trying for joint concerts with other bands, high profile if you can manage it. Enter 10 piece ensemble contests. Enter normal band contests with 13 players - I've done that.
I think the most important thing to avoid is stagnancy! Players sense that intuitevly, and either leave or don't join.

Finally, most importantly - establish a youth programme. It's not a quick fix, but it's the best way to ensure growth into the future. After a few years you'll be training wizard kids!

Hope these thoughts help somewhat...
It's heartening to hear a youngster who is so keen! :)

Obviously banding is more than just contesting and I totally agree with the last posting. Training youngsters is important for the brass band organisation - but don't forget we are training them for the whole movement, not just the individual band.

The most important advice I was given by a (now sadly very long since departed) bass player is "you have to make friends before you can make music"

Good luck with the future of your band - I hope you make many friends along the way


You could try inviting the kids from the local schools as it would at least put bums on seats and they will improve with the band.Good Luck.


New Member

I agree with all the other comments...have you tried contacting local uni's as well, even if they aren't music ones, there may be players there who play. A poster etc. would be a good start.

Also, I think you need to consider how the whole band feels about it all. I have played for several 4th section bands and to be honest, they were quite happy there - less pressure, less commitment! I don't think they would have been too bothered if they hadn't entered contests at all, this is something to think about!

Best of luck,

sweetieoftwo x


Active Member
Keppler beat me to it on the wisecrack - boo!

Anyway, my serious answer is "Social Life"! Get your band going out - to the pub, bowling, anything at all. If your band is sociable and fun to play in, then once you get people to come along "for a blow" then they're more likely to stay.

Oh - and another thing, when people come along - talk to them at the break/at the end (ie. be nice to them). I have heard from so many people that they went to one rehearsal of a band with a view to joining and they were ignored at the break... so didn't go back (weird, huh? :? ).

It's all about fun!



New Member
thanks for the good ideas!

Thank you for the ideas that have been posted so far. I'll take them all on board and discuss them at practice tomorrow night! :D :D


Active Member
oo northants?? whereabouts?

I think the best plan would be to try and advertise around schools and the cheap local papers. You'll probably find a bunch of people that played years ago, and wouldn't mind getting back into it if they met a nice friendly, relaxed 4th section band... :wink:


yeah, the band I conduct put an advert in the local paper about 6 months ago, since then we've managed to acquire about 5 youngsters and 4-5 ex players who were looking to make a comeback. It's sometimes the really lowkey bits of publicity that make the most impact.

Di B

Certainly agree with the training band thing! :lol:

The other thing is free PR. If you do some sort of fundraiser or have band news send it to the local press - sometimes (if nothing else important is happening!) they will do free write ups for you even including a photo. This would cost serious money usually!

Also you mentioned about an MD. There are two paths here... 1) get a conductor who may not have the experience to move a band forward but one who is reliable and enthusiastic. This will provide some stability to the band (and no one wants to join a band that isn't stable!) The other path is dependant on money in the band but you could always hire a well known MD that might attract players?

The final thing is hold an 'open house' or a 'reunion' and invite all players, new and old, experienced and beginners to come for a blow at an open rehearsal followed by a buffet and beer of course! This way, you get to meet potential players, potential guest players, players who might be looking for a band next year and you can also thank those regular deps!

Final thing - if you can get an invite to a university open day then do so. You would be surprised by the amount of uni students who play and come and ask about bands! You could also help wind bands and orchestras out here too as you a lot of woodwind players. Of course, the downside with uni students are they are not always there and most of them need lifts - but if your band can accomodate this then go for it.

Hope this helps


Active Member
Good idea! I joined Clydebank when I was at University and stayed there for about 11 years... Band is for life not just for Christmas..?

:roll: Kirsty


Active Member
We're trying to do all these things with our band at the moment and they seem to be working (four players from the local uni myself included so far). There are a lot of people who woluld like to come and play, they just need convincing that it isn't scary!!


New Member
An update of the situation

It is 4 months since my first posting and I would like to say thank you to everyone who posted suggestions.

We have taken them all on board and hopefully as a result, are moving in the right direction. :roll: We now have a new condutor, some new players, and some of the old ones have returned. We have spoken to a couple of local schools so hopefully we might attract players from there.

Also we have a good amount of jobs this summer and we are in the process of building a website- Please visit and sign our guest book! :!: We know it needs more photos - hopefully these will be added after next week's first engagement of the summer.

At the moment we could do with a bass player, a trombone player & a couple of cornet players to make up the full band compliment. We have a 2hr rehearsal on Tuesdays which at last is becoming fun! :D :D :roll:

Thanks again

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