Has anyone, particularly percussionists seen the letter on the subject of contests in this weeks (5289) British Bandsman? It makes the suggestion that percussionists are the biggest time-wasters and do we need them? I think this person is well out of touch with the present Brass Band movement. More and more composers/arrangers are including much more percussion in their music these days so they think we are worthwhile. Oh, by the way, I'm a percussionist.

What do you think? Percussionists have your say.

Edit: Name removed. (RT)


Active Member
I agree. They can add a new dimension of sound to pieces, and some pieces just wouldnt work without them.

*quietly from behind his stand, so no1 will know he has actually said it so he doesn't get lynched...*

I kinda like percussion!
He obviously has not heard Tristian Encounters then!!! Just because the rest of the band can walk in, open a case, pull their instrument out and be ready, where as percussionists have to set up, tune timpani, get different sticks ready etc. does not mean we are "time-wasters".


Supporting Member
When I read this letter in the Bandsman I sat for what seemed like ages trying to digest what this................person................is trying to say.

It would be interesting to know whether

a) his comments were made tongue in cheek or whether he actually really did mean what he said.
b) how many contests he's been to and where
c) what instrument he plays (if any?)
d) what section his band is

I think it is THE most ridiculous letter I have ever seen and I'm surprised the Bandsman actually published it.

In fact, it isn't even worth seriously discussing - so let's not, eh :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

P.S. And if collecting the Bandsman from his paper shop on a Friday is the highlight of his week..........................well
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


I have also read the letter, I did wonder how long it would take before the response arrived.
He is either very brave or very stupid particularly in upsetting percussionists, we all know how they can respond to critisism.


Active Member
Outrageous comment by this letter writer. We all make many jokes about them (or is it just me?!) but with the way that Brass Band music has developed, Percussion is not only important, but essential! To be honest Brass Bands would just sound boring without it, as it adds a whole new dimension of 'colour' to the sound of the Brass Band!!! :D


I'm glad I wasn't the only person to be outraged by this letter! And another interesting point - the idea of adjudicators doing 9am-6pm with no comfort break. It can be difficult to feel any sympathy for adjudicators :wink: but come on, be fair!

Just for the record - I am a percussionist, but I started out as a euphonium player. Make of that what you will!

I haven't read the article in question, and I don't know who wrote it, but just to add to the discussion....

I was lucky enough in December to be selected for the D & M Wright NYBBGB Composition award, which took place in December at the RNCM.

The panel was varied between new and old faces of composing/arranging in banding. However, it was very dissapointing to hear the senior (in terms of age only - although he is a very well known composer) member of the panel, basically telling us (the 4 finalists) that percussion was a burden in banding. And that it was over used, and, in fact, his feelings seemed to be that it should be abloished, especially from the contest scene. Even worse, he then proceded to lecture us on the fact that timpani is a plural term, and it is incorrectly used to discribe a single 'kettle drum'.

I can't disagree more. I feel that it is ESSENTIAL. Percussion adds so much, in terms of colour, soundetc... It also provides you with the opportunity to give the brass players a rest, and to let them get some oxygen back into their chops!!!

Why do these kind of people say these sort of stupid things? They need to get a bit more of a grip on reality. It's not 1968 anymore.

Naomi McFadyen

New Member
I havent read the article... I think that these people who write these things aren't worth the bother really...

We had a job tonight down in Stroud and I had several people (all very very mature people... just to avoid the word old....... oopps) approach me afterwards saying how much they enjoyed the percussion and were asking about the various instruments we had on stage... enjoyed my 'crazy' kit playing.. and so on...

Says it all really...
Percussion is essential to banding... and ditto on what everyone else has said...

this person doesn't have good taste obviously :roll:


tMP Founder
Staff member
Tell you what folks... would I be being rude if I asked that together, maybe using this thread to agree on content, why don't ya all compose a reply to that letter, post it here and send a copy or link into the British Bandsman with reference to what you write here on tMP?

When tMP sends out Press Releases regarding new updates, interesteing features and fun competitions running on tMP, we always politely include the British Bandsman in our list, together with 4BR and The Brass Herald. The latter two always, without question, will print or post our article and we at tMP are very grateful to them for their support. We have never even heard back from the British Bandsman... :wink:

Just a thought, and it would help tMP yeah... :) :lol:


Its the same for me Naomi, after nearly every job we do I get people coming up saying they enjoyed the percussion and how it makes a difference, especially the kit playing in the rock/up beat numbers. This goes with the fact that a number of bands borrow me, and want me to join them, says it all really, bands don’t think we are a burden, they think we are a necessity.


TheMusicMan said:
Tell you what folks... would I be being rude if I asked that together, maybe using this thread to agree on content, why don't ya all compose a reply to that letter, post it here and send a copy or link into the British Bandsman

I have already sent a letter to BB, if it gets printed is another matter, but thanks to tMP we are at least able to express our feelings to what I feel is a masive brass band audience. Thank you tMP.com


tMP Founder
Staff member
drums4monty said:
thanks to tMP we are at least able to express our feelings to what I feel is a masive brass band audience. Thank you tMP.com

Hey no problem, that's why we are here... :lol: I hope your letter gets printed.

It would be nice if a gazillion letters appeared on the steps of BB though, all from us tMP'ers letting them know we do exist and we do have a voice eh! :wink: They seem to ignore anything we send them...


Active Member
TheMusicMan said:
maybe using this thread to agree on content, why don't ya all compose a reply to that letter

Why don't you get us started :wink: then we can all tweak it in our own little way so they dont appear as the same letter, then we can all individually email them to the Bandsman, then they will have to take note with numerous emails coming in... (all with a plug for tMP, naturally :lol: )

James McFadyen

New Member
I think there has been the occasional miss-use of percussion, personally. Percussion is one of those things where less is more is some cases. But to say percussion is a burden and/or a waste of time is not what I'd call a sensible approach to moving the band movement forward. These people are probably hymn-lovers! ;)

Personally, I use lots of percussion if given the chance!!! I love the tam-tam and timpani - my two fav percussion instruments!

I do think some composers take percusion too far sometimes which over powers the music in an over-charged frenzy of noise ;)

I say keep writing for percussion, but be sympathetic to the music.

3 Cheers for Percussion! :)

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