Now Pennine have folded, who's next?

geordiecolin

Active Member
I also believe that primary school is an important time to try to create some interest, however one of my major problems is that most primary school children have had free lessons. When the parents (or usually just mother in my experience) have to find the cash to pay for music service provision, different priorities conflict and the new year 7 child does not continue.

Maybe this is an instance where the first/middle/high school model is more successful. By keeping kids away from the "big boys" until Year 9 there may be a greater oppurtunity for retention into High School?

Would be interesting to see if this was true.
 

leisa

Active Member
Maybe this is an instance where the first/middle/high school model is more successful. By keeping kids away from the "big boys" until Year 9 there may be a greater oppurtunity for retention into High School?

Would be interesting to see if this was true.


You Geordies love your middle schools don't you! ;)

I can see your point though
 

Leyfy

Active Member
I agree with everything that Nicola said. I also have found it extremely difficult to establish more than a few traditional instrumentalists at my high school. Guitarists, drummers, singers and to an extent keyboard players are no problem as these are seen as cool.
I also believe that primary school is an important time to try to create some interest, however one of my major problems is that most primary school children have had free lessons. When the parents (or usually just mother in my experience) have to find the cash to pay for music service provision, different priorities conflict and the new year 7 child does not continue.

Yes, that and many primary school teachers don't have a clue about Music, so unless the school buys in a specialist to teach them, there is going to no real 'push' on the instrumental side.

Essex runs a voucher scheme, so low-income families get the majority of their tuition paid for, but I don't know how many Music services provide this. I'm not convinced music lessons are free in Essex either - I think it depends on the school.

I worked in a school 5/6 years ago that was in quite a deprived area of London. The Head of Music used to spend his entire years budget paying for instrumental lessons (only on traditional orchestral instruments) for Gifted and Talented pupils. He'd then take the pupils and create an orchestra, and the orchestra would raise money for the department. If the kids stopped turning up to lessons, then the payments stopped. Crazy idea, but it worked for him. Also, because it was seens as a 'failing' school a few years previous to that (its not any more) there was a lot of money floating around.
 

leisa

Active Member
Cleckheaton has middle schools...though in 2 years time they will go and be replaced with the more 'modern' approach!!!


yeah, actually as does grange moor atm but apparently they are stopping that soon cos there was some sort of protest about it last week
 

tubafran

Active Member
Hope this isnt too off topic but our training band recruited some local youngsters who had been loaned some of our old instruments, plus some others who were keen to learn. We got up to about 18 but it's currently down to 12 and it's difficult to maintain the enthusiasm - I have massive respect for the comments above from those people that are dedicating their time to bring on numerous learners and training bands :clap:.

Now here's an interesting take on schools and instruments - our local junior school has just received 66 brand new brass instruments and these have been given to one years group of students (not sure which age) and they have received 33 trumpets and 33 trombones - the mind boggles what they will sound like as a group. I think they all get free tuition for a year.

It jsut seemed a very odd mix of instruments to my way of thinking why not a few horns, or baritones to at least give it a chance to do some group work?

At the end of a year the instruments revert to the next years group and any youngsters that want to contuinue have to purchase/lease their own instrument and pay for the lessons.
 
hmmm interesting post Fran. You've got me thinking....

I don't think a year is enough for a child to work out whether they want to pursue learning an instrument, and the lack of variety is definitely strange.

The thought that's struck me is maybe youth and training bands should approach all local schools and raise profile that instruments are provided with membership..... this would save parents having to buy or lease (at least for a short period anyway). And also give a better mix of instruments.

Obviously on top of this, the kids get an insite into the enjoyment of playing in a proper group.
 

cornetdom

Member
Anybody who is interested in still playing an instrument there are vacancies at Queensbury Music Centre based in queensbury.Then contact me or reply to this message if you want to know more
 

johnmartin

Active Member
As I mentioned previously in this thread its a pity to see a successful band like Pennine folding but at least lower section bands seem prepared to fight for survival. One only has to look at recent threads regarding Audley, Ruthin Town band and Blackley to see that all is not doom and gloom in brass banding.
 
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JohnnyEuph

Member
Really sad to hear about Pennine packing up. I played there in 02/03, the year the band won the senior trophy and I have always held very fond memories of the band and the players. Mr Porthouse really had the band spellbound as I remember, and sometimes there was an almost surreal buzz in the bandroom. Definitely something I'll never forget.
 

4thmandown

Member
the majority of students who carried on playing after school and further than year 9 infact was miniscule and one of the factors of that was unfortunatly peer pressure, ...its a fact of many schools.

I think that's a little bit of a generalisation to be quite honest. Kids - and to a certain degree adults - inhabit a world in which there are so many distractions and activities, many of which provide "instant gratification", e.g. computer games and TV. Learning a musical instrument, other than through the medium of music technology requires a lot of dedication and a lot of sacrifice. The number of kids and adults that go for the easy option in entertainment or hobbies is very much in the majority, and always will be. Yet we shouldn't feel morally superior about this just because we stuck with it.

It's very similar with sport to any sort of competitive level. The drop-out rate at my hockey club is phenomenal after the age of 14, but we persist with it for the 10% that stick with us. We now have a very young 1st XI that are climbing the leagues again and the old fossils like me can drop down to the lower sides and nurture the next lot of kids.

All of my contempories who started in the band at the same time as me (15 in number I think) failed to make it past the age of 14. I really resented my dad for making me go to band and do my practice, but I eventually got through that stage and it has been well worth it, for all the experiences I have had and the people I've met.

Peer pressure was certainly there, but I don't think that was the major cause of my contempories dropping out. There were other things like Saturday jobs - still the same nowadays

There is no "quick fix" to getting kids involved in brass bands, or musical groups within schools, and retaining them in any sort of numbers, but there's no point getting despondent or frustrated about it, just keep up the good work everybody and be thankful that there are a lot of people who give so much of themselves in order to preserve this vital part of our country's heritage.
 
To add to what 4thmandown has said, many of the kids that give up eventually have kids of their own. If they played brass instruments, they are likely to encourage their kids to do so.

Many parents then take it back up themselves and it becomes a family hobby.

I had given up most forms of organised music making including lessons by the age of 16 as puberty and "real life" intervened.

I took it back up again 5 years ago when my eldest son started learning. I have made sure that my sons have reached a level whilst they are still young and enthusiastic (and willing to be seen out with their Mum in funny jackets) that should they want to give up (and I hope they don't) they have enough skills to pick it up again years later.

In lower section bands, there are lots of people with similar stories to mine.
 

markyboy

Member
Really sad to hear about Pennine packing up. I played there in 02/03, the year the band won the senior trophy and I have always held very fond memories of the band and the players. Mr Porthouse really had the band spellbound as I remember, and sometimes there was an almost surreal buzz in the bandroom. Definitely something I'll never forget.


Thanks John , you were a very much valued memeber of Pennine as co Principal Euph .
IP had enough faith in your ability to move you up onto solo seat when Foxy was away and you always did yourself ( and the band proud ) .

All the best , Mark .
 

andyfake

Member
Word is a Sheffield 1st/Championship section band may not survive past Pontins...

I'm not surprised if they play in two sections - they must be knackered!
Seriously though, not very helpful speculation to spoil a very constructive thread with!
 

Willie Webster

New Member
As I mentioned previously in this thread its a pity to see a successful band like Pennine folding but at least lower section bands seem prepared to fight for survival. One only has to look at recent threads regarding Audley, Ruthin Town band and Blackley to see that all is not doom and gloom in brass banding.

Again, Mr Martin has had a liitle dig about 'lower section bands being prepared to fight for survival'
For your information, we somehow survived for nearly ten years, from the first rehearsal to the last one. We were not a 'village band' or one with a long history.
It was a band formed by a few mates initially, that somehow charged up the rankings to compete in the top section for the vast majority of the ten years.
We never had a penny of funding, no cash injections from outside sources, no grants or sponsorship (although not for the lack of trying).
The players even bought their own uniforms and then donated them to the band.
This wasn't an easy decision but when you are looking for 12 deps every week ( and these need to be high quality deps, for high quality engagements- not cheap nowadays), there is a time when you have to face up to harsh reality.
So to Mr. Martin ( who appears to have written the only snide comments we have had; all the rest have been really kind and positive), I hope you never have to face the decision that faced Pennine in the last weeks, as I don't think you would recognise harsh reality if it slapped you in the face.

Cheers
Willie
 
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