'Retired' players


Active Member
Discussing with Mr. Thorne the other day about 'retired' players or players who have given up for one reason or another. There appears to be quite a lot of these people in our locality alone (so I presume that it's a similar situation everywhere).

As there seems to be a shortage of brass players nationally (or at least brass players who want to play in a brass band), does anyone have any bright ideas on how to tempt these players back into playing again?? It would seem to be a largely untapped resource and one that if it could be used would help out many bands in the country.

Your thoughts please.

The band has to make it interesting and attractive to play in.......slogging away at test piece after test piece when the back row are unable to get their act together until possibly the last rehearsal makes rehearsals frustrating to say the least. Since retiring after the Weston contest last year I continue to play trumpet in two big bands and get to play my flugel weekly in a brass band which is unable to field enough players to compete. Believe me I'm quite happy with my lot. Commitment is everything....players should be made to understand that rehearsals are not practice nights!! By the way I'm 66 and still "practice" daily!! :oops: :bounce :hammer


Well-Known Member
Alan - Good for you mate - you have my complete admiration.
I'm 58 and was thinking of packing up simply because I thought it was time to step aside and get some young blood in the band.
I'm pretty competent in covering my part and doing the job (not as well as 20 years ago I'll grant you !!)
I was a professional for 33 years and had a great time - but banding called me back after an 18 year absence and I love it.
Perhaps I should tell the band to look out for a promising youngster to replace me, and perhaps I would move down a section - Mind you - looking at our Area placing we might all be moving down a section !!!!!
In the last couple of years we've dragged 3 players out of retirement who hadn't played for 15-20 years. Solo horn, 'solo' cornet and second cornet. We have also revived a bass player who's ''getting on a bit!''.

Often peoples reasons for giving up no longer apply but they don't necessarily think of getting back to it unless they are asked.

Hunt them down and convince them that it's what they want to do :lol:


Staff member
One of our bass players who retired several years ago has just recently decided to rejoin the band, having helped out occasionally with carolling or with the YP band. As he was a member of the worshipping congregation he has normally been around and available to call on in the meantime, which has obviously made that transition easier.

In coming back, particularly as he is now that bit older, it is on the understanding that there will be some activities he will not be able to take part in - marching etc - and he also has family health concerns to take into account, but we are very happy to have him with us as and when he can make it.

One possible idea to attract former players back would be to hold an open rehearsal, with specific invitations sent out, and maybe with refreshments and socialising at the end.

Old Hornblower

New Member
Retired players

Peter in particular will know that SA Bands are particularly demanding of time - weekends, and week nights. It will take a considerable change of attitude to accept that people will come when they can.

The Fellowship Bands have it right. Rehearsals once a fortnight and a couple of engagements each term, except at Christmas when there are a number of extras - for small groups.

From my very limited experience,so far, of playing in one, there is no diminution of expectation of commitment nor to practice nor rehearsal. A good standard is sought and it is worthwhile belonging.

Retired people can more easily cope with this level of involvement: those with families who want to spend time with them at weekends have the possibility of doing so without the necessity to explain to a "leader" why one is going to be absent from the morning meeting or the open air!

Maybe the Veteran and fellowship Bands that are springing up will provide opportunities for people to return to playing, especially the citizens of the 3rd Age!
Hornblower RN said:
The band has to make it interesting and attractive to play in.......slogging away at test piece after test piece when the back row are unable to get their act together until possibly the last rehearsal makes rehearsals frustrating to say the least..........

Damn it whats this, Weekly "Pick on the back row night" is Mondays thank you very much! :lol: :p
Kernewek Den said:
Often peoples reasons for giving up no longer apply but they don't necessarily think of getting back to it unless they are asked.

Hunt them down and convince them that it's what they want to do :lol:

Fully agree :D
I was 'retired' for several years before returning to the fold. Primarily, I gave up becuase I was playing in a top section band and I could not commit to all of the rehearsals, gigs and all my family and work commitments. I was persueded back by bottyburp who now has the view that band comes after family and work.

We have now managed to also bring two other 'retired' players back (who played for my same previous band) and who are now both pleased to be back
Get the band to provide a creche (proper dedicated childcare facility) during rehearsals - well that's a way to get the parenting players back (or stop them from going in the first place)!
Seems to me that Phillip McCann and Daivd King seem to be setting the trend. Might give the idea to tempt other 'retired' players back out from the woodwork, will have to wait and see!!


What an interesting topic.

I was persuaded to play again after 38 years absence, and at 60 can say that, although I will never be a star or play competent solos, I can add a note or two to the baritone section.

I have no ambition to go contesting, preferring to play for the local community, who are probably far more appreciative of my (our) efforts than a contest judge.

But now I have been coerced (well actually willingly coerced) into acting as Band Secretary for two bands, I would also like to know how to persuade retired players to return to the fold!

I guess that with the apparent lack of self discipline from some sections of society, it will become increasingly difficult to both recruit and retain brass players. At the end of the day it comes down to committment..... :D

Alan Lafferty
Bude Metric Brass
St Gennys Silver Band


Fred Muscroft is still going - plays top cornet for Driffield Silver Band. Turned 80 last year. Former top man at Imps, then second to Graham Walker. His comment was he will never retire from banding, but retired from contesting. or is that an entirely different debate?!

George BB

Having retired from full time work last year, I made a resolution to practice at home. (Broke it) Anyway it seems I'm fairly safe on my seat as no one else is willing to play the beast, or carry it.
I just hope for reincarnation, when I can try again as a piccolo player.


Well-Known Member
Fred Muscroft - what a man, what a player.
He very kindly allowed himself to be pursuaded to help out our cornet section at the 2001 Area on "The Undaunted" - solid as rock and twice as reliable.
I was at Imps with Fred for 8 years and he was a great servant to the band - he should receive some kind of award in recognition of his service to banding - long may he keep blowing on that bloody old mouthpiece which only bears the barest trace of the original silver plate - Viva Fred !!!!

- Ian Wilkinson
2nd EEb
Kippax Band
Retired players

Having been involved in banding for 38 years it's difficult to "give it up". Banding is in my blood - the sound of brass in full flow is addictive! However, politics in bands, contesting (have had the usual mixture of played well - result rubbish: played badly - won a prize! - and just occasionally played well: won prize!) and general apathy from those around has meant that I have played my final note! :( Unless you can convince me otherwise!! I want to entertain the public, encourage young players to take up this wonderful hobby, raise money for charity and mostly enjoy myself! :lol: I haven't touched my instrument since Christmas - at first I was getting withdrawal symptons - but now I realise that there is a life outside brass bands! I still can't resist looking at this forum though!


A common statement in the Fife, Scotland area is that bands concentrate too much on contests and people do not want to spend all of their time "slogging" at one or two pieces. However, when concerts are arranged the turn-out is poor and it becomes difficult to cover costs.
What's the answer - I don't know. I am trying to get interest back to concerts for the summer and autumn and get that mixture back into the band but it is a difficult one.

Recently, someone in fife did a quick survey and found over 30 brass players who are sitting at home for one reason and another. That is a whole band and yet some of the bands are struggling to get 25 blowers.

Banding to me, whether blowing or conducting is my hobby. I try to make it fun, interesting and a social event as well as trying to do well at contests. It's not easy though is it?

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