For those who can already play a C Major scale the Training Band offers the chance to play more complex pieces than the beginners group giving players the opportunity to improve their technique and musical understanding and even begin playing in public.
We meet at the Wortham Hall, Mount Kelly College, Tavistock, PL19 9 JL. Our Musical Director Peter Jones takes rehearsals in term time, between 6pm and 7.15pm, on Wednesday evenings. When possible we continue outside of term times.
"The training band is important to me because our conductor is inspiring and tells us important things like “It is just a metal tube. You are the instrument.” And “Don’t worry about making mistakes. That’s how we learn.”. I also feel more confident about asking questions such as the meaning of ‘sf’ in my music.
I was learning the alto trombone before joining the band and have been able to move on to the bigger bass trombone. I am working on Grade 3 on the trombone. The band has also let me borrow a baritone and I got to skip straight to learning for grade 2 because I felt more confident with the music even though a baritone has valves and a trombone has a slide.
Everyone in the band is lovely and age doesn’t matter. We always have a laugh. It’s about picking up an instrument and having fun. I really enjoy doing shows with the band, especially when I have the tune. We don’t do shows right now because we don’t have a lot of people but we help the main band and they come to help us practice which I like. Hopefully we will soon have more people joining us and we can do shows again". Eilidh.
The band can offer an instrument on loan to anyone from the age of 6 upwards (no upper age limit!) who would like to learn how to play an instrument, how to read music, and wants to improve their playing and progress within the band.
Regular attendance at rehearsals is necessary. Some practise time at home is also required. Players who have an instrument on loan from the band are expected to clean and take care of it. Instruments, sheet music and uniform items remain the property of the band and should be returned if a member leaves.
Training band is conducted by Pete Jones with experienced players giving assistance. Helpers are DBS checked and are made aware of the band’s child protection policy. Judi is the officer who deals with any concerns.
"Joining the band has been an amazing experience which encourages all people, young and old, to start playing a brass instrument. Over the years we have invested in some new pieces including The Golden Fleece and The Journal of Phileas Fogg which are awesome pieces to play! Last year the band bought me a brand new baritone horn and now I have upgraded to a fabulous £3500 euphonium which is a joy to play and I am able to play it at school and other bands. Joining Stannary Brass Band has resulted in me making some amazing friends and playing some incredible pieces of music that are enjoyable as well as providing a learning experience." Maddy
Performances take place from time to time. Our training band has played at the Bere Alston Fun Day and Mary Tavy Village Fayre and have also played carols in St. Eustachius Church, Tavistock before the main band’s concert.
The training band has a representative who reports to the committee: currently vacant. We have helped young people to achieve qualifications such as their Duke of Edinburgh awards by enabling them to mentor players in the training band or gain some experience in conducting. Young players are encouraged to join the Devon Youth Brass Band and further their musical education.
Stannary Brass Band is also public learning destination for The Children’s University.
Whenever a training band member feels they are ready, they are welcome to sit in with the main band to learn to follow the music and play whatever they are able to. Just tell Charles, Maddy or Peter when you feel ready to do this. Peter will tell you when he thinks you are ready to join the main band permanently.
"As I had never persisted with any musical training I didn’t think I would ever play with a band but I was warmly welcomed into the training band and given the encouragement to progress. Though still a very basic player I now play with the main band and have derived a huge amount of satisfaction both from playing and helping young players taking their first steps in music." Alison.
In-house workshops are held from time to time. Members who attended the 2015 SWBBA workshop were asked to pass on 3 top tips to their bands. They are: POSTURE, PREPARATION and PRACTISE. Attention to these three will improve our playing.