St Austell Town Band - Youth Band Recruitment | Brass Bands England

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St Austell Town Band - Youth Band Recruitment


Support from the Norman Jones Trust allowed Anna Minear from St Austell Town Band to reach out to young people, taking banding into schools and inspiring them to want to join a local brass band. The aim of the project was to recruit more young brass and percussion players in Mid-Cornwall with a particular focus on the St Austell Youth & Junior Band, and the Lostwithiel Training Band.

Anna Minear led the project. Here she shares with us the impact it had.

Impact from Project

In my opinion, the impact has been massive. I managed to reach out to seven primary schools giving over 200 children the opportunity to be inspired. At each school, I made sure that information was available on opportunities for the young people to further their playing with lessons or join beginner brass bands.

I don't have the exact figures of how many there were, however at the Bugle Band Contest in June, lots of pupils who I'd taught at various schools came up to speak to me as they had joined either St Dennis Training Band and I know that several had joined my own training band. 

The impact on how my band at St Austell benefitted was that we were able to attend the Bugle Band Contest in June as we recruited new players to boost important positions. Post-Covid and actually for several years before Covid the Youth Band had no trombone players but now since this project we have three young trombonists coming through. We had just one tenor horn post-Covid but now we have a beginner and we also have the mum of the beginner who asked to learn alongside her daughter! (The 5 year old brother has also started learning cornet). There is a young lad on euphonium who started from the project of taking the music to the schools (plus his dad has also now joined the senior band as contact was made through the school project). Interestingly, the knock-on has also been now that where parents are seeing other parents taking up an instrument, more of them are also asking to learn alongside their children which is great.

One lad had moved to Cornwall with his mum and sister to start a new life following the death of his dad. The lad wasn't communicating much with anyone his own age and didn't have a hobby. The impact of my going into the school gave him a focus, he really took to it and is now in the band. In school, he is communicating more with people, during the time I went into his school his confidence grew and grew and he was the one wanting to demonstrate things to everyone and play solos. He has now decided he wants to become a musician in the Royal Marines and that's his focus.

Achievements from Project

The funding from Norman Jones Trust allowed me as a teacher to go out into the schools teaching whole classes of children. Due to some further support from Cornwall Music Education Hub the sessions were able to run for almost three terms, which enabled so many children to access the inspirational sessions and really get to grips with playing the instruments.

The plan is to continue reaching out to the schools as much as possible, and where possible find opportunities for the musicians within the schools to be inspired by other bands. I now have a new role in North Cornwall as Community and Primary School Engagement Lead, so my plans include working with brass bands in the north of Cornwall to try and offer some inspirational opportunities in that area. Work in Mid Cornwall will continue where possible with Funding from ASONE Cornwall Music Education Hub and use First Access Funding. I'm also now a trustee with Cornwall Youth Brass Band so I'm hoping to pass on some ideas to the CYBB and keep inspiring as much as possible throughout the county.

The funding certainly kickstarted everything back happening again - it was difficult post-covid as funds were lacking, we hadn't been out performing to inspire, and schools hadn't been allowing any teachers into schools. The funding came at the right time as schools seemed to really be looking for musical opportunities and the bands needed new young players to take up playing. We have made a great start and we're really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the band and everyone in it.

Find out more about St Austell Town Band

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Photo credit Tom Last Photography