Learning to play an instrument, any instrument, is a very rewarding experience and something that you can keep with you throughout your life. It can be just a hobby to keep yourself amused or it can be taken further to entertain family, friends or even whole audiences. You can play alone as a soloist or we feel it is even more rewarding is to be a part of a larger group like an orchestra or a band, such as Knottingley concert brass.
KCB lives in the very heart of the brass band area of the country. Even though many of the coal mines have now closed down, taking their own brass bands with them, we are doing our bit to keep the wonderful heritage of brass band performing alive and well within the area. To this end we perform many concerts each year, and to ensure that brass band music will be able to be heard into the foreseeable future, we also provide brass instrument training for young and old alike and for people of all abilities from absolute beginner to experienced players who want to improve their techniques still further.
It is never too late to start to learn music, but it is certainly preferential for you to start as early as possible. The younger mind has been shown to learn much more easily and quicker than a more mature mind. But don't let age put you off from learning.
However, as far as a brass instrument goes, it is not always the best instrument to play. Playing such and instrument is stressful on the body, it takes a lot of effort to perform a two hour concert, for example. Because of the efforts required, it is not always the most suitable instrument for people suffering with severe chest conditions for example. Also, it is not advisable to start playing a brass instrument before about the age of 8 years old. This is both because of the stresses on the young body can be too much and because the embrasure (mouth shape) is not developed enough for a brass instrument before this age. You should, however, not let youthfulness from putting you off from learning on a less stressful instrument (such as the recorder) because the lessons learned on a different instrument can certainly be brought forward to the brass band world once you are old enough and your body has developed enough.
Most Saturday mornings, we run beginner lessons at the Central Methodist Church in Pontefract. Graham and several of the concert band members give up their Saturday mornings to give individual one-on-one tuition to the students of all abilities, and since 2006 there are regular "Beginner's Band" sessions where the beginners all get together to perform as a band in their own right, supported and encouraged by the experienced players. These Beginner's Band sessions are always full of fun and entertainment, and have been shown to help progress the individual student as well as introduce them into a band environment, where they learn to help and respect other members of the group.
When confident enough, and have reached a certain level, students will be offered the chance to attend before the start of the main rehearsal session on Monday evenings if they want to. No pressure is put on the student to do this however. Here they will be supported by more main band members and introduced into the main band environment. This has been demonstrated to be very beneficial for the beginners in almost all cases. The students may also continue to sit in once the main band starts its normal Monday rehearsal session. We don't put any pressure on them at this time, but it is surprising just how much good contribution is made to the main band by the students who do decide to stay on a bit longer. During these sessions, full pieces of music are worked on throughout the year, not just the basics of music and technique. At our two main concerts of the year (Patrons' Concert and Christmas Concert), we often feature the beginners group of players (still supported by their main band members) playing various pieces of music, which has become a very popular part of our concerts in recent years.
Places with the Saturday beginner lessons are restricted, unfortunately, as they are dependant on available time slots and people's availablability to give the tuition. Therefore advance booking is always necessary. Please contact the band to make your booking, obtain a start date and receive your time slot.
Full band members are welcome to the Saturday morning sessions, as are other experienced players, to either improve their own techniques and/or to pass on skills to others.
There is a small fee for people attending these sessions, payable at each lesson. But this is far less than the usual charge for ordinary music lessons. The money actually goes towards the purchasing of new music suitable for beginners and improvers or other training equipment for the beginners, not as payment to the people providing the tuition, because they all give up their precious time for free.