Development of Scottish Youth Band Festival 2018

Tuesday 3 July 2018

The Scottish Brass Band Association places long term youth player development and participation at its core as it brings a new progressive approach to its national Youth Brass Festival.

Scotland hopes to fly the flag with their progressive approach to youth competition

The Scottish Brass Band Association has announced a radical shake-up of its National Youth Brass Band Championships in a bid to further increase long term player development and participation — including a change of name to the Scottish Youth Brass Festival.

It follows feedback to SBBA from member bands and interested parties that found that the current age restrictions were hindering youngsters in being able to make successful transitions through the competition's different age structures.

Proactive approach

SBBA Education Officer, John Boax told 4BR: "SBBAs aim is to increase and maintain participation in banding at all levels, so we are always proactive in our approach to change.

Through discussion we've found that the young age group bands often found it difficult to 'move up a section' when some of their older players reached the age limit.

It meant that long term objectives to player development were sometimes stifled as the ensembles had to start all over again.

We want players to grow together, build communal support and friendships. These are core foundations stones to long term success and life-long participation in brass banding.

The competitive element remains central to the event, but it is framed within a progressive festival ethos."

Young Bands Section

4BR understands that the current categories of '12 and under', '14 and under' and '16 and under' will be replaced by an all-inclusive '16 and under' section, called a 'Young Bands Section'.

It will enable ensembles to choose their competitive level; 'Preparatory' — for the youngest, most inexperienced and smallest groups; 'Novice' — for more experienced junior bands and ensembles, and 'Development', for experienced youth set ups — but all within the one overall category.

This will be further enhanced at the event as the ensembles will be able to use 4 players aged over 16 to assist them in performing a 15-minute own-choice programme that will include one 'set-work' — but only if they wish.

Senior and Premier Sections

A new Senior Section for players '18 years and under', will be aimed at ensembles that have progressed further.

Their 20-minute programme of own-choice music must include a set-work, although the band can also utilise 4 'over-age' players up to the age of 22.

The final level will be the Premier Section for the most experienced bands. It will be open to ensembles with players up to the age of 22, and will also include a set-work in their 20 minute own-choice programmes.

We want players to grow together, build communal support and friendships. These are core foundations stones to long term success and life-long participation in brass banding

SBBA Education Officer, John BoaxT

More bands

As John Boax explained, the new set-up will hopefully encourage even more bands to compete.

"The ethos of the Young Bands Section in particular will be on-going development — as open adjudication will enable the judges to spotlight achievement, as well as elements to work on, in awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at their chosen level.

That's why the set-works will not be compulsory. It will give the young players a longer period of time to develop their skills and talents together."

Stronger competition element

He added: "However, the competitive element becomes stronger in the Senior Section, where the winning band can receive an invitation to compete in the European Youth Championships in Montreux, whilst this is reinforced further in the Premier Section, where the invitation will be made."

John concluded: "The overall ambition is to showcase a celebration of competitive youth performance, but with a core foundation of long term player development. We want the Youth Festival to become the first competitive step young players will take together in a lifetime of brass band music making."