My first course with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain was extremely enjoyable. It took place at Uppingham School in Rutland over the Easter holidays and was conducted be the Bramwell Tovey. It was an amazing experience to spend time with other young people in rehearsals, during concerts as well as being able to make new friends during social events throughout the week.
As a percussionist, it was particularly worthwhile being able to be part of an experienced percussion team. I had the opportunity to play various instruments throughout the week-long course, tutored by Mark Landon. The music was very challenging and hard work but a lot of fun to play. One of the most difficult but interesting pieces was Dark Arteries, a new music score about the coal mining industry and the miners’ strike that took place 30 years ago. It involved a lot of unusual percussion instruments. My personal favourite pieces were Ballet for Band, Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret, and Wired.
The course culminated in 3 concerts that took place in Uppingham School, the University of Cambridge and the Barbican Hall in London, which was an amazing opportunity for us all. The soloists, Phillip Cobb and Peter Moore, are the principal trumpet and co-principal trombone players for the London Symphony Orchestra respectively.
As well as the music, the staff did a great job in organising social events for all the members of the band to participate in. These included a disco, a quiz night and an informal concert. It was a fun way to end each day after lots of intensive rehearsals beforehand.
Overall, I thought my first course was amazing and I can’t wait for the next one, which takes place in Derbyshire at the end of July 2017.