Starting a brass group
Before starting a brass group in a School, the following conditions must be established:
- The brass group has the full support of the Governors and Head Teacher, with a commitment to contribute towards the running of the group e.g. with staff time and use of a suitable room.
- A Teacher has been designated to be involved in the running of the brass group (but not necessarily leading it). The Teacher need not have musical experience but it would help. They do not need to be able to play a brass instrument, but in this case they would be expected to learn alongside the children. Where appropriate, they will be encouraged to take part in training activities as part of their CPD.
- There is an experienced brass musician available to lead the brass group. If the leader is not a professional music tutor, then the leader shall be expected to undergo appropriate music education training and assessment (either before or in parallel to leading the group).
- The necessary instruments and other equipment is available and any additionally required funding has been obtained
Links to existing music education
- We will work with the Music Hub, Schools and music professionals working in the schools to link the brass groups to in-class music teaching and other existing out-of-school music groups, to maximise the learning experience for children.
- We will encourage Schools to maximise professional music provision within the school and include some brass teaching within it.
- However, we will not provide music teaching within the school curriculum. This should always be done by professional music tutors employed by the Schools or Music Hub.
- We may run “taster” sessions in school time or otherwise participate in music lessons and events, at the invitation of the school and with the support of any music professionals working in the school.
- We will not run a brass group where justifiable objections are raised by professional music educators employed by the Schools or Music Hub or by their representatives e.g. the Musician’s Union.
Brass Group membership
- Each brass group shall be open to all children in the year groups agreed with the School. We expect this to be within the years 4-8.
- We shall be guided by the School on any adjustments required to allow access for children with special educational needs.
- We shall be guided by the School on managing challenging behaviour.
- Children must have the written support of their parents/guardians to join the brass group.
- We shall require parents/guardians to sign for any equipment which is lent to the child to take home, before it is lent.
- We shall not charge for any child to attend the brass group, or for the loan of any equipment.
- Parents/Guardians and other family members will be welcome to attend the brass groups, either to observe or to participate and learn alongside the children, subject to availability of instruments etc.
Brass Group Programme
- The brass groups shall follow a broadly common programme and use shared resources to allow for interchange and joint events.
- We will use proven, available methods and resources wherever possible.
- The brass groups will attempt to develop the general musicality of the children, not just brass playing. E.g. through singing and percussion workshops.
- A variety of methods will be used reflecting the different ways that children learn, and also the different approaches and genres of music available to brass players e.g. playing from music and from ear; classical, jazz, pop etc.
- Performance will be built into the brass groups from the beginning, with every opportunity taken to showcase the children’s progress to the school, parents/guardians and wider community.
- Each brass group leader will be expected to develop and adapt the style and methods of delivery to suit the participants.
- Each brass group will hold regular reviews of progress and plans. These will involve the brass group leader, designated teacher and other volunteers, and be held at least once each half term. Each review meeting will provide a summary to the Head Teacher and Management Committee, who may also attend.
- We will develop ways to share good practice and feed this back into the common programme. This will include a joint review meeting or workshop for all the brass group leaders, designated teachers and other volunteers at least once a year.
Youth Brass bands
- We will seek to establish Youth Brass Bands in High Schools to allow the children to continue to play and develop after leaving Primary or Middle Schools
- This will be on a pyramid structure – we will first establish brass groups in feeder schools, and then the Youth Brass Band once the first children progress to High School.
- If it is not possible to establish the Youth Brass Band in a particular High School we will seek to find an alternative suitable venue.
- We will seek to open the Youth Brass Bands to children who have not attended a feeder brass group or who attend High Schools without a Youth Brass Band.
- The Youth Brass Bands will be led by a suitably qualified Musical Director with experience of brass bands.
- The Musical Director will be appointed by the Management Committee.
- The Youth Brass Bands will be developed in the brass band tradition. Band numbers and instrumentation will be flexible, but expected to include cornets, tenor and baritone horns, euphoniums, trombones and tubas, plus percussion
- We will look for opportunities for the children to play in other styles of music e.g. through smaller spin-off groups within the compass of North Tyneside Brass in Schools, or through other established musical ensembles outside the compass of North Tyneside Brass in Schools e.g. youth orchestras, wind bands, jazz bands etc.
- Individual tuition will not be provided.
- We may refer parents/guardians to sources of individual tuition but this will be provided independently.
- All volunteers must be registered with and approved by the Management Committee before working with children in a brass group or youth brass band.
- All volunteers must have enhanced DBS clearance before working with children in a brass group or youth brass band.
- Volunteers will be offered appropriate training and assessment but this will only be mandatory if the volunteer is leading a brass group.
- No volunteer will be allowed to lead any session in the absence of a member of the School staff.
- Volunteers shall give as much notice as possible to the brass group leader when they are unable to attend an activity that they are expected at.
- The brass group leader will give as much notice as possible to the School when an activity has to be cancelled e.g. due to lack of tutors. If at all possible this should be before the start of the School day.
- If a brass group is run after school and a session is cancelled, it will be the school’s responsibility to ensure that the children are looked after until collected by a parent/guardian.
- We will not directly employ any paid professionals.
- It is assumed that all professionals working for the project will either be self-employed and present invoices for payment, or will be employed through the Music Hub or Schools, who would then present invoices for payment as appropriate.
- Professionals and Volunteers may claim reasonable out of pocket expenses such as travel costs or refreshments where appropriate, subject to the agreed Financial Guidelines.
Organisation and Governance
We will establish effective governance and administrative structures and policies to ensure that:
- all brass groups and youth brass bands are well run;
- children’s welfare is safeguarded at all times;
- learning opportunities for and musical development of children is maximised;
- risks are identified and managed effectively;
- all equipment is registered, its current location known and is returned to the project when not in use;
- all funding and other money received is used effectively to help meet the aims of the project, and is managed according to strict financial guidelines.
- We will seek and welcome the support of other musicians, music groups and suitable volunteers within North Tyneside and further afield.
- We will encourage the establishment of support groups e.g. of parents/guardians to help raise funds for the projects we run.
- Any group making a significant contribution to our work will be invited to apply for Corporate Membership.