In April this year 30 primary school children from the Saff went to the National Youth Brass Band Championships in Warwick. Against the best bands in the country and with just a few months preparation they came home with the award for Band showing most potential. Quite an achievement. But it is only the start. This project is about pride, identity and the power of music to transform lives. A local action group has set itself the challenge to
a. make the band a community asset,
b. embed brass in the community,
c. raise the standard of playing through peer to peer learning and leadership and
d. celebrate diversity.
We are working with Marriott Primary School, who are providing premises, staffing and venue for the project, for 2 hours a week for 60 weeks!
What we'll deliver:
- To provide 60 new instruments by December 2018
- To provide uniforms for the players by April 2019
- To provide 30 Music Medal opportunities by June 2019
- To record a CD of band music by June 2019
Why it's a great idea:
This project started when Marriott Primary School decided to tackle under-achievement by offering brass playing to 3 whole year groups. There was some resistance at the start but soon the brass players won over the community. Over the last 3 years the children have shown musical skill and passion surpassing all expectations. Drum and Brass, the Leicestershire Schools Music Hub and Southfields Concert Brass Band have helped the school to form its own band. And now we are backing local families to set up a permanent youth band with a clear progression and youth leadership model. The Brass of the Saff is the only youth brass band in Leicester City. And it is about transforming lives, building confidence and generating pride and resilience. We are run by and for the local community and we actively promote young leadership, cultural diversity and strong local partnerships.
Steps to get it done:
- Set up management committee
- Launch the band
- Play our first concert
- Play at National Youth Brass Band Championships
Our first volunteer is a 16 year-old child care student. She volunteered to help out with the after-school band simply to pass the time while waiting for her brother. She felt it would be useful experience for her own career. She has since picked up an instrument and learned to play too. In just a year she has passed her Silver Music Medal and now coaches the cornet section in the band. She has blossomed into a capable and popular role model who inspires younger players.
Our latest volunteer used to be really quiet when she started playing. After a year in the band she has passed her Bronze Medal, performs in public with the band and is preparing her first solo. She has grown into a confident and valued player who is happy to support less experienced members. These are two of many similar stories of the transformational power of music. The Brass of the Saff is inclusive and supportive and while music is our core activity, wellbeing, pride and sense of community are our core aims.