What we are about
The Youth Band is a progressive and inclusive youth organisation championing innovation and diversity. We accept players aged 13 to 18 who are of a Grade 8 standard or equivalent. The 2023 fee for each residential course (one is held at Easter and one in the Summer), which includes all tuition, accommodation and food is £650 (bursaries are also available).
Our aim is to improve young people’s musicianship and expand their horizons.
Expand your horizons
The Youth Band is for young people aged 13 and above who play at a Grade 8 standard or above. The Youth Band plays some demanding brass band music designed to challenge and develop the musical skills of our members. The Youth Band meets twice per year for residential courses, at Easter and in the summer. Every year the Youth Band commissions new pieces which are studied and performed during our courses. Members benefit from tuition by our world-leading instrumental tutors and perform alongside outstanding soloists. The band is conducted by high-calibre conductors from brass band and orchestral backgrounds. We also employ an exceptional team of pastoral care staff who provide support to our young members throughout the courses.
Auditions are free. You may apply for an audition through our website anytime between 1st May and 31st July.
Auditions are held at several centres across the UK during the Autumn term.
We will agree the exact time, date and location of your audition with you by the end of August. We prefer auditions to be face to face, however we can offer an online audition to anyone who finds getting to an audition centre difficult because of distance or mobility issues (please contact us to discuss this further).
We will let you know the outcome of your audition by the third week of December.
If you are a member of the Children’s Band looking to audition for the Youth Band we may be able to audition you on the summer course so please apply in good time.
There is no set list of pieces but we ask that you choose contrasting music that can show off your skills both technically and musically. If you are working on grade exams some of the music for these may be a good place to start. Always ask your teacher for some advice too.
You are not expected to be in full concert dress for the audition but a smart look always give a good impression. Above all make sure you are comfortable.
The invigilator’s primary purpose is to ensure that the audition is conducted in an appropriate manner in line with the set criteria. Key responsibilities of the invigilator are:
1. To ensure that there is no malpractice during the audition.
2. To ensure that the audition is carried out in line with the specified criteria. 3. To ensure any reasonable adjustments to the audition room to meet the requirements of the candidate.
4. To provide support to the candidate where necessary should an emergency arise e.g. sickness, fire evacuation.
5. To answer any queries that a candidate may have about the audition process and to explain what the examiner may be doing whilst they are playing e.g. looking at their phone or laptop for the purposes of marking and note taking, and to generally put the candidate at ease.
6. To ensure the safety and well being of the candidate throughout the audition.
When you are recording your pieces try and go for them in one take. If you make a mistake carry on until the end and then decide if you would like to record the whole piece again. Please do not edit together small sections to make it look like you have played the piece perfectly as this does not give a full reflection of your playing and we can spot the join! For the audio it is better not to stand too close to the device you are using to video and do not point your bell directly at the microphone as this can cause some distortion.
If you are not successful in getting a place in the band please do not be disheartened. The feedback you receive from the tutors on the day and in the email will give you some idea of what you need to work on. You will always be able to audition again as long as you are still in the age range for the band. If you are unhappy with the audition process you may appeal, you can find out how to do this in the information pack.
To ensure fairness and consistency our auditions are undertaken by an independent specialist brass examiner and an invigilator (one male and one female). If you feel that the outcome of the audition is wrong or unjust you should appeal in writing, stating your full grounds of appeal, to the Director of Artistic Planning, Dr. Robert Childs, within one week of the date on which you were informed of the decision. Once the Director of Artistic Planning has considered your appeal, he will contact you to arrange a time to discuss his findings and decision. This will normally be within seven days after we receive the written notice. If you raise any new matters, we may need to carry out further investigation. On completion of any investigation the Director of Artistic Planning will contact you to arrange a time to discuss his findings. This will normally be within seven days. The Director of Artistic Planning will either
● confirm the original decision of the assessors;
● confirm the original decision of the assessors with qualification;
● revoke the original decision of the assessors;
His decision is final and will, together with his reasons, be sent to you (and the Chief Executive Officer for information).
Audition for the Youth Band
Applicants should be 12 to 18 years on the 1st April following the audition and of approximately Grade 8 standard (you are not required to have passed the exam just play to the standard).
● Two short contrasting pieces (one fast and technical, the other slow and lyrical)
To perform two contrasting pieces of approximately Grade 8 standard. Percussionists are asked to perform one piece on tuned percussion and one on either snare drum, drum kit or timpani.
To prepare and play from memory, five major, four minor and a two-octave chromatic scale. Which scales are prepared is the candidate’s choice. You may not be asked to play all the scales prepared.
● Sight Reading
The assessor will give you a short piece of music to sight read.
Your audition will be marked out of 100. Each piece will be marked out of 40, your scales and sight reading will each be marked out of 10. The minimum pass mark is 50, 70 marks will attract a pass with merit and 90 marks a pass with distinction. If you have any questions relating to these criteria, please email our Director of Artistic Planning: [email protected].
Auditions will normally be in person
You will be sent a time to arrive at the venue which gives you plenty of time to warm up for your audition. You will be met by a member of the NYBBGB team and shown where to go to get ready for the audition.
Your audition will be with two people (one male, one female) – a specialist brass (or percussion) examiner and an invigilator. At the allotted time you will be asked to play for those carrying out the audition. The examiner and invigilator will likely be one of the many section tutors that we use for our courses, and they will be able to assess if you are ready to be a member of the band. When you have played both your pieces, you will be asked to play some scales of your choice and then asked to play a short piece of music that you will have not seen before. This is called sight-reading and will be of a relevant standard and not too difficult.
After playing you will have a chance to ask the examiner and invigilator questions about the Youth Band. They will not be able to tell you if you have been successful or not but may give you some tips about your playing.
After your audition is finished you can also chat with a member of the NYBBGB team who met you at the start to ask for more details about the Youth Band.
As part of the audition, you will be asked to stay for a workshop that will be led by one of the tutors carrying out the auditions. This workshop will be a chance for you to play your instrument again with the other young people who have auditioned that day and will give you more valuable tips about your playing.
After the audition you will receive an email that will let you know how you did. This email will tell you whether you passed, passed with merit or passed with distinction and include feedback on how you performed together with helpful tips on your playing. You will be informed if you have met the overall standard required to be in the band. If you meet the standard, then hopefully you will automatically be offered a place in the band, sometimes however there are no vacancies for your particular instrument and you may be put on the ‘waiting-list’, but we do try and offer everyone a place if we can. Sometimes, (especially if you are quite young) we will ask you to re-audition the following year to try and improve your position on the ‘waiting-list’.
In certain circumstances, for example if you live a long way from our audition centres or if you have mobility issues, we can offer an online audition. You will be asked to provide, in advance, video recordings of your two pieces, so that they can be assessed as if you were in the room. You will then be asked to sign up for an online meeting which will consist of you the scales and the sight-reading element of the audition.