Want to talk?
4BR checks out a new and exciting "Discussion Forum" on
the web called "The Mouthpiece" and finds that it caters
for brass band lovers of any shape and form.
It also has the added bonus of being run by people who have a love
of the banding world and the technical knowlege to stop the idiots
from spoiling it.
Setting up a web-based business to cater for people with a love
for brass bands can be a fraught experience (the 4BR team now looks
more haggard and grey than belies our ages). From what we’ve
heard though there seems to be something of an insatiable appetite
to discuss, argue, encourage and generally chat about our hobby
and passion, and so we were interested to find out more about something
new and exciting that is stirring in the internet banding community.
Catering for those people out there who wish to air their opinions
is one heck of a responsibility, but we at 4BR were delighted to
come across a discussion forum that caters for brass band lovers,
and which has the added bonus of being run by people with brass
banding at heart and a knowledge of how to administer and control
a potentially volatile medium.
It is called www.themouthpiece.com
and so, if you ever wanted to have your say on how the results of
a particular competition were placed, or have thought that an adjudicator
was a few sandwiches short of a picnic given the comments you received
in your recent adjudication? Or, are you simply looking for an old
banding friend long lost somewhere in the past who you would dearly
like to get back in touch with, this is one place to go and visit
4BR has its own comments page, but for those of you who wish to
put opinions to keyboard to generate threads of discussion and to
generate ongoing immediacy to discussions and topics this is a very
good place to start.
The idea for theMouthPiece.com was thought up by chap from Newport
in South Wales, John Burns. (The Welsh get all the best ideas!!).
John has been involved in banding for many years as a player and
conductor and though no longer with them has recently brought the
Cwmbran Band from the brink of the 4th Section into the 2nd section.
When we spoke to John he told us “I recognised there was a
requirement for an online banding community, a niche existed at
the time, and I simply thought to myself… why not, let’s
have a go and see how it goes!” So, in late November 2002,
tMP was born.
The popularity of the site has taken John by surprise, but he feels
it shows how much passion there is out there for brass banding and
all it foibles, rumours and hot topics “I genuinely anticipated
maybe 5,000 ‘hits’ and a few hundred articles within
my first year” he said. “I simply can’t believe
how far out these estimates are. (The site now has over 1000 members)
I’m very grateful to the folks who are already members of
tMP for making it what it is right now. I just provide the means;
all our members provide the content”.
theMouthPiece.com is actually a dynamic, forum based website where
all the content contained within it is provided by the viewer. One
simply needs to register details such as e-mail address and viewing
preferences, choose your online alias [name] and a secure password,
and you’re ready to go – you’re then able to submit
your own articles and reply to existing topics and threads.
4BR are aware that websites such as these are sometimes open to
malicious, defamatory or inappropriate material and need careful
management but it seems that John has this covered extremely well.
John says, “As tMP grew, I found myself simply not having
the time to check and look at all the posts and questions that had
been submitted – I needed to find some people who were willing
to give some of their time and become tMP Moderators for me. I have
been extremely lucky to have found four fantastic banding enthusiasts
who loved their initial experiences of tMP and each agreed to be
Moderators and become part of the tMP team”, they are:
Roger Thorne from Shrewsbury. Roger is MD of the successful Wem
Jubilee Band from Shropshire and is the owner of the successful
Thornes Music Publishing.
Rachel Langridge is a teacher and cornet player from Nottingham
who has recently taken up a teaching post at Smithills School in
Bolton. Rachel also plays cornet for Flixton Brass
Ian Fishwick is a member of Lostock Hall Memorial Band from Preston
and plays either Trombone or Euph.
Neal O’Kennedy is Principal Cornet player with Dungarvan Band
in Eire. Neal works as a Software Developer and is fast becoming
the technical guru on tMP!
The site is growing rapidly and they are always on the lookout
for additional support and help, maybe even additional Moderators
sometime soon. So, if you’re interested in helping out and
would like you’re your name included on the list, drop an
e-mail to email@example.com.
John takes the management of theMouthPiece.com very seriously indeed.
As well as holding regular online discussions, all of theMouthPiece.com
Moderators meet up regularly, usually once every 5 to 6 weeks either
face-to-face or via teleconference for review sessions to discuss
current issues etc. John mandates that tMP is run in a family friendly
manner and there are strict rules that need to be adhered to. Bad
language, racist, sexist & defamatory comments, or bad mouthing
is quite simply not tolerated – all posts of this nature are
picked up by John or one of the tMP moderators and are moved to
an offline area or are deleted. Action is then taken to address
tMP Moderators read ALL submitted posts and can amend or delete
these posts if they deem the content inappropriate. “To be
honest”, John says, “the membership on tMP to-date is
simply fantastic and everyone is aware that I try to run the site
in a family friendly manner. As such, we get very few problems of
this nature. Whenever we see anything dubious, it’s dealt
with immediately. I also have ‘word censors’ that filter
every post for particular words or phrases and amend them to a more
appropriate choice!” he says. “I want to present an
opportunity to all Bandspeople everywhere for interesting, stimulating
and thought provoking discussion. If people don’t want this
and abuse the site, they simply are not welcome. A family site it
is and a family site it will stay.”
John also mentions that longer term tMP’ers are always looking
out for posts from new tMP members and always remind people that
tMP is a family friendly site and is open to people of all ages
etc…. it’s a very welcoming online community. The site
already have individual and band members from all over the world
including USA, Australia and all parts of Europe – and ALL
sections and standards of people/players are represented - from
introductory and progressive learner bands through to the top class
and outstanding bands of the day. As John said, “There are
even a few of our famous banding colleagues making an appearance
every now and then – no names mentioned here, you’ll
have to take a look and find out for yourself !”
In the first 7 months of its existence, tMP has already been involved
in many social activities. They were contacted by the BBC earlier
this year whilst preparing for the recent edition of ‘Test
the Nation” featuring Philip Schofield and Ann Robinson. John
commented, “The BBC were short of some entrants for their
‘Musicians’ category and asked if anyone on tMP would
be interested in taking part on the show.!”. A post was made
onto tMP asking for anyone who might be interested in appearing
on live TV and they managed to get 19 tMP’ers on air and on
the show. We were not sure if they wanted us to publish how the
musicians category actually performed on the night though!! They
have also had other tMP members arranging scratch band concerts
and events with much success as well.
There is are also a broad range of services on offer on the site
- from promoting your own band concert or event, sponsorship, music
sales and advertising opportunities etc through to an online e-shop
where you can buy theMouthPiece.com promotional goodies and even
sell your own goods.
There are also regular monthly quizzes with great prizes on offer.
“We are trying to make the site as interesting as possible
with new competitions and quiz’s, we don’t want to lose
any of those new friends we have made!” John says, “…if
anyone has any new thoughts or ideas, please feel free to contact
John is delighted to announce that theMouthPiece.com has recently
registered its 1000th official member. “I’m just amazed”,
said john, “totally gobsmacked really… and some people
who know me might find that hard to believe!!”.
4BR doesn’t and it is nice to report that here is a discussion
forum that is professionally run and controlled, has interesting
and entertaining threads for discussion and is proving to be a success
as well. The banding movement needs more people to push the movement
into the 21st Century and it seems here are people who are doing
just that. All that and it’s the idea of a Welshman as well!!!
Go and have a look on www.themouthpiece.com