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BBE announces new initiatives to help players and bands

Prof Roger Webster and renowned teacher Paul Cosh lead new Brass Band England initiative as organisation rolls out further Bandsafe workshops.

Roger Webster
  Roger Webster has a wordlwide reputation as a leading teacher on the physiological aspects of efficient practice and performance methods

Brass Bands England (BBE) has launched the next phase of its training and development programmes, designed to help brass bands at all levels enhance their performance and administration.


A new BandSafe programme will see half-day workshops undertaken to help bands ensure they have adequate safeguarding and child protection arrangements in place.

Following its successful pilot workshop in Crawley in April, BandSafe will be touring the country over the next few months.

Developed in partnership with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), it has been designed to work alongside BBE's BandSafe initiative.

Designed by brass band musician, Heidi Bradley, it was launched by BBE in 2016 with the online toolkit providings support for users to develop their own policies and procedures based on national guidance given by BBE.

All participants will be issued with a certificate of attendance which will be valid for two years.

Better Banding: Player Development

BBE is also launching Better Banding: Player Development, led by renowned musicians and teachers Roger Webster and Paul Cosh.

These workshops look to improve the overall quality of bands' playing and performance.

In these sessions, Paul Cosh will focus on the essentials of brass playing such as physiology and practical exercises to improve individual playing standards.

Meanwhile, Roger Webster's attention will be focused on the mental and physiological aspects of efficient practice and performance methods.

Both sessions will deliver a consistent message that focussing on improving the quality of individual players can vastly improve the overall quality of band rehearsals and performances.

Potential to thrive

Speaking about these new strands, CEO Kenny Crookston commented: "These are two very different elements of our ongoing development programme, but in their own ways they will contribute equally to our member bands' potential to thrive.

The recent BandSafe pilot event in Crawley was tremendously successful and we have no doubt that bands will appreciate the benefits of embracing this very important subject. We would like to thank Heidi Bradley for her groundbreaking work on BandSafe and Cate Meredith of NSPCC for her invaluable assistance with the development of the delivery programme."

He added: "BBE aims to work with expert practitioners in everything we do and we are delighted that two of our most outstanding educators will be presenting our player development sessions.

Paul Cosh will be known to many as a conductor and adjudicator, while the wider brass world acknowledges him as one of its leading clinicians. He was also a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama for 30 years.

Dr. Roger Webster has conducted extensive research in the area of psychotherapy, with special relevance to the needs of musicians. He regularly lectures on psychology specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and has been particularly involved with the treatment of dystonia and musical stammers, as well as performance anxiety issues."

These are two very different elements of our ongoing development programme, but in their own ways they will contribute equally to our member bands' potential to thriveBBE, CEO Kenny Crookston

Helping bands

In response Paul Cosh commented: "The support of BBE in this project has been invaluable and demonstrates the organisation's forward-thinking approach to helping bands improve and sustain a bright future."

Roger Webster added: "BBE has taken the initiative to run a varied programme of workshops for our brass bands.Players, teachers and conductors — please come along and take part! Ask those awkward questions and help move our bands back to their place at forefront of the banding world!"

Time and place

The first Player Development, and the next BandSafe events will both take place on Sunday 9th June at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Tickets are available to buy online at bbe.org.uk/events

Further dates and locations include:

Saturday 5th October: North West
Saturday 23rd November: North East
Saturday 8th February 2020: London/South
Saturday 25th April 2020: South West
Saturday 24th May 2020: Yorkshire

BBE's training series 'Artistic Development' is continuing throughout this year with confirmed upcoming dates including:

Saturday 11th May: Pemberton Bandroom, Wigan
Saturday 29th June: Barnsley
Saturday 21st September: South West
Saturday 9th November: West Midlands

Further details

Further details of all BBE events, including how to sign up for them, can be found online at www.bbe.org.uk

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