Tip top brass bands (23/11/2012)
Scottish Government support revives musical tradition.
The number of brass bands in Scotland has almost doubled over the past five years due to Scottish Government funding.
There are now 131 brass bands in Scotland compared to just 74 in 2007. The dramatic revival of this 200-year-old musical tradition is because the Scottish Government’s highly acclaimed Youth Music Initiative (YMI) has funded the Scottish Brass Band Association’s Youth Development Programme.
YMI support since 2007 has resulted in the creation of 55 new youth brass bands the length and breadth of Scotland, with places for an additional 1,700 young musicians. It has also led to the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships growing to become the biggest youth brass band event in the world.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Championships in Perth, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“Brass bands are part of our nation’s musical heritage but have suffered a significant reduction since the 1960s with the decline in traditional industries. Brass band playing in Scotland is now thriving, thanks to the excellent work of the Scottish Brass Band Association’s world-leading Youth Development Programme which is funded by the Youth Music Initiative.
“The YMI is all about creating opportunities for young people to get involved in music – and the Scottish Brass Band Association has given an additional 1,700 young brass and percussion players the opportunity to play regularly in ensembles in every corner of Scotland. Today’s national network of brass bands also means these young musicians can continue to play throughout their lives.
“Thanks to this dramatic revival, the Scottish Youth Festival of Brass has grown to become the biggest youth brass band event in the world. It is due to successes like this that I have protected funding for the Youth Music Initiative at £10 million a year.”
George Burt, President of the Scottish Brass Band Association, said:
“We are very grateful for the support from YMI over the past five years, which has enabled us to deliver a very cost effective development programme, enabling young people to play in ensembles and progress seamlessly through stages of excellence that will give them a musical experience for the rest of their lives. Scotland is the envy of the world for what we have been able to achieve.”
The Youth Music Initiative is delivered by Creative Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.
David McDonald, Youth Arts Manager at Creative Scotland, said:
“Every year the YMI supports over 350 projects across Scotland, bringing high quality music making opportunities into communities. Creative Scotland is delighted to have played a part in the revival of brass bands and enabling so many more young people to enjoy the benefits of participating in music making programmes like these. Special recognition should also go to the dedication and commitment of the staff and volunteers that contribute their time and expertise to the brass band network.”