Spotlight - How YMI funding helps Scotland's brass musicians make some noise

In June's Spotlight we hear about how YMI funding has supported Scotland's young musicians to develop their skills in music - and more!


Brass musicians Iona and Laura smile for the camera in a promotional photo for the SBBA speaks podcast

SBBA Speaks presenters Iona McVicar and Laura Carter. Image courtesy of SBBA.

The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) supported through YMI's Access to Music Making fund, offers young brass and percussion players aged 9 to 22-years-old an opportunity to perform challenging, exciting, and diverse brass repertoire while receiving guidance from an expert tutorial team.

NYBBS has been involved in many high-profile performances including the opening of the Scottish Parliament, the Perth Proms, the Aberdeen International Festival of Youth and a collaborative project at Celtic Connections in 2013. The band has enjoyed numerous international tours including acclaimed visits to Germany, Japan and Norway, showcasing the jewel in the crown of Scotland's young brass and percussion musicians to a global audience.

The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland during a performance conducted by Ian Porthouse. Young musicians sit in orchestral formation as Ian directs their performance.

The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland under the musical directorship of Ian Porthouse. Image courtesy of SBBA.

Funding from YMI also supported the set-up costs for the Scottish Brass Band Association’s podcast SBBA Speaks, hosted by young brass banders Iona McVicar and Laura Carter who developed the initiative after their experience of putting together a Youth Speaks Roadshow for SBBA a year ago.

It has the aim of creating a space for Scottish brass-banding youth to keep up to date with news and discuss topics that are important to them. “Iona and I base our podcast topics on issues in banding, and within music in general, that are genuinely important to us” Laura says, “and what we feel are important to young brass musicians.”

Listen to SBBA Speaks:

Winner of the SBBA Young Composers Competition in 2019, Iona started learning tenor horn with Campbeltown Brass when she was eight, while Laura started playing trumpet at 10 years old before quickly making the jump to tuba. Now in her 3rd year studying for a BMus Hons degree at Edinburgh Napier University, she is currently playing with St David’s Brass.

Funding from YMI supported the set-up costs for the podcast, and now helps with operating expenses like travel and accommodation to enable Iona and Laura carry out interviews and research.

Episode 1 aired in December 2021 and since then the podcast has covered a huge range of topics from vox pops on getting back into banding, to films and TV programmes that feature brass bands, to band competitions. Episode 6 aired in April this year and covered the European Championships in Birmingham.

Funding from YMI also enables NYBBS to stage an annual residential Easter course for young brass musicians at Strathallan School in Perthshire. It was here that, this year, the band rehearsed its programme for the European Championships competition.

Laura says: “We are very excited about future episodes, and we hope they are as enjoyable for our listeners as they are for us making them!”

This article was published on 09 Jun 2022