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2015: April

This month we give our opinions on the costs of quality judgement, improving Ball skills and in praise of the rules...

Quality judgement costs

4BR may have had a few gripes in the past about the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators (ABBA), but we have never accused their members of not being worth the money they are paid for providing their essential service to the brass band movement.

However, you would be surprised at just how little many contests value their expertise in pounds, shillings and pence.

So with ABBA now making progressive strides in the future professional development of its members, perhaps the time has come for a formalised table of fees to be agreed between both parties - rather than the current system of ‘ad-hoc’ agreements that currently exist.

It would surely benefit all those who take part in competitions. 

Bands invest so much financial time and energy in their contest preparation that it seems absurd that we seem reluctant to do the same with adjudicators.  If we really want to improve all our standards, then we should be prepared to pay a proper professional rate for a highly professional job. 

ABBA has shown its desire to justify its value to the future of contesting in the UK, so perhaps it’s time for the rest of us to do the same.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com


Improving Ball skills

It has taken a while, but the true brass band musical genius of Eric Ball may finally have been revealed - via the compositional pen of Peter Graham.

The damaging effects of our headlong pursuit of mind boggling technique came to roost around the country on ‘The Torchbearer’ - as far too any bands and conductors found themselves unable to coherently translate a musical language that seemed almost alien to them.

The subtleties of dynamic, tempo, balance and texture - the hallmarks of the great man’s writing, were rarely heard. Instead we got the pulp fiction approach - visceral blood and guts splashed all over the place. 

What required skill and understanding was replaced by blunt-witted special effects. 

However, what may be saddest outcome of all is that it remains debatable whether bands have now lost the ability to showcase those once inherent Ball skills for good...

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com


In praise of the rules

There must have been one heck of an increase in Google search engine traffic in the past two weeks looking at how to spell schadenfreude in a grammatical Yorkshire accent... 

Black Dyke’s disqualification from the Regional Championship in Bradford and subsequent qualification confirmation for the National Final was met in equal measure by surprise, bafflement, anger and wry smiles of puzzled delight.

However, what it also showed was that very few people (including a Band Secretary or two around the UK) pay more than scant attention to their understanding of both National and Registration rules.

Black Dyke’s disqualification may have done us all a favour then.   

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com



Regent Hall Concerts - Canon Brass (brass quintet) from the Royal College

Friday 25 January • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ


Foden's Band - RNCM Brass Band Festival

Friday 25 January • 124 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD


Black Dyke Band - International Staff Band of Salvation Army - RNCM

Saturday 26 January • Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD


Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Concert at Yarm School, North Yorkshire

Saturday 26 January • Yarm School. . The Friarage. . Yarm, North Yorkshire. . TS15 9EJ T15 9EJ


Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Concert at Yarm School, North Yorkshire

Saturday 26 January • Yarm School. . The Friarage. . Yarm, North Yorkshire. . TS15 9EJ T15 9EJ


Lofthouse Brass Band

January 22 • Lofthouse Brass Band are seeking a SOLO CORNET PLAYER to complete their line up. We are a friendly 3rd section band with a sensible schedule of concerts, contests and social events (meals out, quiz nights, race nights...) throughout the year.


chadderton brass band

January 22 • Chadderton Band is a non contesting band requiring players of all ages and abilities. Come along and give us a try, we are a friendly band playing at numerous concerts throughout the year. Experienced Conductor required. Vacancy on percussion.


East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band

January 22 • Following this year`s round of regional contests we will have a vacancy for a first class cornet player. Position negotiable to join our experienced committed cornet section Rehearsing Sunday and Wednesday evenings by the Humber Bridge.


Andrew White

MA(Ed Man), B Ed (Hons), BBCM, ADNCB, PGCE, Cert Ed
Conductor, Arranger, Adjudicator & Educationist