Members Handbook



Contact Ian or David if you cannot make a rehearsal and contact David as soon as possible if you cannot make a concert or contest. Please remember mobile phone text messages or voice messages can take a while to be delivered.

If you are unable to attend a rehearsal or concert you must leave your music folder with the music in alphabetical or concert order.

Please leave your jacket if you unable to attend a concert.

Concert Attendance is managed on-line by Muzodo – please ensure you fill it in as soon as you can for each job. We need as much time as possible to arrange deps for players unable to attend.

The latest contact numbers are on the website or Muzodo.



Please try and arrive at least 10 minutes before rehearsals start. This will allow you enough time to get settled, find music, mutes and have a warm up before we start playing.

Bring a sharp pencil to mark corrections and changes on your music. Never write in pen.

Make sure that you can see the conductor clearly from where you are sitting. If you can not see the conductor you won’t be able to play in time or understand any visual signals given to the band whilst playing.

Do not be afraid to move your chair and stand to ensure that you have a clear view. If you can not move without disrupting others then please shout – do not sit in silence.

At the end of rehearsal please put your instrument away and then help pack up percussion and put tables and chairs back.

Paying Attention

Paying Attention

It is important to pay attention to what is going on at all times. If you are not playing while the conductor is practising another section, make sure you know where in the piece they are rehearsing, as it is more than likely that the whole band will pick up from that point once the conductor is ready.

Please keep talking to a minimum while we are rehearsing. Any conversations that are needed should be about the current piece of music and not the latest events on your favourite TV show.

Make sure you know where key changes, repeats and DC/DS signs are before you start playing a piece. If you are in any doubt ask the conductor or a more senior member of your section.

Music Stands

Music Stands

If you arrive early please help to set up stands and chairs for the whole band. Do not just leave it to everyone else once yours has been done. Similarly please put your stand away at the end.

Stands should be folded carefully. Never force them, if you are having trouble, open the stand and close it a different way.

Never drop stands in the box, place them gently to avoid bending or breaking them.

Instrument Care

Instrument Care

Your instrument is a precisely made piece of engineering. If carefully looked after it will give you years of trouble free playing. Follow these simple guidelines for looking after your instrument:

When not in use, keep the instrument in its case, as that is the safest place for it. Most accidents happen when the instrument is left unattended out of its case.



The mouthpiece should not be pushed into the instrument with any force; a gentle twist is all that it needs to stay in place. If it does become jammed in the instrument take it to your repairer who will have a special tool for removing the mouthpiece without damaging it or the instrument. Do not try to remove it yourself; expensive repairs can be caused this way.

Your mouthpiece should be cleaned weekly. Use a mouthpiece brush under running water as it tends to collect dirt which can then be blown down into the instrument, eventually interfering with the valves or slides.

Never eat just before playing. Food will be blown into your instrument and will begin to smell after a while. It is not only unhygienic but can corrode the inside of your instrument if left unattended.



On instruments with PISTON valves (all instruments except the slide trombone and the French horn) the valves require regular lubrication with a good quality valve oil.

One at a time remove the valve by unscrewing the cap at the top of the valve chamber and with a clean, non-fluffy cloth to remove the old oil. Check inside the valve casing, if it looks dirty remove the cap at the bottom of the valve and pass a cloth through. Take care not to scratch the inside of the valve casing, and then put the bottom cap back on. Apply several drops of oil onto the valve and insert into its casing. Turn gently until the valve guide clicks into place. Do the top valve cap back up and work the valve up and down a few times to distribute the oil evenly.

On instruments with ROTARY valves (French horn and some trombones) the valves require regular lubrication with rotary valve oil. Unscrew the domed valve cap and apply a few drops to the central spindle. Replace the valve cap and work the valve to distribute the oil. When in use, if the marks on the valve do not align with the mark on the casing then take the instrument to your repairer for adjustment. A little oil may be applied to the joints of the lever (right). Do not attempt to dismantle a rotary valve, they are troublesome to replace without the correct knowledge and tools.



The action of a SLIDE TROMBONE requires regular lubrication to ensure a smooth action. To clean, remove the outer slide and wipe the inner slides with a clean non-fluffy cloth. Fill the slide with warm soapy water and work up and down a few times. A flexible cleaning brush will help get any grime out of the bow section. Rinse with clean water. If you use slide cream apply a little slide cream to the tops of the stockings of the inner slide (the slightly larger section at the end of the inner slide). Replace the outer slide (check the slide lock is the correct way round). Work the slide up and down to distribute the cream evenly. If you use different slide lubrication follow the instructions that come with it. For final lubrication, pull out the inner slide and spray liberally with water. Apply more water whenever necessary.

When not being played always lock the slide to prevent accidents.

All brass instruments have tuning slides, which also need lubricating. If any of them are difficult to move, remove them, wipe them clean and apply tuning slide grease. Work in and out to distribute and remove any excess. If they are really stuck you may damage the tubing or valves trying to remove them – take it to your repairer who will have the correct tools to do this.



Every three months the entire instrument should be given a bath. Use a mild washing up liquid and luke warm water (hot water will damage the lacquer). Long and flexible brushes can be obtained from your music shop to clean the longer or more awkward tubes.

Leave the instrument to dry and reassemble, lubricating all valves and slides as indicted above. Do not try to remove rotary valves. More detailed advice can be obtained from your repairer / specialist shop.

Fingerprints may be removed from the instrument with a clean soft cloth. If desired lacquered instruments may be brought to a shine using silicon based furniture polish. Apply the polish to a soft cloth – not the instrument. Silver-plated instruments and keys can be polished with a silver cloth. Do not use liquid silver/brass cleaner as this is abrasive and may damage valves and slides.

Small dents in the instrument will not affect it, but larger dents will alter the instruments’ tuning. Your repairer can advise on this.

If you have any problems with your instrument, do tell someone so the problem can be fixed. All instruments go wrong once in a while but looked after carefully you can make visits to your repairer less frequent.


Music and Music Folders

Your music is your responsibility. Please ensure that it is kept in good condition and is easily accessible :

Leave your music folder behind if you know you are likely to be away for a rehearsal. Always ask the conductor if you want to take some or all of your parts for practice and know you will not be at rehearsals.

Photocopy parts if there are not enough for every pad. Each pad should have a copy of all music that is currently out. If you have missed a week, check with someone else to ensure you don’t need to collect any music handed out the week you were away. There is a photocopier in the band room.

Treat music with care when placing into your folder or pegging it on the stand.

Place all music in alphabetical order within the folder. Music may be placed in concert order to make it quicker to put the next piece on the stand but should always be put back in alphabetical order.

Repair damaged music. Small tears can be mended with clear tape. Use as little as possible to effect the repair. If in any doubt please consult the band’s Librarian.

Dry any music that gets wet (if caught outside in the rain). The best way is to lay wet music out on a flat surface and let it dry naturally. Always separate wet music and open out double paged music or it may stick together.

Only mark music with a pencil. Never write in pen or other indelible inks.



Arrive by the appointed time to allow yourself to tune and warm up properly before the concert starts. Warm up by gently blowing air into your instrument. Do not blast or play loudly, you may prematurely wear out your lip, don’t forget that the audience may not appreciate the whole band warming up noisily before a concert.

Ensure your mutes and music are placed on the stage before the concert starts. When playing on stages or other hard surfaces, mutes should be placed on a piece of card or other material to stop them from clanking on the floor when put back down.

Music Folders should be placed by your chair, have the music in programme or alphabetical order to ensure you can put the next piece up quickly. Check you have all pieces required before the concert starts.

Drinks may be brought onto the stage but should be limited to those that are needed to hydrate you for the duration of a concert. No alcohol is permitted on stage. Refrain from drinking large quantities of alcohol before and during the concert.

Do not wear your jacket on stage prior to the start of the concert, if you need to go on stage to setup your stand/put music/mutes in order, ensure you are in shirtsleeves or coats.



Please ensure you have the correct uniform and make all attempts to have a smart appearance when performing in a concert :

Members may not appear in a concert unless wearing the correct uniform, consisting of Black Trousers/Skirt, Black Shoes and Socks. White Shirt, Black Bow Tie, Band Uniform Jacket or Jumper.

Members should wear long sleeved white shirts with the sleeves rolled down at all times. Short sleeve shirts should not be worn. Shirts must be tucked in.

If wearing a t-shirt or vest under your shirt in Winter, please ensure it is white and has no visible motif which shows through.

Do not go on stage while wearing your band jacket before we start the concert.

Please ensure you look after your jackets – hang them up inside their protective covers when they are not being worn.

Remove your jacket at the interval and directly after the concert. Do not consume food or drink while wearing your jacket.

If you have an obvious stain or mark on your jacket, check with a committee member before taking any action as jackets are usually dry cleaned together to ensure they remain the same shade.

Home Practice

Home Practice

Practicing is the most important thing you can do to improve as a player. Everyone who plays, be it on their own, in school, with a private teacher or in the band, should practice. The amount of time and other factors will vary depending on the person’s age and ability level, but many factors remain the same :

Home practise is the only way you can improve as a player and tackle any problems you may have with your band parts.

Practice little and often. 10 minutes a day each day is better than 1 hour once a week. Particularly for new players it is important to build up your stamina gradually.

Practicing doesn’t have to occur in one long session. In fact, many professional players will break their practice time down into half hour or one hour sessions.

If you are tired, no longer paying attention, or unable to play anymore (hands or mouth too tired), stop practicing. It’s no longer worth it. Come back in an hour or two when you’re not tired anymore.

When practicing, don’t just idly play through your music. Play through your warm-ups first, scales and arpeggios are good.

Build up a passage slowly and practice slowly. Too many people think that speed is the key, that practicing at a fast tempo will help them move faster and become a better musician. This is not true. Practicing slowly and accurately is much, much better than fast practice.

If you are still having problems with a particular passage or piece, talk to someone at band for more help.

Don’t forget that getting the notes right is only the beginning. Once you can play them, make sure you have the correct articulation (Tonguing), accents, dynamics, rests and rhythm.

When you are sure you can play the part, practice tuning your instrument with the tuning meter, changing your embouchure (lip position), alternative fingering, and the use of triggers can assist this aspect of your playing.

Stop practicing when you are too tired to play or can no longer focus.



Mutes are used to change the sound of an instrument, not the volume. Play through your mute and understand that you may need to blow slightly harder to achieve the same volume when using them.

Mutes may also change the pitch of the note you are playing. You may need to move your tuning slides when using a mute in a key passage.

Do not twist a mute into place with any great force, this will damage the corks and could also damage your instrument.

To get your mute to stay in the bell of your instrument, breath on the inside of the bell to mist it over before inserting the mute.

Check the corks periodically to ensure that they are not damaged or missing, either case could cause the mute to enter too far into the bell of the instrument and adversely change the pitch or tone of the note you play.

Mutes should be available at all rehearsals and concerts where needed. Take care when transporting mutes that they do not get damaged or lost. In some pieces mutes may not be used when playing outside. The conductor will inform you of this during rehearsals.

Take care not to make an audible “clang” by banging the mutes on the edge of the instrument or on the floor when you have finished with them. Put mutes on a softer surface like your hymn book in concerts to ensure you do not make a sound on hard floors.

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