Making music fun in east anglia



17th February, 2006 - February Newsletter

A message from the Band President

At the A.G.M. On Friday 3rd. February, I was invited to be Band President, a post which I accepted.
This is a great honor, and when I was asked to stand I was astonished; it took my breath away.
I have been a band member for four years,starting in Beginners, thro' Prelims, Inters and then
Main Band, finally Band President. What can one say,except Thank You to the committee and all members for theirsupport, in the past and in the future.
Bill Bell


Thankyou to all of the people who volunteered / revolunteered for the Main, Fundraising and other committees. They all do a brilliant job keeping Martlesham Brass in business. If you're interested, talk to our Main Committee Chairman Simon Chalklen.


Martlesham Brass would like to say a big hello to all of the new beginners who have joined us recently. We wish you all the best in playing, and hope that you enjoy your time with us.

Norwich - Vote Result

Following the recent polls in band practices, it has been decided that one band will be taken to the EABBA Norwich contest on the 7th of May. We're not sure what category we will enter, but we do know that the contest has changed to an entertainment contest, so every band will have to play 45 minutes of pieces for the judges. If you said you would go but can't make the date, please speak to your bandleader ASAP.

Martlesham Brass 10th Birthday Concert

This year is the 10th Anniversary of Martlesham Brass. We need your ideas for a special Birthday Concert in September. Please speak to anyone on the committee or Jayne Howlett if you want to be part of the organisation team or you have ideas. We also need to track down as many previous members of the band as possible, for a grand reunion at the concert.

Charity Abseil 2006

This year's charity abseil is taking place on the weekend of the 15th/16th July this year. We desperately need more people to do it or we will not be able to participate, because we need at least 8. Please speak to Chris A this or next week so that we can make arrangements.

Please Read Me - I'm Important!!!

Over the last couple of years we have had to get a number of instruments repaired due to lack of simple maintenance. This has often been preventable things like stuck tuning slides or sticky valves on instruments from all bands, Beginners, Preliminaries, Intermediates, and Main, with far too many coming from Main! If you keep your instrument clean on the inside and out by bathing it every few weeks, (even some water through the inside every couple of weeks) it will make a big difference to how it plays and help prevent problems. When you bath it take out the valves (one at a time so you don't mix them up!) and brush through the inside of the valve outers, taking care to clean out the bottom cup as well. This means you have to keep the bottom cups free so you can get them off. When you put the cups back on put a drop of valve oil on the thread and don't put them on too tight!
Now, this is the bit that lots of you seem to forget. At the same time, remove all of the tuning slides, main and all valves. They should come out easily, but don't forget to press down the valves when you do this to make it a lot easier. Check the grease on the slides, if it feels greasy then its ok, if it's very stick, or dry then re-grease them. Except on very brand new instruments you will be able to see a mark where the slide was pushed in to so push them back to that mark, making sure you don't mix them up. The best way to keep slides free is to move them a bit every week as you put your instrument back in its' case. Now, I'm off to the menders to get the tuning slides out of two Soveregn cornets. See Mike Brierley, Main Band and Beginners, if you don't have any valve oil. Someone in your section should have the right sort of grease when you need it. Ask someone like your Bandleader if you don't know how to do any of these things!

A note on tuning.

Every so often your Bandleader or someone will tune up your band and ask you to move your main tuning slide to the right position, (that's why they have to be kept free!) because the tuning of your instrument drifts a bit with atmospheric conditions (the weather) and some drift more than others. However that is not the whole tuning story. The slides on the valves are not just there so you can get water out of them, they are there so you can get all the notes in tune. The best way to do this is with a chromatic tuning meter. A few people in the band have got one of those. First play a C, your usual tuning note, and move the main tuning slide to get it in tune. Play a Bflat or an F and move the first valve slide to get it in tune. Play a Bnatural and move the second valve slide to get it in tune (not worth the effort on a cornet cos the slide's too short!). Play an Anatural with your third valve ( I know you don't normally do that but trust me, you can) and move the third valve slide to get it in tune. Now if you play a G with First and Third (you can do that too) it should be in tune as well. With the meter you can then check all the notes are in tune. You will probably find it will be a bit out at both ends of your range but that's where you have to use your skill to "lip it in". If you've got a 4th valve tune it to a low D or a Bnatural in the middle of the stave (bet you didn't know you could do that!) by moving its' tuning slide.
For cornets with triggers or finger slides you can only tune the instrument on the open notes e.g. C and learn how to get other notes in tune with the trigger.
Trombones tune your instrument in first position with the tuning slide and use you ears for all other notes. Trombones with a trigger also tune the trigger loop to a D (treble clef) or C (Bass clef).
If you play a Bass trombone then you should know how to tune it!
If no-one will lend you a meter (mean so-and-so's) you can do a reasonable job with your ears. First play a top E with both open and your 3rd valve.(you can do that as well) If they don't sound exactly the same move the 3rd valve slide until they do. Then play a G with both open and 1st and 3rd. If they don't sound the same move your first valve slide until they do. If you play a larger instrument where there is some movement on the second valve slide you can tune it in by playing a C (on the stave) with both open and 2nd and 3rd valves (yeah that's another one) and making them sound the same by moving the second valve slide.
If we all do this all our bands will sound so much better than they do already!
Mike Brierley