Information about school bands

What is a school band?

Many children and youth in Norway play in a school band, but
what exactly is a school band? School bands can provide us
with training in either a wind instrument or a percussion that
we can play with others. There are many different instruments
to choose from. Usually, anyone is welcome to choose which
instrument they would like to play, however it is up to the conductor to
make the final decision.
There are many types of bands ; school bands where children and youth play
in the band together, generation bands where children, youth and adults play
together, and adult bands that are specifically for adults ( usually above the
age of 15) play together. One can join a school band from the age of 7-9 up
until the year one turns 19. This does however vary from school band to
school band. Both girls and boys play in school bands.
The players in a band are called musicians. When the musicians first
join the school band, they are often referred to as aspirants/recruits/
juniors. Here, the musicians learn the first notes on an instrument
and play together. In most places it is common to get your own
teacher that has played an instrument for a long time. After one
learns about the instrument and how to play together, one can
join the main school band with the others that have played in it
for a while.
There is no need for the musician to quit the school band because they have
gotten too old. There are bands for adults all over the country to make sure
that one always has the opportunity to play in a band with others.
There are many people in Norway that associate bands with
17th of May celebrations, but bands participate in many other
concerts, performances, weekend practices, courses and trips
during a season. For many school band musicians, these trips
are a great highlight.

Why play in a band?

By playing in a band, one can get to know others that live in the
same area, village or town. School band rehearsals usually range from
once to twice a week. The social aspect, where the oldest musicians take
care of and help the youngest, is an important part of the band. In the band,
everyone is equally important. It does not matter whether you are a girl or
a boy, quiet or loud, just starting out or almost an adult, or what instrument
you play.
Among the things musicians can learn about in school bands are:
• How to play an instrument
• How to play different types of music
• How to listen to each other
• How to work together
• How to respect and take care of each other
“Research shows that children that learn how to play an instrument have
advantages when it comes to both language and math, it has also been proven
to improve memory… every time you sit down to rehearse, self-control, attention
and memory are being practiced”

Facilitation and inclusion

Through the Declaration on Leisure Activities for Everyone, Norway
has pledged to make sure that all children have the ability to partake
in recreational activities. The Declaration is built on article 31 of the
Unites Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which creates
the right for all children to have leisure, engage in play and participate
in cultural life and in the arts.
This does not only concern personal economy. The band shall facilitate
rehearsals so that everyone can partake, regardless of skill, gender, age,
religion, physical disabilities etc.

What is expected of parents whose children are in the band?

The parental activities could be a great opportunity to get to know other parents.
Parents partaking in the recreational activities of their children is a positive thing,
even though some kids and teenagers might think it is a bit embarrassing.
The bands are democratically run, with parents and members over the age of 15
in charge of deciding which members and parents get to join the board. Joining
the board gives them the opportunity to partake more actively in the band.
The bands are democratically run, with parents and members over the age of 15
in charge of deciding which members and parents get to join the board. Joining
the board gives them the opportunity to partake more actively in the band.

How much does it cost?

Being in a band is not the most expensive recreational
activity a child or youth can partake in. Notes, instruments
and uniforms are usually included in the fee to make sure
that there are not additional expenses. There may be
additional fees for trips and some of the teaching.
Contact your local school band to find out how much it costs a
year to join.
It is possible to apply to have expenses covered for band fees for
families in need of it. This is usually covered by the municipality.
All adults working with children in school bands are required to
provide a police certificate of conduct.