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Musical Performance - Getting Started

Getting Started with a musical performance group or band

Traditional Scout bands require a Band Leader, and all musical performance groups will require a leader who is in charge of the activity. This person will be responsible for making sure that the group is set up for success, and the group will require:

1.     Enough young people to maintain a minimum number of performers, for a marching band this is 12.


2.     Enough finance to supply them with the required resources (instruments, uniform etc.)


3.     Somewhere suitable for them to be taught and to practice.



The dress of the group or band will be determined by a number of factors, including the type of performance and its context. Where it is appropriate to wear Scout uniform it should be worn as set out in POR. Other costuming or outfit options should be appropriate for the young people.

Appropriate Activity

Most young people involved in musical performance groups are Scout age or older. There is no reason why Beavers and Cubs cannot be involved in musical performance groups in Scouting. The age, maturity and abilities of any member must be taken into consideration and the Legal Liscencing Requirements Factsheet will guide you as to how the age of a young people might limit their participation in certain activities.

Roles Within Scout Bands

Traditional Scout Bands have found the following additional roles important. Other musical performance groups may also find this guidance useful.

The Drum Major

A good Drum Major is a great asset to a band, reflecting the Bandmaster's wishes in the best possible way.  No matter how young, the Drum Major should constantly be at the Bandmaster's side listening to arrangements, learning how the band is required to perform, and generally become a mirror to the Bandmaster's wishes.

Ultimately, when undertaking an engagement, the Bandmaster may not be in front and it will be the Drum Major who has to take the responsibility.  It is the Drum Major's function to control the band on the road, anticipating hazards and taking appropriate action.  Also the Drum Major needs to learn how to present the band in its most complementary way and should be an outstanding example of turnout and deportment for others to emulate. Band Leaders should however, ensure the Drum Major is sufficiently supported. It may be necessary for the band leader to be with the Drum Major for most of the initial engagements that the Drum Major undertakes in order for their confidence and competence to develop.

The ideal person for this position is someone with the demeanour and ability of a good Patrol Leader, who can lead with a good example and has abilities, apart from turnout and deportment, which include a clear voice, cool head, foresight and the ability to think on the spot.

Some time spent on each instrument should be a good grounding, as the Drum Major will then know the inherent problems in each situation and thus will be able to allow for them, i.e. trumpet cannot respond to urgent signals when reading from music.  Signals have to be indicated in good time to allow everyone's thinking process to take place.  No band can burst into sound or stop at a second's notice.  Good mace control and the ability to communicate with it, and a clear voice are essentials.


This is an appointment in any band which can be undertaken by a senior member, or better still an interested parent, especially if they have an interest in do-it-yourself jobs like carpentry and textile repairs, etc.

The Quartermaster will need a system of recording the composition of each set of equipment as issued. i.e. Trumpet No. 1 box contains: Trumpet; mouthpiece; carrying cord; pair of gloves.  Condition: New, one small scratch or dent removed on 1st November.  Issued to: Member A. Insurance value: £50.  As each instrument is returned, damage will have to be made good and charged for if it can be attributed to negligence.

The Quartermaster is also the ideal person to issue additional equipment and collect it back when the band goes out on engagements; that is why it is ideal to have a keen parent who supports the band to undertake this extra responsibility.  A keen Quartermaster will see that the members care for their instruments properly and will help them by instructing on the best way of cleaning their equipment.

In dealing with repairs, simple paint jobs are usually well within the scope of a good Quartermaster, and they are the ideal person to warn the Bandmaster when things are wearing out or need sprucing up a little.  Simple dents can be removed with a stroking stick shaped for the instrument, and sometimes small soldering jobs can save a lot of money in repairs.  A good Quartermaster will learn how to do this and will be worth their weight in gold.

With the arrival on the public scene the Quartermaster's job will necessarily expand.  It is the Quartermaster's job to ensure that the equipment is left in good working order.  The Quartermaster will need a supply of spares for those emergencies that occur at the inopportune moments.  At a function the Quartermaster can often provide another pair of hands to assist with props, stage shows, helping open gates, etc.  Most importantly they are a regular assistant who will get to know the parents' skills so that when a job needs doing that they cannot deal with, they can ask the appropriate person.


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