Join a Band
Become a part of it
When you embark on your university journey, wouldn't it be fantastic to continue pursuing your passion for music alongside a community of like-minded individuals? Look no further than university brass bands.
Each week, students at over 40 universities enjoy rehearsing, socialising and performing as part of university brass bands. If you’re off to university this summer, or already a student, you too can get involved with the fun, and keep playing at university by joining a university brass band!
Find out about brass banding at your university with our Find a Band search tool, or read on to find out more about university brass banding.
About University Banding
University brass banding offers a unique opportunity for students to continue their musical pursuits during their university years. These bands serve as a creative outlet, allowing students to express their musical talents, but bands understand that as students, the social aspect of banding is just as crucial as the musical journey itself. That's why they offer a diverse range of band socials, creating the perfect opportunity to meet new people who share your interests. In fact, many students find their closest and most enduring friendships through their band experience.
Most university bands rehearse at least once a week, immersing you in a world of musical exploration. From timeless classics to modern masterpieces, the repertoire spans a wide spectrum, encompassing traditional brass band pieces as well as exciting arrangements of popular works. You'll have the chance to hone your skills, perform in exhilarating concerts, and be part of a dynamic ensemble that consistently delivers outstanding music-making.
If you have the time, being a part of a university brass band doesn’t prevent you from also being a part of a local band. In fact many bands form close links with local bands, so you may be able to join a local band with people you know from uni band. Since university bands don’t register their players for competitions, you will still be able to register and compete with a local band (or stay registered at home).
What else do university brass bands do?
University bands offer great performance opportunities in venues such as prestigious concert halls and cathedrals, and events including masterclasses, concerts joint with local bands, carolling, and the Whit Friday contests.
The highlight of most university bands’ year is UniBrass - the inter-university brass band championships - which sees over 20 university brass bands come together from across the UK each February for a great day of music making, followed of course by the famous UniBrass social. As well as an opportunity to perform a high quality entertainments set and bond with your band, UniBrass is a chance to catch up with other university banders that you know from youth band.
How do I join?
Using our list of university brass bands you can find out more about to join your university's brass band, and how best to join.
Generally, universities will have a freshers fair in the first few weeks of term. As well as being an opportunity to pick up loads of free things, this is where you get the opportunity to meet representatives of all your clubs and societies, including your brass band. Most bands will then hold a taster rehearsal which you can attend and get involved! Some bands might not attend their freshers fairs, but you will be able to find details of their taster rehearsals on their website or facebook - you can find links to these on our list of university bands.
What standard do I need to be?
University brass bands often welcome musicians of every skill level, making it accessible to all. Whether you're a seasoned player or a beginner, there's a place for you to shine. Some bands even offer specialized programs for beginners, teaching you how to play a brass instrument from scratch. Many non-brass musicians join university brass bands and learn on the job, expanding their musical horizons.
While most bands don't require auditions, some may hold auditions for specific seats. Don't worry if you're not a music student – most university bands embrace students from all disciplines, providing a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from across the university.
To find out what each band offers, we recommend reaching out to them directly. They can provide you with the specifics, including if they have instruments available. Contact details can be found on our "Find a Band" tool.
Check out your university's other ensembles
Whilst we'd love you to join a brass band, if you play a different instrument, most universities will have orchestras or wind bands that you could join. You may even find other brass players there to form a brass band or ensemble with.
Join a nearby university’s brass band
If your university doesn’t have a band of its own, find another uni band! A lot of bands currently competing at UniBrass compete as mergers, meaning that some of their players actually study at another nearby university that doesn’t have its own band. This is a great way to join in the fun if you don’t think there is enough interest at your own university to set a band up. Look on our list of university bands to check if there is one local to you.
What should I do if my university doesn't have a Brass Band?
Start your own university brass band
Ready to create some inter-university brass band rivalry or establish a band where there isn't one yet? If you're interested in starting a new university band, we've got you covered.
The Foundation trustees bring years of experience in running brass bands, making them the perfect resource for advice on starting a new band. UniBrass has already assisted in the formation of several university brass bands. Here are some tips we recommend:
Speak to your Students' Union (SU) about setting up a brass band society. Most SUs are supportive and can assist you from the university's perspective. They may provide financial support, help with member recruitment, finding rehearsal spaces, and other administrative tasks, allowing you to focus on the music.
Connect with local brass bands and other music societies at your university. They might know talented student brass players who can join your band and even help form an initial committee, easing the pressure on you. Local bands can offer valuable support in the early stages, lending music and providing publicity. They can also become valuable contacts as your band grows.
Don't be afraid to start small. Begin as a small group, such as a quintet or ten-piece, and grow from there. UniBrass contest rules do not limit bands based on size, so even a small ensemble is welcome to compete!
Get in touch with UniBrass: As well as general advice, the UniBrass Foundation may be able to assist with publicity, by helping you to send out press releases to brass band press, as well as locally.