New to brass band contesting? Understanding your first national contest – Solos and Ensembles.

Solos – (Brass and Percussion entry forms!)

Solos are broken down into a mixture of age groups, instrument, and experience. Sounds daunting to a newcomer, but never fear, the guide is here to help you navigate the maze.

Firstly, a broad overview of how the breakdowns work to find national solo champions. Then we will take a close look at each area of the solo contest and finish with an overview of the ensembles (referred to “Party events” in the regulations) that can compete as well.

The regulations used to govern these aspects of the contest can be found here. It might pay to have these open as you read through this blog.

There are very strict eligibility requirements for solo events, these are documented starting on page eight of the regulations. The solo events are broken into brass and percussion and then ages within those broad categories. These are listed below:

  • Masters Solo…contest regulation 11 applies
  • Under 15 Group 1 – Eb and Bb Cornets or Trumpets only
  • Under 15 Group 2 – Flugel Horn, Tenor Horn, French Horn, Baritone, Euphonium, Trombone, and Bass
  • Junior Eb and Bb Cornet
  • Junior Horn Section – Flugel Horn Tenor Horn Baritone
  • Junior Euphonium
  • Junior Trombone
  • Junior Bass
  • Open Soprano Cornet
  • Champion Cornet (Entry Criteria applies)
  • Open Amateur Cornet
  • Open Flugel Horn
  • Open Tenor Horn
  • Open Baritone
  • Open Euphonium
  • Open Tenor Trombone
  • Open Bass Trombone
  • Open Eb Bass
  • Open BBb Bass

Under 15 and Junior events are for those under 15 and 19 respectively, on the day of the event. The open events have music selected except for percussion events. Percussion events are broken down into ages as above with the difference being that each competitor can play three pieces across three disciplines of percussion: Keyboard (mallet), Timpani, and Snare Drum/Multi.

The winner of each junior and open event goes on to compete in Junior Champion of Champions (Wednesday night) and the open version – Champion of Champions (Thursday night). N.B. Percussionists play a single piece in the Champion of Champions events.

Enter your solo Brass and Percussion!

Ensembles (party) (Enter here!)

Ensembles are broken down into:

  • Open Ensemble Group A (3 to 5 players)
  • Open Ensemble Group B (6 to 12 players)
  • Open Ensemble Group C (3 to 8 Trombones)
  • Open Duet
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Junior Duet
  • Junior Ensemble A (3 to 5 players)
  • Junior Ensemble B (6 to 12 players)

Ensembles choose their own music and must make sure that the music is not longer than the allowed time. All players in the ensemble must meet the age restrictions of the group the ensemble is competing in. N.B. there is no junior percussion ensemble, these ensembles must compete in the percussion ensemble which covers all age groups.

The other consideration is to be accompanied or to have a conductor or neither. This will depend on:

  • the level of the ensemble
  • the number of players
  • the nature of the music being played

Choose a piece of music that all your ensemble will be able to play when you compete at this contest. Above all – Have some fun!

Go on – enter here!

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