The training band at their graduation concert, 2013
The training band at their graduation concert, 2013

Beginners' Training Band

Have you ever regretted not taking up music instrumental lessons at school?

The Band is holding a course for adults who are absolute beginners at playing a wind instrument, in a friendly and supportive wind band environment. It will last two years and will cater for adults of all ages - many participants in similar beginners' bands are drawing a pension, so age is no barrier. If you've never played a wind instrument before, and have perhaps envied those who can, then this is the course for you. The course not only teaches the instrument, but also teaches you how to play in a band. No prior music experience of any sort is required.

When does it start?

Just after Easter 2016. For those who have a little experience of playing or who are returning to playing after a long break, please instead contact the returners' band for advice. It may be, for example, that you learned to play at school, but haven't picked up an instrument since. It's amazing how much you'll remember!

Who is it for?

Anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to learn to play a wind instrument.

What instruments are taught?

We teach the intruments found in a wind band, i.e. Brass (e.g. trumpet, euphonium, trombone, tuba) and Woodwind (e.g. oboe, flute, clarinet, alto, tenor & baritone saxophone), as well as double bass and electric bass guitar. Similar courses have in the past appealed to double bass players who play by ear but who want to learn to read music.

How much will it cost?

£30 per school term (Summer term is a bargain. We operate like a "real" band, so we carry on during holidays and will only close for a couple of weeks during Summer). Actually, thinking about it, for £30 a term, the whole thing is a bargain!

Where will it take place?

At the Fire & Rescue Service command development premises in Lansdown, Bath, near the racecourse. Directions will be available nearer the start of the course.

Which instrument is right for me?

Which instrument do you want to play?! It seems to be that the instrument chooses the player, a bit like a wand in Harry Potter. You probably know which instrument you would like to play, so that's the one to go for.

Is there anything else I should know before deciding?

Well, I'm afraid we can't get away from the fact that, like any other hobby, there is money involved. It will cost you money to get an instrument if you haven't got one lying about the house - before plunging into buying an instrument, at this stage, hiring your instrument is probably your best bet. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be anywhere in Bath any more, but if you Google for "instrument hire Bristol," it brings up some places such as John Packer Ltd in Taunton, South Wales Brass (Bristol) and Trevor Jones in Christmas Steps, Bristol. The Band also holds a limited stock of spare instruments, which we can offer for a small hire charge on a first-come first-served basis, details on application.

What do I do now?!

Just email

But I'm not a firefighter...!

That doesn't matter. The Band is sponsored by, and in support of the Service, but most of the members are not employed by the Service, in the same way that musicians in many military bands are not front-line troops.


The course tutor is Paul Brooks, who is a qualified teacher and has run these courses before. Many musicians in concert bands across the country started as absolute adult beginners, so as far as he is concerned, the sky is the limit for you!


Unfortunately, being a converted nuclear bunker, the HQ is not fully accessible. There is a chair lift, but no passenger lift, so if you have a mobility difficulty but cannot use a chair lift then regrettably the HQ will be unsuitable for you.