Cornwall Youth Brass Band

Band Brest an Yowynkneth Kernow

CYBB - The Cornish Charity That Helps Young Brass Band Musicians Take Their Playing to New Heights

Band members benefit every year from two four-day residential courses. These are directed by leading conductors from the brass band world, and outstanding levels of performance are achieved in the Gala Concerts that provide the climax to every course.



Please help us to help produce the musicians of tomorrow.
We now have to raise over 20,000 a year to fund this work. 100% of every 1 you donate will help our young musicians.

All our Trustees and local tutors give their time without charge.

Grace and Matthew invite you to join the band

In September 2016, the members of the band elected Grace and Matthew to be their representatives.  They attend trustees' meetings and have a say about everything concerning the band.

Grace's first course was at Christmas 2008 and Matthew’s at Christmas 2012.  Grace started playing when she was 7 and Matthew at 13.  They have always played cornet but Matthew now plays soprano.  Grace became our principal cornet in September 2016, a position she also holds with Bodmin Band.

Grace and Matthew both say that being in the band is a great way to make friends and enjoy a bit of banter!  They both say they have benefited enormously from playing different styles of music and working with brilliant guest conductors and soloists on our Christmas and Easter courses.

Don’t be put off by having to audition.  They both say it wasn't as scary as they thought it might be.  So, come and join them.  There's no minimum age requirement but you cannot join the band if you are about to become 22 and thus too old to attend our next course. You can, however, continue (but not join) your membership of the band beyond 22 for up to two years - in this period you cannot occupy a principal's seat. Even if you are away at College or University, you can still come to the courses.

Opportunities membership of the band offers you


  • Working with the Country's foremost conductors every Christmas and Easter.  Recent guest conductors have included Dr Nicholas Childs, Tom Davoren, Richard Evans, Michael Fowles, Philip Harper, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Ian Porthouse, Paul Holland, Dr Stephen Cobb and Glyn Williams.

  • Working with leading instrumentalists. Recent soloists have included Owen Farr (horn), Zoe Hancock (flugel), Richard Marshall (cornet), Stephen Sykes (trombone), David Thornton (euphonium), Dean Wright (trumpet), Paul Richards (soprano), Philip Cobb (trumpet) and Helen Williams (flugel).

  • Performing a wide range of music chosen in consultation with the guest conductors to provide rewarding musical challenges as well as fun. Recent courses have featured many first public performances of important new works in the brass band repertoire, including "The Mermaid of Zennor" by Philip Harper and commissioned by the band to mark its 60th anniversary.

  • Having your own music performed.  On the Easter Course 2014, Ian Porthouse conducted the band in the first public performance of Dan Hall's Heaven's Shower. Ian was so impressed with this work that he has asked Dan to write other works for his Tredegar Band.

  • The opportunity to make valued and lasting friendships within the brass band world, as many former members would testify.

  • The commitment of trustees and tutors to bring you such wonderful musical opportunities course after course, year after year. A proven formula to enhance your progress as an instrumentalist and a musician.

‘Without the Cornwall Youth Brass Band I would not be the player I am today and would not have had the wonderful experiences that have come my way at this point in my life.’
So wrote Jacob Pritchard on leaving the band after attending 17 courses

How the band works

The band's year gets off to a start in September with the first of four pre-course rehearsals leading to the Christmas course.  This is repeated again in the New Year leading up to our Easter course.  The rehearsals and courses are held in Truro.  At the first rehearsal for each course, you will be given a folder of the course music.  This will include some of the guest conductor's own music, if he is a composer.

More about the rehearsals

The rehearsals are held at Truro College, where we also store our percussion instruments and our library of music.  In the rehearsals you will work with our team of local tutors.  There will be a mixture of full band and sectional rehearsals to help you get familiar with the music before the course.  Rehearsals start at 9.30pm and finish at 1.30pm.

More about courses

The Courses are held at Truro High School for Girls. The Christmas course runs from 27 to 30 December and the Easter course from Good Friday to Easter Monday. The courses follow a similar pattern, although the music, guest conductor and soloist, when we have one, will change from course to course.

On the first day, you arrive after lunch, settle in and get allocated to your bedroom (although you can participate as a non-resident if you prefer and must do so if you are under 10).  As far as possible, we try to ensure that you can share a room with a friend.  On the last day we pack up in Truro and after lunch travel to Newquay for a final short rehearsal, tea and the Evening Concert at St Michael's Church.

The days are filled with a mixture of full band rehearsals, taken by the guest conductor, and sectional rehearsals taken by our team of local tutors.  There is usually also a talk or masterclass given by the guest conductor or soloist.  Typically we finish playing at about 8.00 in the evening and start after breakfast at 9.30, with breaks for lunch, tea and refreshments from the tuck shop. Meals, prepared by the school's caterers, are taken in the school dining room.

Trustees are present by day throughout the course and a professional welfare team take over by night. If you feel sick or need help or advice, a trustee or welfare team member will assist you.

Enjoy a swim after rehearsals

If you have special dietary needs,
just let us know

Term fees

Christmas term starts in September and finishes with our Christmas course. Similarly, Easter Term starts in January and finishes with our Easter course.

There are residential and non-residential fees. The residential term fee includes music, four pre-course rehearsals and course participation, including meals and accommodation. The non-residential term fee includes music, four pre-course rehearsals and course participation, including meals but not accommodation. Term fees are payable in advance and are non-refundable. Christmas term fees are due on 1 September and Easter term fees on 1 January. You will be notified of the amounts payable in August for the Christmas term and in December for the Easter term.

The 2018 Christmas term fees are £160 residential and £120 non-residential. The Radford Charitable Trust makes grants towards these costs in cases of hardship. CYBB Trustees believe they can justifiably claim this is remarkable value for money: an opportunity right here in Cornwall that's too good to miss.

Applying for an audition

Before joining the band, you will be asked to undertake a short audition with one of our local tutors. Auditions are held at Easter and Christmas. If you are successful at Easter, you will attend the rehearsals starting in September for the Christmas course. If you are successful at Christmas, you will attend the rehearsals starting in January for the Easter course. We will consider applications for auditions at other times but only in exceptional circumstances.

It is free to audition and there is no joining fee. To apply for an audition, please print and complete an Application Form.  There are different forms for Brass Instrumentalists and Percussion Instrumentalists.

Your Application Form should be sent to the Treasurer as early as possible. The auditions will be held during our Easter and Christmas Courses, giving you in addition an opportunity to hear the band rehearse and see Truro High School for Girls.

You will be told at the conclusion of the audition if you have been successful.  If you are unsuccessful, you will be told what areas you should concentrate on to improve.  Good luck!

About the audition (brass instrumentalists)

You should bring to the audition a slow piece which will demonstrate your ability to play expressively and another which demonstrates your ability to deal with technical problems (an air varie, a florid piece or a study would be suitable).  Neither of these pieces needs to be unduly long and they could come from the same composition.    

A study is available to download to give you an indication of the entry standard required.  This may not be used as an audition piece. 

You may also be asked to sight read a short passage.


About the audition (percussion instrumentalists)

If you are successful in your audition you will have the opportunity to play the full range of the band's percussion instruments (you do not have to provide instruments).  The audition is, however, based on four disciplines: timpani, snare drum, tuned percussion and drum kit.

You will be asked to demonstrate your ability in a minimum of two of these disciplines by performing:

  •  technical work;
  •  a set piece;
  •  an own choice piece; and
  •  a sight reading exercise.

Your own choice piece and the set piece must be from different disciplines.

Use the following links to help make your choice of disciplines and see what is required.


Technical Work

Set Piece




Snare drum



Tuned percussion



Drum Kit




Tell us about your interest in joining the band

If you think you are not yet ready to take an audition but are still interested in joining at a later date, please let us know.  Simply print and complete an I'm interested form and send it to the Treasurer.  We will let you know about our Open Days – when you can hear the band rehearsing, meet tutors and see what a course is like – as well as put you on the mailing list for our Newsletters and remind you about future auditions.

Remember, we don't necessarily expect new members to be fantastic players.  We will know if you have the potential to progress as a player and where you should be placed in the band to get off to a good start to enjoy your banding with us.


Thanks to Harriet Teagle for her drawings. Harriet played trombone in the band from 2004 to 2011.

See also Diary, Practising and Rules.