Young Star- Jack Lythaby
From Primary School learner to high flyer in just eight years. This well experienced horn player is now a National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain Solo Horn player, a first horn player for one of Wales’ top Championship Section bands and has been awarded The Most Outstanding Horn player at last year’s Foden’s Solo Competition. As well as gaining a vast amount of success, this month’s Young Star has collected a wealth of knowledge, first class playing experience and worthy awards for his talent which I’m sure will provide plenty of inspiration for other young players. His opinions and suggestions for the banding world today are definitely food for thought and are a perfect example of just how forward thinking the younger generation of our movement truly are. Here is a view of the banding world from this month’s Young Star- Jack Lythaby.
Bands & Positions:
Tredegar Town Band- First Horn
National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain- Solo Horn
How did you first start playing in brass bands?
I started on the tenor horn at my local primary school when I was ten years old and joined the local training band (Lydbrook Training Band) a few months later. After a few years, I joined the Bream Silver Band on First Horn and spent two years there gaining further playing experience. In 2015 I joined Lydbrook’s Champion Section senior band and worked my way through the section and at the start of 2016, I earned a promotion to the seat of Principal Horn. In March this year, I was approached by Tredegar Town Band to join their Horn section, which was an invitation I gladly accepted.
What is your favourite memory of banding?
My favourite memory of banding is from when I played with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain in the Barbican Centre in London. It was made even better when my main tuning slide fell out halfway through one of the pieces!
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve been given and which musicians inspire you?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received came from Richard Marshall on this year’s Easter National Youth Band course. He said ‘if you want to make it as a top band player, you’ve got to be a good person, as well as a good player.’ This stuck with me because it goes to show that it’s not all about your ability as a player, but what you’re like as a person too.
My top inspirations, as a horn player, are Owen Farr, Chris Davies and Alisa Russell. They’re all amazing players, are very down to earth and always willing to help. Musically, my inspirations are Glyn Williams and Bramwell Tovey (Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra and Artistic Director of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain). Both are excellent musicians and conductors who draw every ounce, musically, from the score- whether it’s a test piece or a hymn tune.
One of my proudest musical achievements is winning the ‘Most Outstanding Tenor Horn’ prize at last year’s Foden’s Solo Contest. This is because there were many outstanding Horn Players participating and to be chosen as the best out of all of them was a proud moment for me.
Are there any other musical projects, aside from banding, that you are involved in or would like to be involved in?
I quite enjoy arranging music for brass band and brass ensembles. I’m currently in the process of arranging J.S Bach’s famous ‘Little Fugue in G Minor’ for brass band.
What are your thoughts on contests today?
I think that contests today are great, but feel that the music they choose could be better. They should be looking to commission new, innovative works rather than re-using existing repertoire. Other than that, I really enjoy them!
If you had to play one piece for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s a difficult one, as I don’t have a specific answer! At the moment, I’m enjoying Edward Gregson’s Dances and Arias (played on last week’s National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain’s summer course), but that will probably change to Bert Appermont’s ‘A Brussel’s Requiem’ during the next few weeks!
I do consider music as a career, though I’m still not entirely sure in what form, whether it’s teaching (I already have one student) or something else. I’m quite interested in the publishing and business side of it, so that could be something I might look into at a later date. I am looking forward to starting my degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama next month and exploring the different aspects that are included in the course syllabus.
Why do you think it is important for young people to be involved in music and why should they consider playing in a brass band?
I think that it’s important for young people to be involved in music because it helps you to develop so many interpersonal skills, such as communication and team work, as well as helping you to grow in confidence.
Young people should consider being in a brass band, because there is such a wide range of music available from orchestral transcription to pop songs. As well as this, the contesting side of banding gives a boost of adrenaline every now and then which helps to excite those who are competitive.
How do you feel about the brass band world today?
I feel that the overall standard of British Banding needs to improve, so that we can give European Bands, such as Eikanger and Valasia, a tougher challenge at contests such as the Europeans and the British Open- as well as providing the audience with more outstanding performances (the European audiences are so passionate and supportive during the contest). The European bands seem to play much more challenging music than most British bands. Look at this year’s Europeans as an example. Valasia played Simon Dobson’s ‘The Turing Test’, which is a piece that would challenge even the very best of our bands. If we’re not careful, we could see European dominance at competitions such as the Europeans and the British Open.
Would you like to be featured as a Young Star?
If you’re aged 24 or under, play in brass bands and would like to be featured, feel free to get in touch!
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