Young Star- Megan Bousfield
The first Young Star I want to feature is a brilliant cornet/trumpet player and friend. I had the pleasure of playing alongside her in the Foden’s Youth Band and not only did her playing blow me away (no pun intended) but it’s always nice to meet another band geek who is just as (if not more) obsessed and in love with banding and music as I am. I’m so glad she agreed to be the first player in this feature, as she is a fine example of what this feature is all about and I’m excited to publish her experience and insight. I’m sure there are many people out there that it will inspire.
So without any further ado, please enjoy the words of Megan Bousfield on her experiences with banding.
Name: Megan Bousfield
Current band(s) and Position(s):
VBS Poynton Band: Fourth Man Down (Solo Cornet)
Foden’s Youth Brass Band: Principal Cornet
Halle Youth Orchestra: Bumper 1st Trumpet and 3rd Trumpet
What first attracted you to music and performing?
I started playing when I was six years old. What attracted me must have been how cool my Dad looked in a band jacket (six year old me just had to get with those fashion trends). Music is in every inch of my family and I couldn’t really run away from it. My Mum and Dad both play in a brass band together and it’s how they met, so watching them perform and work hard in rehearsals just became the norm. I grew up in a brass band environment and it was only common sense that I should start playing. My parents are my inspiration and I don’t think I’d be where I am today if they weren’t so enthusiastic about music and performing.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in brass bands?
If I said the pub at the end of rehearsal, that probably wouldn’t make a good impression would it? I think one of the main reasons why playing in brass bands appeals to lots of people (especially me) is the social side of it all. You become part of a brand new family when you join a brass band! Also, you can’t beat a good march, my goodness, Knight Templar is a cracking march!
Which musicians would you say inspire you?
As mentioned before, my parents have influenced me a lot, but I have to say that my Dad has inspired me the most (sorry Mum!). My Dad is just as much of a ‘band nerd’ as me and not only does he have a beautiful cornet sound, he is also an extremely talented conductor who can draw the very best out of a band. My Dad is also a fantastic teacher and for twelve years he has been by my side every step of the way and I honestly couldn’t have done it without him.
I consider Graham Walker to be my cornet hero as he has inspired me to sound good! Graham was the Principal Cornet of the Yorkshire Imperial Metals band in the early 70’s and I marvel over his sound, there aren’t many cornet players today who have come close to sounding like him. I have the great pleasure to regard Graham as a close friend. He and his wife Margaret mean the world to me and my family and we love them both deeply.
I adore funk! 70’s funk specifically. There is nothing like a bit of Stevie Wonder. I’ll tell you now, you don’t half get some funny looks dancing/walking to the bus stop on a Monday morning listening to Stevie Wonder. I’d like to think that this has influenced me. Funk has a great energy and vibe and I hope to incorporate that energy and enthusiasm into my playing.
What is your proudest musical achievement?
Where to start?! Becoming Principal Cornet of Foden’s Youth Band has to be one of them. I worked very hard towards the audition and I enjoy being a part of such an inspirational organisation. They really do value the encouragement of young players and I’m grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me!
I’m also extremely proud of my band’s (VBS Poynton) result at the area contest in Blackpool. We came fourth out of eleven bands (just behind Fairey’s, I’ll take that any day). Getting into a championship section band was a huge achievement for me as I worked hard to get there, but the result was just the cherry on top of the cake. Everyone worked so hard and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
If you had to play one piece for the rest of your life what would it be?
MacArthur Park by Jimmy Webb, arranged by Barry Forgie. One word: TUNE!
What are your future playing goals?
To keep improving my playing and become the best I can be, but also to make sure I have fun doing so. I’m taking a year out next year to audition for music college, which is an exciting part of my life. I am really looking forward to this. Hopefully one day there might be a seat for me at Foden’s, but we can only dream!
Would you consider a career in music?
Definitely! It’s the only thing I’m good at, besides falling over. I want to be involved in encouraging the younger generations in getting involved in music. Having an enthusiastic role model to inspire you to play an instrument, whether it be the bass guitar or the spoons (a personal favourite), is one of the most important parts to play in a child’s education and I would love to do just that! I want to inspire children to find their love of music.
Apart from playing in brass bands, are there any other projects you’d like to get involved in?
I do lots of conducting at college and value it just as much as my cornet and trumpet playing. I’m learning lots from it and I hope to carry it on in the future to a more professional level.
How do you feel about banding today and is there anything you would change?
The banding world has changed massively over the past fifty years and I guess today it’s as good as it’s ever been, with new composers creating exciting and interesting music for bands to play and new ‘banding stars’ impressing us with their ‘never heard before’ virtuosic acts. Banding is just moving with the times and is always finding new ways to keep this culture alive.
Why do you think young people should get involved in brass bands and playing music?
Young people need to get involved with playing music because there is no other form of learning like it! Playing a musical instrument has been proven to use multiple areas of the brain, especially the Motor Visual and Auditory Sectors. No other activity does that and by playing an instrument our brains become stronger and more powerful. It is proven that musical training helps develop language and reasoning skills, skills that can’t be taught by a textbook. Being part of a brass band means you are learning how to work as a team to create an end product (the performance of music), a skill that can be quite hard to learn at a small age. Music also teaches people how to feel and express emotion, which is always an important skill to have.
“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable”- Leonard Bernstein.
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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