We are always looking for good young musicians, particularly for the younger bands. If you feel you would like to join, do please contact us, either by telephone 01675 442050 or by email.
Some of the most asked questions are set out below. If you have any other queries, please do get in touch.
- What age do I have to be to join MYJO?
There are no lower age limits to joining MYJO, but there is an upper age limit of 25 years. In the youngest band, players sometimes start as young as nine or ten. The average ages for each band are: MYJO 3 10-15, MYJO TOO! 14-20, and the senior band 16-25 years, but these are only guidelines. Players are placed in the band according to their ability, so occasionally we have a nineteen year old join with a need to improve music reading skills in MYJO 3. Occasionally we have a 14 year old player in MYJO 1.
- What standard do I have to be to join MYJO?
We are not looking for Grade passes in players joining MYJO, but they do help to give an indication of the general standard required. For MYJO 3, therefore Grade 4 standard would be required. For MYJO TOO!, Grade 6-8, and for the senior band, grade 8+. If you do not have these passes, you will not necessarily be excluded from MYJO, but they are a useful indicator of standard and your determination to succeed. What we are looking for are people with a liking for jazz, and with a willingness to ‘have a go’. No previous experience in this kind of music is necessary for the youngest band.
If you are apprehensive about improvisation, but still like the idea of joining, please be assured that we give everyone time to settle into the band, and that no-one is forced to improvise before they feel ready. Having said that, we hope that in due course, everyone will improvise, but we will show you how to go about it, so don’t worry! For the older bands, previous experience of big band and jazz playing will be required. Very occasionally, players join the first band directly, but this will only happen if 1) we have a vacancy and 2) players have outstanding ability. Most players will be expected to play in MYJO 3, or in MYJO TOO!, for a period before auditioning for the senior band.
- Do I have to be able to improvise before joining MYJO?
No, you don’t, but we like to see people prepared to make the effort, even at the early stages. Improvising is great fun, and once you have made that first attempt, you will never look back.
- Is there an audition for joining MYJO?
We like to hear everyone before they join MYJO. Very occasionally, we feel that people are just too young, and we advise them to come back in 6-12 months. If you have a piece of music you feel you play well, then there’s a good chance we will enjoy it as well. Auditions are very informal, so nothing to worry about. For MYJO TOO!, we would be looking for experience in reading jazz, and probably some improvisation as well, but we are flexible. We do feel that sight reading is important in this kind of music, and we therefore ask everyone to attempt a piece at an appropriate level.
- How much does it cost to join MYJO?
The subscription from September 2008 – August 2009 is £40 and can be payed weekly, termly or in advance, annually. MYJO rehearses virtually throughout the year, including most holidays, so this represents good value for money. During heavy holiday periods, when many people are absent, we combine the two younger bands. If you have a genuine problem in paying your subscription, please talk to us; there may be a solution.
- Do I have to pay for a uniform?
Above is our attractive logo as designed by Mike Beaumont, the founder of MYJO. This is shown on MYJO Tee Shirts which are provided FREE at the time of your first concert with MYJO. A three band concert is performed at the end of every school term, usually on a Sunday lunchtime. If you would like to see MYJO before joining, come and see us at one of these concerts, or alternatively, come along to our rehearsals and have a look.
The three band concert offers the opportunity for parents and friends to see MYJO in action, and to see the older more accomplished players performing as well. This also gives younger players an opportunity to assess their own standard, with a view to movement up to the next orchestra. This termly concert is the culmination of each band’s hard work and is a great time for us to share in each others progress.
- What do you expect of me in MYJO?
We hope that when you join MYJO, you will stay with us for a long time, aim for the highest standards, and enjoy your music at the same time. MYJO is well reputed not only in the UK but abroad as well. Remember that we are all in MYJO because we want to be, not because we have to be. We have a responsibility to ensure that MYJO is well thought of, not only on stage, but also because of the way it conducts itself off stage as well.