Saturday, April 14, 2012

Music and Sports

Brass instruments have had a connection with sports since the ancient times.  For example, the Roman cornu was sounded at gladiator fights.
Today, it is very common in America for schools to have marching bands which perform at football games.  Although marching bands include a lot of brass instruments, this post is going to focus on the connection between sports and brass instruments.  There are many existing examples of brass instruments connected to sports.

In 2010, the FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa.  An instrument called the vuvuzela became the talk of the world.  People either loved it or hated it.  Although these instruments are not made of brass, they require lip buzzing to produce a sound.

Here is a video where you can hear the sound of the vuvuzela.

Brass instruments can also be used for sports like horse races.  Churchill Downs employs a bugler who plays for each race. Here is a link to an article about the bugler.  The bugler plays alone unless there is a special occassion with more players such as the race in this video:

In England, the band called the England Supporters plays for every football (soccer) game.  This brass band has traveled with the team around the world.  Here, they have a music video in support of the team. (It starts after about 30 seconds of silliness.)

Besides music played at sporting events, there are other connections between music and sports.  Musicians can create their own sporting events and groups.  For example, when I was working on my masters degree, I was on the horn studio hockey team, Tuckwell Attack. It was part of the school intramural sports program. When I was searching online for information about this topic, I came across this post about the International World Brass Band Ski Championship. 

Musicians can also use sports as an educational tool.  Here is a link to a programming guide developed by the Peachtree Brass Quintet. This is just one of their several programs developed to take into schools. This program includes pieces like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and the "Olympic Fanfare" to teach kids about music. 

It seems to me that there is a lot of talk about how music is being cut from schools but sports are thriving like always.  Maybe we can use the connections between the two to promote music and show its value.  Almost every sporting event from little league to professional plays the national anthem.  Why don't we play it and promote live music instead of recordings? This is a very short and easy gig that we can all do. Music at sporting events seems to be an untapped area to perform and promote music. 


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  2. Also interesting is the fact that we musicians have stolen some ideas from sports. When you stop and think about it, we are where we are because we've competed against other people to go to certain schools, to study with certain teachers, or play in certain ensembles. For instance, Chris Martin the (the principal trumpet in the Chicago Symphony) is where he is because he was the last guy standing in a very competitive audition process. Most schools have concerto competitions, and there competitions like the National Trumpet Competition where the nation's top young trumpeters compete for recognition and scholarship money. As much as musicians and people in the fine arts like to pride ourselves ourselves on being relatable and easygoing, you have to do a lot of competing to work your way up in the field of professional music-making.

    I do agree that the less canned music at sporting events, the better. Think of the jobs that could be created by cutting even part of that out in favor of live music!