Dan Moore knows how music can change your life. The Leyland Band member tells FIONA FINCH how much he owes to his mum and dad for their support and to the Awards For Young Musicians charity which helped him as a teenager.
Dan Moore hit the right note from the start.
Aged just two years old he spotted his dad’s tuba propped up in the hall ... and the rest is history.
According to family legend Dan’s precocious ability to get a note from the big instrument (see photo below right) was a sure sign he was destined to play in a brass band.
In time he joined his dad in Lancashire’s Poulton -le- Fylde Brass Band listening, learning and playing.
He learned the piano too, but it was the lure of the band which won.
Now the young musician is appearing in a new mini film recently released by the charity Awards For Young Musicians.
He has a special story to tell – of how music has changed his life, opened unexpected doors and helped him build lasting friendships.
But more particularly he acknowledges that the Awards For Young Musicians (AYM) organisation played a major role in shaping his career and destiny by granting him thousands of pounds to buy a new euphonium when he was a teenager.
Dan, who lives in Leyland, said: “They gave me about £3,000. The better the instrument is the better you sound. I needed a better instrument but my parents weren’t in a financial position to spend three of four grand on an instrument. It helped me carry on making music. I think the charity is really important for people in the financial situation where parents don’t have thousands.”
Without that support he says: “I wouldn’t be doing what I do today. My parents made the weekly sacrifices paying out for brass lessons, piano lessons, then we would go on band tours and trips. They were paying for that.
“Thinking about it, now I’m in control of my own finances, it must have been a heck of a burden for them. Just that £3,000 for an instrument was a step too far.”
He believes musical education can today be too easily overlooked, or become a poor relation when funding is tight. With the arts often the victim of spending cuts and with private tuition beyond the reach of poorer families he points out that talent can be missed or stifled for want of the right opportunities.
The 24-year-old knows he was fortunate. Attending Hodgson’s Academy in Poulton- le -Fylde Dan, who lived in Cleveleys, was also in the school band.
“I started on the euphonium from the word go. Basically it was the size of a small tuba. Growing up it was quite heavy to carry round. I must have been about 11 or 12 when I joined Poulton Band. My dad plays now in the band and I still go to help out now and again.”
Meanwhile Dan achieved an early ambition to join the ranks of the award winning world class Leyland Band two years ago. He talks enthusiastically about band culture and the friends made in any musical group: “You have about 28 people from different walks of life who gather to share music. The amazing thing is you don’t play classical, pop or sheet music, you play it all … a collection of everything!”
“I did an informal audition. I used all my experience I had learned growing up and obviously I played a lot of the music they already played. They are one of the most famous bands in the world in terms of brass bands. It was a real step up. It’s like playing in the Champions League when you are in the lower leagues in football.”
Dan has played at the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Imperial Palace, Innsbruck, Austria with the Leyland Band.
Dan missed playing on the local band scene when he won a place to study music at Oxford University: “I think I was the only one in a year group of 1,000 from Blackpool Sixth Form College to get to Oxford.
“It was amazing. It was all classical music and choirs. I kept trying to introduce people to brass music at every available opportunity. I like to say tutors were convinced at the end. I left them with some CDs that I like to think they will listen to.”
Aware of the many opportunities afforded by his undergraduate studies he returned to the college: “I went back to work as a tutor to try to convince more people to go to Oxford or Cambridge this last year. I think eight students went, better than just me when I was there.”
“I think music (study) is completely undervalued. It draws together all different aspects of your brain, but it’s also the mixture of things – think of the concentration, the practise, the commitment and the determination.”
From a young age he says he learned these skills and applied them to the rest of his life.
“It meant I could sit still and concentrate,” he said.
He also fears music could become a victim of social change with expectations of “here and now” instant success. “You’ve got to work at it, music can take you years.
“You’ve to keep playing from 10 to 14. Then you reap the rewards when you are good at 15.”
Aware of just how much it costs to study and own a musical instrument he said: “I think unfortunately music is becoming a bit of a social elite activity which is really frustrating. There will be fewer people taking up all sorts of music.”
Dan, who also plays the organ for St Nicholas church in Wrea Green, now works for the Star Academies trust, based in Blackburn, as a marketing and communications officer. He credits getting this role with skills honed with marketing and promoting band concerts and events. Keenly aware that these must be promoted in the local press, on Facebook and Twitter he now does the social media and press publicity for Leyland Band, but not for its website.
He said: “You’ve got to be savvy. Someone in each band has to take responsibility for that. I enjoyed doing that and it’s ended up me deciding where my career might lie in a writing digital job.”
• Dan can be seen talking about his musical journey on the AYM film at: https://youtu.be/gpzfav5NYOk The website for Awards for Young Musicians is: iswww.a-y-m.org.uk