Brass Beats!


For children and adults interested in developing their skills on brass or percussion instruments.

The Watford Band launched Brass Beats on 19th January 2023! For all ages, it’s a place where aspiring players can learn together in a fun, welcoming, encouraging band environment. You’re able to develop together as musicians all while making friends too! Find all the latest news about Brass Beats below.

Latest News

July 2023
The Brass Beats team have recently been awarded a grant from Watford Council and the Mayors Small Grant Fund. This will enable the group to purchase much needed instruments and music and will provide more opportunities for others to join the group as they will be able to loan an instrument from us.
Our thanks to Irma Mullins who completed the grant application form on behalf of the band and our thanks to Watford Council for their continued support. This will help enhance the future of Brass Beats even more.

May 2023
During May we had our first live performance to an audience at Norwood Carnival in Bushey and considering the development band only formed in January this year, this was such an achievement for these budding musicians. 🎵
They all worked really hard at rehearsals. They even practised playing outside at one rehearsal to get used to different surroundings and to manage the music. Many musicians can experience a sudden gust of wind, and the music blows off the stand! 💨
The Brass Beats members played so well. They were full of confidence and enthusiasm. It was so good to see them enjoying themselves. Well done to everyone, and a special mention to our soloists, Mia and Theo, who stood up and played their solos brilliantly.
Special thanks to Norwood and Natalie Burger for inviting us to be part of their day. We really enjoyed ourselves. opefully this is the first of many.

March 2023

A Brass Beats rehearsal where Wendy Topping visited us.

We had Wendy Topping visit us at Brass Beats! Wendy is the regional manager of Watford School of Music and Herts Music Service. She came along to learn more about Brass Beats and was keen to see us in action. It's an exciting time for Brass Beats and what it means for brass banding in the Watford area.

February 2023
We've been awarded some funding by Hertfordshire Community Foundation for Brass Beats! We're very grateful for this and look forward to sharing more news about how this has impacted us. Scroll down for more information about this.

January 2023
Our first session was a hit! Thank you all for coming and so glad to hear you enjoyed yourselves! There was so much progress just in one rehearsal!
Read some of the feedback from our first session:

"I thought it was great"

"Mia loved it. I think she surprised herself - she said she was nervous and didn't think she would do well"

"Theo was great!"


Our aims are:
- to help and encourage everyone's development as musicians,
- to educate and train members in their music skills,
- to spread awareness of Brass Bands within schools and the wider community,
- to inspire the next generation of brass musicians,
- to boost players' enjoyment of Brass Band music.



Opportunities at Brass Beats will include putting on mini concerts for your family, and being able to join in with the main band as you progress! There'll also be a chance to play fun and well-known pieces of course! An added bonus is that, with rehearsals in Bushey, Watford, we're also conveniently located and a great choice for those living in or near to Watford! We're near the M25, A41 and we have good bus and train links.

Instrument Loans

Not owning your own instrument doesn't have to stop you from joining in the fun! We can offer instrument loans to joining players depending on the instrument needed and the availability of them. Speak to Karen for more information if this is something you are considering.


We welcome players of all ages; parents may like to know that Watford Band is proudly BBE BandSafe trained and compliant, and can view our child protection policy here.


In February 2023 we were lucky enough to be awarded some funding from Hertfordshire Community Foundation, and in August 2023 we were awarded a further grant from Watford Borough Council. These will go towards instruments, music and other items that will be important to the growth and development of Brass Beats. We are very grateful to both of them for these and are excited about what it means for the future of brass banding in Watford and what it could mean for those future players who want to join us. This funding can make all the difference and could mean that more people who may not be able to afford a brass instrument can join us and make use of our instrument loan. We're very grateful to be awarded this funding and look forward to sharing the impacts of this.

Contact Us

If you're interested in joining in the fun at Brass Beats or would like more information, contact:
Karen, the Brass Beats manager
📞07796 175838 or via email at


Thursdays, 6:30pm - 7:15pm


Bushey, Watford

The band rehearses in our own band hut at the Lincolnsfield Centre, in Watford (the postcode's WD23 2ES). You can view a map here. You'll get to a one-way system and our band hut is around half-way down the road with the band's name on the side.


With conductor, Martyn France


About Martyn

Conductor of Brass Beats

Martyn conducting the Watford Band in St James' Park, London, in 2006

Martyn conducting the Watford Band in St James' Park, London, in 2006

Since an early age Martyn always enjoyed playing a brass instrument. Being brought up through the Salvation Army, his grandfather, his father and both his uncles were Bandmasters at some time or other. At school, instead of being in class, you would find him in the music cupboard sorting out the next school production, or organising the music for assembly.

Martyn moved up through the ranks of the Salvation Army music world, finally playing EEb Bass in the local Salvation Army Band in Hemel Hempstead, where his father served as Bandmaster for 39 years. Though Martyn moved to Aberdeen, Scotland in 1982, he settled into Scottish Brass Banding quite quickly. He joined the local band, UDI (Brass) Aberdeen and got to conduct them for a local competition and this started his passion for conducting. He also spent a year as the President of The North Scotland Brass Band Association where he organised competitions and the local area finals. Martyn says it was here that he got an insight into how the Brass Band movement works.

When Martyn moved back home to Hemel Hempstead he join the local band Atlas Copco Band (now Hemel Hempstead Band) where he played Euphonium, Trombone and even Baritone at one time. Here Martyn was also able to be Assistant Musical Director to his father so his ‘conducting skills were watched over by a good teacher’.

Martyn was Watford Band’s musical director from 2003 until 2007, where he achieved much success with the band such as helping the band to rise up to 3rd Section and also reaching the National Finals in 2006. He also conducted the band when they recorded their CD, titled ‘Breezin!’ in 2004. Since then Martyn has conducted Moulton 77 and Staines Lammas Band and played with various different bands, often helping out Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Hitchin Brass Bands.


About Karen

Manager of Brass Beats

Karen has been a member of Watford Band since the age of 11. She started playing at the age of 10 when a neighbour asked her to try a trumpet. She then had lessons and her teacher at the time, Brian Harrison, told her about the junior band at Watford Band that he ran on a Thursday night. The junior band at the time had 12 players all at a similar age and level, and it gave Karen the opportunity to create friends and learn how to play as part of an ensemble. They also put on concerts for the families of the members, which took place at the same band hut that the band rehearses in today. They were even given the opportunity to play at village fetes under the direction of Brian Harrison.

Karen very quickly progressed and was asked to join the main band along with a few others. Since her time with the band, she has seen many changes but it has always remained a place to escape normal life pressures, and she has made some great lifelong friends. In the earlier years the band regularly organised social events, including quiz nights, party nights, crazy golf and bowling. This is something the band is looking forward to organising again now that the Pandemic has calmed down. The band has also been on many tours which Karen also got the chance to be part of, these included The Isle of Wight, Germany and Denmark. She has had the opportunity to take part in competitions, play at weddings, fetes, perform on bandstands and put on concerts.

The main band has a real community atmosphere where people want to help, listen and obviously make good music together, making it such a good team to be part of. Karen feels that the development band is important not only for the music of Watford but also for the development of music skills for the children in Watford and the surrounding areas.

Registered charity number 1105301