Welcome to
Ulriken Janitsjar!

We are a school band for Fridalen skole, Slettebakken skole, Nattland Oppveksttun, and Sædalen skole. In addition, we have members also from other schools - everyone is welcome! Ulriken Janitsjar is a wind orchestra, with flutes, clarinets, saxophones, cornets/trumpets, french horns, euphonia, and tubas plus a diverse rhythm section.

We play in Norway's top league, and in the Norwegian championship in 2021 we came third!

Group practice is at Slettebakken skole every Monday 17.30-20.00.

As a member, you will borrow an instrument, attend group practice, plus receive individual instruction every week. 

Playing music together in an orchestra is a fantastic hobby you can enjoy all your life! It is social, fun, you learn to play, and you will meet many friends that share your interests. You will be part of a team where everyone is valuable and valued!

Do you want to join?

Playing in a school band is a different team activity, where the children create something together without being competitive. Instead, they are positively and mutually dependent on each other to achieve good results. Nobody plays reserve, everyone is fully integrated the whole time. This provides a secure and inclusive social setting, plus well-deserved pride when one together plays beautiful music at a concert!  

Below, we have gathered frequently asked questions about what it is like to play in a school band, and how it is to be a parent. If you want to join us, please email post@ulrikenjanitsjar.no or phone Sigrun Åsebø on mobile 41683977.

What is life in school band like for children?

What is a school band?

A school band is an orchestra with wind instruments and percussion. Typical instruments are flute, clarinet, saxophones, cornet/trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba, plus the rhythm section. In Norway, most people associate school bands with marching on Constitution Day 17 May, fewer know that the rest of the year they play symphonic and entertainment music, give concerts, and participate in competitions.

Does everyone play together?

The first year is spent in aspirantkorpset together with other beginners. With Pernille, the conductor, you learn rhythms, to read notes, and playing instruments together. From the second year and for 2-3 years, you will be a member of juniorkorpset, with Sissel in charge. Melodies, harmonies, and rhythms become more challenging. Hovedkorpset plays symphonic and popular music and is conducted by Arild. In 2021, they ended up third in the first league of the Norwegian championship and are thus among the best school bands in Norway! In hovedkorpset, you can play until the year you turn 19.

Where and when is practice?

Juniorkorpset practices every Monday 17:30-19:00 at Slettebakken skole, and usually aspirantkorpset is next door so they have common breaks and befriend each other. Hovedkorpset also has practice on Mondays at Slettebakken skole, but it last somewhat longer, from 17:30 until 20:00. Once a week each musician has a half-hour individual lesson on their instrument with a professional instructor. We try to arrange this on your nearest school and at a time that suits you.

Is the social environment safe and supportive?

Everyone knows everyone in Ulriken Janitsjar! Kids reach out across ages to make friends and have fun. In breaks, at seminars, and on trips, the kids take good care of each other under supervision of parents and instructors. Creating something together causes a wonderful feeling of belonging. In the school band, all instruments and parts are important and add value to what everyone else experiences. Because of this, mutual dependence and respect go both ways – young children have role models in the older musicians and the older ones support the younger ones by engaging with them.

At what age should one begin in the school band?

Most children begin in third or fourth grade of primary school. Every year, some older musicians also begin, regardless of whether they have played an instrument for some time or start from scratch. Older children often learn more quickly, and we individually adjust progression to more advanced levels so they quickly can play together with kids of their own age.

Can one choose which instrument to play?

The children have a large influence on which instrument they receive, but at the same time it would be boring if everyone played, say, flutes or drums only. Our conductors therefore have suggestions for what the school band as a whole needs. It is also easier to begin on smaller instruments and change to larger ones later. It is common to begin with cornet (a slightly shorter trumpet), French horn, clarinet, flute or drums, sometimes saxophone or trombone. As they grow, they may shift to larger brass instruments such as euphonium or tuba, and from clarinet to saxophone, bass clarinet, or oboe. Depending on individual progress and the needs of the orchestra, the conductor may suggest an instrument to test, but it is always up to the musician to decide.

Does one need to know how to read sheet music?

We assume no prior knowledge. Children learn incredibly fast while they do things together or copy others, so there are no theory lesson, just learning by doing.

Is there a lot of outdoor marching?

Marching is a minor part of the regular activity of a school band. Ulriken Janitsjar spends most of the time playing entertainment and symphonic music indoors.

How does one acquire the technical skills for playing an instrument?

In addition to group practice once a week, each musician receives 30 minutes individual instruction with a professional instructor per week. Here the focus is on technical skills and mastering the instrument.

... and what is it like for parents

Do we need to buy an instrument?

No, the school band has instruments for everyone that the children can borrow for as long as they are members. As they grow older and more skilled, they can borrow a better and more expensive instrument. One advantage with instruments being owned by the school band is that it is easer to try another instrument for a while.

What does it cost to be a member?

The member fee is currently 1300 kroners per half year per musician. In aspirantkorpset you pay only half the regular price. In comparison, music lessons in the municipal culture school cost more than twice as much. If your family economy is limiting participation, please contact us and we will find a solution – in full confidentiality of course.

Do I as a parent need to know how to play an instrument or read musical notes?

No, the children will learn everything they need through organized instruction.

Is there a lot of driving required?

Instruments are often large and heavy, particularly for the youngest musicians. Although these would benefit from transport, there is a culture of ride sharing and helping so share your needs and it is likely someone can assist. Weekly group practice is at Slettebakken skole (near bybane and bus) and we try as far as we manage to offer individual instruction at the nearest school.

How much voluntary work is required?

As a parent it is expected that you help serve fruit and assist with practical things during group practice once or twice per semester. In addition, the school band is raising money by organizing a flea market, usually in September. That weekend you are expected to participate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, plus maybe an evening in the weeks just prior to it.

How does the school band fund its activities?

The most important source of income is governmental or private funding schemes for voluntary organizations. Thereafter comes the flea market and member fees.

What takes place during a typical year?

Life in a school band follows the school year. One of the earliest weekends after school begins in August, we go somewhere out of town for a seminar to get a flying start with social and musical life. In the autumn of 2020 and 2021 we travelled to Voss, hovedkorpset from Friday to Sunday and juniorkorpset Saturday to Sunday (this is before aspirantkorpset has begun). One weekend in September we arrange a flea market (in some years also in spring). Later in the autumn there might be a concert or competition, often with a weekend dedicated to practice beforehand, most likely in town. We try to arrange seminars for hovedkorpset and juniorkorpset together, with a joint informal concert for family and friends Sunday afternoon. In December, we arrange a concert before school break, and often this is the first time everyone hears aspirantkorpset in concert! The new year begins with another seminar out of town to strengthen social coherence. In March, there is a county-level competition for hovedkorpset and aspirantkorpset, and often we practice a weekend in advance. Prior to Constitution Day, we practice a bit outdoors on marches and marching, with a particular focus on including the young ones. In June, hovedkorpset participates in the national championship, often arranged in Eastern Norway. Before summer break, we arrange a closing concert, sometimes in collaboration with another school band for extra fun.

(All photos: Lucius Bader.)