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Fame at last!

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Exmouth_Journal_040117Fame at last! Well in Exmouth anyway. Nevertheless, it seems that my story appears to be newsworthy and has been printed in my home town's local rag. To be honest, it makes a change from pictures and editorial of me and my work as a police officer that used to feature fairly frequently.

The article was supposed to appeal to younger people at a time when they didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives, or didn't believe their talents could prove fruitful, but that's not exactly how it comes across. What I meant was, you're only a failure if you believe what others tell you, and accept that as the only truth there is. I've proved all of those people wrong.  I failed my 'Eleven Plus', did miserably at school, redeeming myself somewhat by obtaining two 'A' levels despite what people told me, then failed to get into music college, and failed again to obtain a degree at C F Mott College. I then tried and failed at accountancy (it was never me anyway) - didn't really get off the ground if the truth be told! However, again much to everyone's surprise, I did make a success of being a policeman for thirty years, during which time my music was always a part of me, what with membership of The Band of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and the British Police Symphony Orchestra.

Finally obtaining a 1st Class Honours degree in music at the ripe old age of 48 years, I surprised everyone, but there were still those who said I'd never make it as a professional musician in my retirement. Well, maybe I won't ever be a household name, and I'm not sure I'd want to be either, but my music will outlive me, and is out there being played around the world.

I'm happy with the way things have turned out, and roll on 2018!

Christmas Music at Killerton House

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Once again here at Dance is With Music we have been asked to arrange the performance of Christmas Music at the National Trust, Killerton House near Broadclyst in Devon in 2017. Leaving it only everso slightly late to ask this year, I'm delighted to say that through my endless music contacts in the South West, I have been able to fill all the available dates, and, pending any cancellations, this is the line-up this year:


Saturday 25th November - Devon Fire & Rescue Service Band
Sunday 26th November - Camelford Town Band
Saturday 2nd December - SW Comms Band
Sunday 3rd December - Tiverton Town Band
Saturday 9th December - Flute Cake
Sunday 10th December - Camelford Town Band
Saturday 16th December - Esoteric Brass Quintet
Sunday 17th December - Coffee House Consort
Saturday 23rd December - Teachers Rock Choir

With exception of the two choirs, and at the request of the National Trust, there will only be small ensembles from each band, and each group will perform two sets of festive music between 12.00pm and 4.00pm on each occasion. Give them your support. It's also a great time to visit Killerton House, who put on a fantastic themed display in their property every Christmas, and it's well worth the entry fee I can promise you!

Check out the Facebook event page which will give you regular updates and notice of any changes to the line-up.




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One is ever so slightly excited about this! My original composition Excalibur (with a taste of the Wagnerian about it) has gone on global release in the new 2017 Mf Publications brochure! I love what they've done with the cover, and really hope that the piece is played all over the world at concerts, and even better, at the occasional contest.

It's promoted alongside music by Alan Fernie and Simon Kerwin, and together with my concert march Heroes of the Sky and trombone tro Midnight in Moscow. I'm really chuffed!


Hot of the press!

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Fresh in from MF Publications - a pristine copy of all my compositions and arrangements published by them! One is suitably chuffed, and just a little humbled. I hope you all like the pieces - and I look forward to hearing them at concerts, and who knows - even the odd contest.


Changes to EU legislation to modernise copyright rules

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The European Commission (EC) has proposed new legislation to modernise EU copyright rules, so the creative industries can continue to grow in the online market. On 14 September, the EC set out proposals to increase access to digital content across the EU, while bringing clearer rules on the use of works by online platforms, specifically user uploaded content (UUC), also referred to as user generated content (UGC), services e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud etc. 

Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft said: 

PRS has been at the very forefront of the ‘transfer of value’ debate, calling for legal clarity to address problems in the online content market and a return of consent to creators. We, therefore, very much welcome the Commission’s recognition of the problem and the opportunity the proposed Directive represents to address the current imbalance of interests between user upload platforms and rightsholders. There is still much work to do in order to build consensus in the European Parliament and member states, but we will work with our partners across the creative industries to secure this much needed reform.

What does this mean for me?

The proposed changes will provide essential legal framework to allow members to more effectively share in the true value of their works on these services. This will be achieved by making sure user upload services are required to enter into licensing agreements with rightsholders. The proposed changes would clarify that UUC services cannot claim the Safe Harbour Defence in order to avoid liability for the use of copyright protected works on their platforms. They would be obliged to be fully and appropriately licensed by rightsholders. This legal certainty would help when negotiating licence deals, meaning a fairer deal for creators. 

The proposals also contain measures to improve the control rightsholders would have over their works online. Services providing access to large amounts of copyright protected works would have to take measures to prevent unlicensed or unauthorised content appearing on their services. This could include using content recognition and management technology. There is no set timeline for these proposals; the reforms are now subject to amendment and development by the European Parliament. However, the proposals represent a significant first step towards a fairer, better functioning copyright framework.

Please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information on the EC’s draft legislation and its future implications.

The Cherubim Music Trust

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The Cherubim Music Trust (Charity #1088403) owes its existence to Clancy Steer, who founded it in response to her personal experience and keen understanding of the needs of young musicians:

“Our daughter Serafina chose to take up the harp aged seven. To begin with, she had access to a table harp (clarsach) For her first pedal harp we were able to buy an aged Pleyel for £1200. After the VIth form at Chethams Specialist Music School, where she had access to a first-rate concert harp, in 2000 she was due to go to music college and we were faced with buying her a £10,000 instrument. As we had only recently moved house a further loan was out of the question. For us, a genuine fairy godmother provided a suitable instrument, which laid the ground for Serafina’s later successes as a harpist and songwriter.”



By way of gratitude Clancy took steps to create the Cherubim Music Trust to help others in similar situations.

The National Foundation for Youth Music confirms that after years of inadequate funding and the advent of student loans, many talented student musicians do not have the resources to acquire instruments that match their performance needs. The difference in the cost of a good student instrument and that of a professional one is measured in thousands of pounds. Whilst this is not one of the world’s most urgent issues, it is a huge problem for most young musicians starting out in music.

I am delighted to have been asked to promote this wonderful initiative through social media and hope that you will take an interest and spread the word.

John Packer Ltd

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John_Packer_logoSome sad news for you all:

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have reluctantly had to resign from my position at John Packer Ltd in Taunton.

Before rumours abound, I have not been sacked - I have had to leave for reasons of which many of you will already be aware.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the staff at John Packer Ltd., and will continue to promote and support all that they do.

You may well still see me on trade stands at brass band contests - come and say hello!

Premier Resonator drums for sale

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A day tinged with sadness: my cherished Deco Yellow Premier Resonator drums are for sale. I've purchased a new (well 'old' actually - but in mint condition) red lacquer finish set of Premier Resonator drums and I'm delighted with them. So, here's the pics - and note the floor tom has already sold. The sizes are: 10 x 9 and 13 x 10 toms, 14 x 6 snare, 20 x 16 bass drum complete with tom mount.

NB (30th August): All gone! Sobs uncontrollably.


There's also a pair of red lacquer Premier Resonator 14 "tom-toms complete with stand that are surplus to my requirements.

NB: Both red drums now sold 23/08/2016



As Only A Heart Would Dare

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Hot off the press and copyright permissions granted, here's a new one for you. As Only A Heart Would Dare is a song by Susan Aglukark - an Inuit Canadian singer/songwriter from her hit album 'Blood Red Earth'- which combines her original melody with that of 'Amazing Grace'.

With a lovely harmonic structure that works with both tunes, this piece is a brilliant addition to your band's concert repertoire, and would be a welcome addition to an 'Entertainment Contest' programme.

Existing music from MF Publications

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Just saying, but check out some the new printed covers from MF Publications on my existing arrangements! Several new ones coming out in 2016 - watch this space!

Copyright issues

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Often a complex and mind-boggling arena, I've had to learn the hard way how this works in relation to composing and arranging music. It has to be said that it's fairly obvious that the person or company who 'owns' a piece of music - for whatever reason - has to be the person or company that gives permission for it to be used in any other format than its original, and this is certainly true of arrangements of existing music. I know that there are thousands of illegal copies of music out there, and I also know that it is very difficult to police.

That aside, it has come to my attention that there are people out there who think it is quite in order to build up complete libraries of music by illegally copying and then scanning music onto computers to pass on to others in PDF fornat, presumably with the permission of whoever obtained the original printed copy of that music (or second/third/fourth generation 'illegal' copy I suppose). They are the only winners in this situation: the composer or copyright owner gets nothing, and neither do the publishers of the printed works.

As a composer and arranger relatively new to the intricacies of copyright law, I was amazed to find that illegal copies of my own works published or unpublished frequently turn up in many unexpected places. Some of these pieces were only printed and taken to a single band to see if the piece actually worked, and are as such without copyright permission. I have to say I'm not sure what my position in court would be with that. I certainly have not given my permission for the work to be copied and then passed on.

The bottom line is this. Why should composers, arrangers and publishers be the ones who lose out because of the deep seated desire of others to get printed music for free? Why is it that people who try and make a living out of music in its many forms are frequently expected to do so for free? I just don't get it. No one expects plumbers, electricians, bankers, bakers, mechanics, nurses, policemen, soldiers and so on to do their jobs for free, so why musicians? The net result of this illegal activity will be that there won't be any new music for you - not legally in any case - and you'll all be moaning about playing the same old stuff, and people like me will stop writing any new music.

So, if you know someone who's doing this - tell them. If you or your band have any of my music that you have obtained illegally - look out. That also goes for bands who have properly obtained my music but are happy to allow it to be illegally copied and given to other bands. As you can probably tell, I'm very unhappy about this and I will take it further. I am currently considering making a formal complaint to the Council of West of England Brass Band Associations and other band associations on the subject. I'm now on a mission.

Think of it this way: everytime you illegally copy a piece of my music, you're 'stealing' about £50 from me. Everytime you give a score and set of parts to someone else you're 'stealing' about £50 from me. It soon adds up, and publishers take a very dim view of it. So do I.

So, if you want new printed music - buy it.

Check your libraries and your consciences.

You have been warned.


New publications

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Great news! Musikverlag Frank (Mf Publications in Switzerland) are going to be publishing 'Excalibur', the new version of 'The St Michael Ley Line', 'Phaeton Fantasy' and 'Heroes of the Sky'.

Watch this space - I'll let you know when they are available.



St Michael Ley Line

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Ley_LineAs it's ten years since my composition 'The Ley Line of St Michael' won the 60th Anniversary composing competition held by the South West Brass Band Association, I thought it would be a good time to revisit it. I've reworked the whole thing from beginning to end, have added some detail, changed harmonies, made melodies more robust, and have made the harmonic rhythm more 'square' - if you see what I mean. I have completely revised the ending, which is now a splendid romp with a much more challenging style.

I hope you like it!



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I have completely reworked 'Avalon Rhapsody' from beginning to end, and the result is a much more cohesive, playable work featuring some broadly written solo cornet solos. I've also renamed it 'Excalibur'. I have taken out more than I've put in, and the resulting work will be much more accessible to lower section bands.

Have a try - it'll make a great 'Own Choice' 2nd / 3rd Section test piece.



Tiverton Town Band - Musical Director

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I've been keeping this a closely guarded secret for some time, but now I can make a formal announcement. I've been appointed as Musical Director of  Tiverton Town Band as of  Monday 9th November 2015 - following their very respectable 3rd place in the 4th Section of the SWBBA Championships in Torquay last weekend.

I'm really excited about this as those of you who know me will understand. I've been 'without a band' for several years as a conductor and am delighted that this opportunity has arisen, and I fully intend to give it 150%. I'm looking forward to the Regional Contest in Torquay next March, where I'll be taking the band through their paces with the  work 'The Journal of Phileas Fogg' by one of my musical heroes - Peter Graham.

Update: Sadly Tiverton Town Band were placed a disappointing 18th on the day - arguably not a fair result - but the band have taken it well and are raring to go for the future.

My new job at John Packer Ltd

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Some breaking news hot off the press for you: I've accepted a position  working with John Packer Ltd in their shop in Taunton as of Monday 9th November.

I'm really excited about this new challenge, and would urge you all to make use of the services that John Packer Ltd have on offer. Come and see Steve and I in the shop, and if you're at a brass band contest and you see the John Packer Ltd trade stand - come and see us!

My position at John Packer Ltd will mean that my sales and repair services will be strictly for existing customers, or by recommendation, and sadly, I will no longer be able to offer teaching services - there just aren't enough hours in a day!

Visit the John Packer Ltd pages on this website for information about featured JP instruments.

John Packer Ltd

141 Staplegrove Road

Opening hours:
Monday - Friday 9.30am - 5pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm
Sunday closed
Closed on Bank Holidays.

Shop Tel: 01823 282386
Accounts Tel: 01823 337614
Fax: 01823 337653



Heroes of the Sky

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As we give thanks today (15th September 2015) for the Royal Air Force, and inparticular it's massive contribution to the future of Great Britain during the Battle of Britain in World War II, I have completely reworked my concert march 'Heroes of the Sky' for brass band.

If you're looking for a piece for your commemorative concert this Autumn, this is for you.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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Another show I'm drumming for - and not one I'm familiar with either!

This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is based on the writings of C S Lewis, which has been adapted for the stage by Theresa Heskins with music by James Atherton  It's a collaboration between the Honiton Pantomime Society and other local amateur theatre groups.

This play with music is the perfect outing for the whole family. Featuring mythical beasts, a magical world and one gigantic wardrobe, you won’t be able to resist being drawn into the magical world of Narnia.

Note that the show is on at the new Honiton Beehive and it runs from Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August (not Thursday to Saturday as stated on the flyer!), with two performances on Saturday 1st August.

One Life Music

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Hey! All you school music teachers out there? Have you discovered One Life Music yet? If not - take minute to have a look. Dan Callow and his team have produced some brilliant songs mostly aimed at young children at school or in clubs / churches that are simple to learn, yet great fun to sing and play - each with a simple and powerful message. We've done the scoring and arrangements for them all, and we highly commend them to you:

They are: I Believe (Book and CD), Let His Glory Shine (Album), The Children's Mass (Resource pack), and Family of Faith (Resource pack). Click on the pictures for more information:

i believe picLet_His_Glory_Shine_album_coverChildrens-mass-resource-pack2family-of-faith-resource-pack


It's here!

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A new arrangement for brass band.


Update: March Card Series

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Here's an update on my long overdue 'March Card' series:

Many of you will know that due to flooding and other disasters back in 2012 I lost a considerable amount of music. I am pleased to say that with the assistance of the South West Comms Band in Lympstone (and Claire Luford in particular) I have now managed to recover the majority of this work, and am pleased to announce that my 'March Card Series' of pieces suitable for adding to marches for static use on parade, at fetes or wherever music stands are not avaiable, is now available.

Titles will continue to be added, and many of my listed existing works can also be produced in A5 landscape 'march card' format. Each standard set includes laminated parts in case of inclement weather.

The list includes:
Auld Lang Syne
A Bicycle Made for Two (Daisy, Daisy)
Fanfare and The National Anthem (Jacobs arr. Colin G Dance)
I Vow to Thee My Country (in 3/4)
World In Union (in 4/4)
Ireland's Call
Land of Hope and Glory (from 'The Coda')
Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag
Rule Britannia
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
There'll Always Be An England
Tomahawk Chop (Exeter Chiefs chant)
Battle Hymn of the Republic
20th Century Fox Fanfare
Red White and Blue (Patriotic Singalong)
The Twelve Days of Christmas

Just added:
Happy! (from Despicable Me 2)
and Peacherine Rag by Scott Joplin

Coming soon:
Regimental March Ceremonial Card:
Royal Navy - Heart of Oak
Royal Marines Commandos - Sarie Marais
Royal Marines - Life on the Ocean Wave
British Army -  British Grenadiers
British Army - Men of Harlech
Royal Air Force - RAF March Past
Scipio - (Slow March)
British Legion - (Quick March)


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Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

A quick thank you to Colin - behind the scenes of our production of Jesus Christ Superstar recently, Colin edited, re-wrote or created some terrific rehearsal backing tracks to ease the path to the show's success. Nothing was too much trouble, and the end product (I know how awkward it was to achieve) was very professional - even though we kept asking for more! He wasn't bad in the pit orchestra on the drums either! Thanks Colin.

Sounds of The Sixties

Colin's arrangements of our medleys for full orchestra from piano score were excellent, original and creatively scored, and stood up to theatre use to enhance dramatically the quality of our production - many thanks Colin!

Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

Jesus Christ Superstar

A quick thank you for Colin. Behind the scenes of our recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Colin produced, edited, arranged, wrote or re-wrote rehearsal backing tracks to assist our production team towards the eventual success of the show. Nothing was too much trouble, despite our requests for tempo amendments! Thanks Colin - and you weren't bad on the drums in the pit orchestra either!


A massive thanks Colin - you worked like a demon to produce the score and parts for our pantomine Pinocchio in Ilminster from scant, hand-written scraps of paper. The end product was extremely professional at a very reasonable cost - even though the trumpet player complained about the triplets! Many, many thanks.

Midnight in Moscow

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know, Midnight in Moscow for trombone trio has had two public airings by our band so far, and both went down very well; first in a concert, then in an entertainment contest (which we won!). Great arrangement - liked by all. Thank you! Best wishes Colin Coates

Wired @ Exmouth 2011

Hi guys - saw Wired at The First and Last in Exmouth a year or so back, and apart from loving the yellow drum kit, I thought Colin's drumming was fantastic!  He put so much into it - rather like Keith Moon of The Who fame, and lifted the whole performance as a result - very tight and very professional. I love drummers that go that extra mile - nice one Colin - and a great site too!

One Life Music (Dan Callow)

Colin Dance has worked sensitively and professionally with us over the last few years arranging scores for our recent assembly book and for one off commissions, always considering the mood or relevance of a piece and succeeding in our endeavour to keep each piece unique. He has arranged songs for piano as well as writing further parts for voice or for a particular instrument or ensemble. I would be more than happy to recommend 'Dance is With Music' services. Dan Callow

City of Exeter Railway Band

What a breath of fresh air! I witnessed Colin conducting the City of Exeter Railway Band in the Manor Gardens at Exmouth  last summer, and not only was I impressed by his ability as a musician and conductor, but also by the way he communicated with his players. He clearly put them at ease and brought the best out in them.  A lovely concert with good humour and humility - and, I might add, some seriosuly good arrangements and compositions by Colin too.

Midnight in Moscow - the sequel

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know we've enjoyed many successful airings of Midnight in Moscow throughout the year, including several concerts, park engagements and an entertainment contest (which we won!). Most recent was a golf club Xmas party last night - went down a storm! Thanks for an excellent piece - appreciated by all. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from CWA Brass

Hawkes 'Clippertone' trumpet

Can I just once again say what a fantastic job you did with my ancient (Hawkes & Co 'Clippertone)' trumpet - it's very impressive indeed, and my grandson is absolutely delighted with his Christmas present. He didn't stop playing it the whole time he was here (!) and has now taken the trumpet back to America with him and will be having lessons on his return to school. I can't thank you enough. The difference in the condition in which you received the instrument to how it was when I received it back is amazing. Thank you so much -...

Harry Rossiter

Colin is a very versatile musician, composer, music arranger and musical director. As a sideline he is engaged in repair and care of brass bånd instruments and other musical artifacts. His musical direction of brass bands is second to none in my long experience of brass bands. I wish him well.

Trumpet servicing

Many thanks for the swift and professional repair and service on my trumpet (Bach Strad). I have had the instrument for a little over 5 years now and and bought it from my brother-in-law who I know looked after it very well so I was starting to feel a little guilty about neglecting it. It always seemed like too much of a chore given the apparent lack of people in Exeter who can service and repair brass instruments. The stuck tuning slide was the final straw and I was very relieved to find your website. It was all so easy...

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