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Everyday life in the Guard

Being part of the Tivoli Youth Guard is demanding

There is no doubt that being part of the Tivoli Youth Guard demands a lot of time and energy from the boys – and their families. The high musical standard, elegant parades and huge responsibility and discipline don’t come out of nowhere. During busy periods, the boys spend up to 20 hours a week in parades, concerts, band auditions, private tuition, private practice and often special events outside of Tivoli. And obviously they have regular schooling alongside their 3-5 days a week at Tivoli.

On the other hand, it isn’t that different from playing sport at elite level: it takes time, effort and focus. The boys who enter the Tivoli Youth Guard as eight and nine-year olds begin an extremely focused musical education.  And when they leave as sixteen-year-olds, they are practised, responsible and thoroughly musical young men who can apply their experiences and skills in many other areas of life.

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A focused musical upbringing

The Tivoli Youth Guard

The typical journey through the Tivoli Boys Guard is a lengthy musical and personal education from the ages of 8 to 16.

Once you are accepted into the Guard, your first year is spent in the Drums and Fifes school, where you learn to play marching drums or pipes. There are rehearsals once a week, and you have to practise for these at home every day. You are also trained in marching and musical theory, because you have to learn notes and rhythms as part of your musical education.

After about a year, you have learned something that Tivoli’s guests want to see and hear, and so you join the Drums and Fifes and get a uniform – and a bearskin hat. You are now ready to play and go on parade in Tivoli. For the first two or three years, you are a member of the Drums and Fifes.

When you are ready for a new challenge, you can apply to the Tivoli Youth Guard Band school, where you will have weekly private tuition in a wind instrument or percussion. You can also be a member of the Drums and Fifes or the Colour Guard at this time, but most of your work will go on private practice, because in just a year or two, you should be good enough to join the Tivoli Youth Guard Band.

Here you will play real band music – not the junior versions of the real thing. As a member of the Tivoli Youth Guard Band, you have to pass annual music examinations. And your development doesn’t stop here: Even in the Band, members can take on additional tasks. You can become concert master, section leader, soloist, drum major, conductor or take on another position of trust.

As well as the Drums and Fifes and the Band, the TivoliYouth Guard also features the Colour Guard, which specialises in performing drills in addition to guarding the colours. They march with rifles and flags in parades, and on weekdays they practise their instruments – or perhaps they simply decide that they want to leave out the music but still be a part of the Tivoli Youth Guard.

In practice, there are many journeys through the Tivoli Youth Guard, and we arrange each boy’s path individually. Because even if the boys are in uniform when they perform, they are individuals once their boots have been polished and their red jackets hung away again.

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The finest music school

The members of the Tivoli Youth Guard become very skilled very quickly. This is obviously because they spend a lot of time on their music, and we believe we can handpick the ones with talent. So we are careful to ensure that they are taught by the best tutors and instructors, play good quality instruments, are given tasks that develop them, and so on.

But all that means nothing if the children aren’t happy. We place great emphasis on comradeship and wellbeing. The children's experiences with us contribute to their maturity and will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Of course, a wildcard into Tivoli is also worth taking along.

The Tivoli Youth Guard covers all expenses associated with tuition, instruments, music, travel, etc. for the boys and their families. In return, Tivoli relies on them to attend parades and concerts so that there are no gaps in the ranks or in the music.

As a result, when they leave the Tivoli Youth Guard, the children have become thoroughly musical, well-travelled, responsible … fine young specimens.

We can also boast that over a quarter of wind and percussion players in Denmark’s professional orchestras have spent time at the Tivoli Youth Guard’s small music school.

TV spot

16 years old and retired

Kai Zhang has been a member of the Tivoli Youth Guard for more than seven years. But when he turned 16 he became too old to be a member of the guard.

Watch the spot where Kai Zhang along with other 16-year old boys receive their merit badge, honoring their many years of faithful service in the Tivoli Youth Guard.

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Travelling the world

The Tivoli Youth Guard doesn’t only perform at Tivoli; it also travels across Denmark and beyond.

We are pleased to say that many people are keen to watch the Tivoli Youth Guard, and we regularly receive invitations from both home and abroad. So in groups big and small, the Tivoli Youth Guard flies, sails or drives out into the world with an appropriate number of adults and a large selection of uniforms, instruments and other equipment. 

Among the many experiences that belonging to the Tivoli Youth Guard involves, foreign travel is one of the most exciting, and many don’t just become excellent musicians during their time with us. They also become well-travelled, practised performers. 

At our barracks we have a map of the world with a pin marking all the places the Guard has visited over the years. We have visited many places multiple times, but still just use the one pin.