What Instrument would you like to Play?
Each instrument requires something different from the beginning band student. So, if you make the right choice now, you’ll get the best from this exciting world of band music.
O’Malley Musical Instruments are here to help you, we want you to have fun and will never force you into playing an instrument just because we have one in stock. You have to understand that there are a number of factors involved in your choice, including the shape of your mouth, teeth, whether you have braces or expect to get them, and not forgetting the size of your hands.
We’ll help you find the instrument that will give you the best band experience possible. First consideration is your personal preference, then your band director and your parents, since the cost of instruments varies greatly.O’Malley Musical Instruments love music and want to share this with you, so if you’re happy with your chosen instrument, you’ll want to excel.
So lets start with the Brass section
The brass family includes trumpet, trombone, baritone, French horn and tuba. All of these have a cup shaped mouthpiece that you ‘buzz’ into to make the sound.
The trumpet is the prominent voice in the brass family. Most beginners start with a brass or lacquered trumpet, however by the mid 8th grade, it’s often time for a silver plated one.
The trombone is unique and very recognizable, because its slide that you move in & out to change the pitch of the notes. It has a wide range, and can play a wide variety of music. Band directors dream of a big trombone section because its distinctive sound.
The French horn is an important part of every band. If you have a great ear, and love doing things that are a little more unique, this is the instrument for you.
The euphonium is also referred to as the baritone, and looks like a small tuba. The tuba section, provides the foundation of the band’s sound. This instrument has 3 or 4 valves to press instead of a trombone slide. The mouthpiece is the same as a trombone.
Next option is the Woodwind section
The woodwind family includes clarinet, flute, saxophone, oboe and bassoon. All of these instruments involve keys that you press to change the pitch of the notes and read treble clef.
The flute is unique within the woodwind section as you blow across, instead of through a mouthpiece. After playing the flute for a number of years we have found that a number of people start to play the piccolo, which is a smaller or a ‘tiny’ version of the flute, hence the name piccolo which means tiny.
The clarinet is a single reed instrument and is the foundation of the woodwind section. Like the trombone, Band Directors will agree there’s no such thing as too many clarinets in a band. If you play clarinet after a few years, you can easily later pick up other woodwinds such as the oboe, saxophone or bassoon.
The saxophone is a single reed just like the clarinet’s, only larger. There are actually eight saxes in the saxophone family, all use the same fingering. The alto & tenor sax are considered ‘beginning’ instruments. The oboe and bassoon, are double reed instruments so are sometimes not considered ‘beginner’ instruments. If you’ve played alto & tenor sax or clarinet for a year or two you may branch out into the oboe and bassoon.
The final option is the Percussion section
The percussion family is not just drums, it includes a wide variety of rhythm instruments. Most beginners start with bells, and a practice pad and will eventually get to play snare, bass drum, cymbals, and more.
Percussionists have ‘rudiments’ which are a form of scales. By the use of a practice pad you can achieve certain rhythmic patterns through practice. Your band director will tell you exactly what percussion equipment you need for class.
Strangely enough, if you’ve had piano lessons or indeed play a piano, many band directors will count this as a plus when choosing to play percussion.