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Choosing a Musical Instrument For the Child - A Parents' Help guide Brass

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Many people end up thrown into the whole world of musical instruments they know nothing about when their young children first begin music in school. Knowing the basics of proper instrument construction, materials, picking a good store in order to rent or buy these instruments is extremely important. What exactly process should a parent follow to make the best choices for their child?

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Clearly step one is to choose an instrument. Let your child get their choice. Kids don't make developed solid relationships . big decisions regarding life, and this is a large one that can be very empowering. I can also say from personal experience that kids have a natural intuition as to what is good for them. Ultimately, my strongest advice is always to put a child in to a room to try no more than 3-5 different choices, and let them make their choice based on the sound they like best.

These details are intended to broaden your horizons, not to create a preference, or to put you in a position to nit-pick in the store! Most instruments are incredibly well made these days, and choosing a respected retailer will help you to trust recommendations. Ask your school and/or private music teacher where you should shop.

Brass instruments are produced all over the world, but primarily in the united states, Germany, France, and China. Whenever we talk about brass instruments, we're referring to members of the Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, and Tuba families.


There's 2 basic kinds of materials utilized in brass instrument construction. The first is clearly brass, along with the second is nickel-silver.

Brass utilized for instruments is available in three types:
Yellow Brass (70% Copper, 30% Zinc)
Gold Brass (85% Copper, 15% Zinc)
Red Brass (90% Copper, 10% Zinc)

These types of brass are all useful for instrument construction. Each also has a certain tendency perfectly into a particular quality of sound - however is a very subtle distinction, and should not be used as an exclusive gauge for selecting your instrument.

Yellow brass is most typical and can be used for most aspects of your instrument. It provides a very pure quality of sound, projects best of the three alloys, and stands up very well at high volumes.

(Gold brass can also be extremely popular, mainly due to the slightly more complex audio quality, and personal feedback. Often a player hears themselves a little better using gold brass, however the trade off is a very slight decrease of projection. This more 'complex' quality is quite attractive to the ear, but sometimes get harsh at high volumes if the player is not accountable for all of their technique. It is similar to the transition to screaming from singing - you will find there's point at which you can easily go too far. Gold Brass is not used for the whole instrument (in America, but a lot in Europe). We primarily apply it the bell (in which the sound comes out), along with the leadpipe (the first stretch of tubing with your instrument). The leadpipe usage is becoming common for student instruments, since it resists corrosion well, that is a concern for teenagers whose body chemistry is volatile, and then for students who rarely clean their instruments.

The same holds true of Red brass. This is the very complex sound, typically not used in student instruments. Red brass appears almost exclusively from the bell of an instrument. The reason is , its less stable nature in sound production at loud volumes. With that said, it can produce a marvelous sound when nicely balanced against the rest of a well designed instrument. A good example is the famous 88H Symphonic Trombone, that is a staple of the north american industry for over 60 years.

One other material that is used to generate brass instruments is nickel-silver. Interestingly, there is absolutely no actual silver with this material. Most often it's a combination of Copper, Nickel, and Zinc, in varying combinations. I like to think of it as brass with nickel added. Its name hails from its physical resemblance to silver, which makes it ideal for things like brass instruments, along with the coins you probably have in the bank.

This is a very important section of your instrument. Unlike brass, it is often very hard. This makes it well suited for use on instruments to:

Protect moving parts
Join two tubes with a ring (called a ferrule)
Place on parts of the instrument that can come into a lot of experience of the hands to protect against friction wear in the hands.
Companies use nickel silver in a variety of ways, and on differing of the instrument. These construction facts are minimal, but here are some suggestions to look for that can assist the stability and strength of student instruments:
o The outsides of tuning slides. This can be good, because it protects parts that frequently need to be moved from damage.
o The inside tubes of tuning slides. Perfect for student instruments (and common on european instruments), this protects against corrosion.
o Joint between tubes. When utilized as a ferrule, this can be a variety of shapes and sizes, at the discretion from the designer. Sometimes the interior of the ferrule is regulated to alter shape (taper) right through to a larger consecutive tube. Some erogenous student instruments just fit expanded ends of brass tubing together.
o Parts how the hands touch. Brass is readily eaten away, albeit slowly, by normal body, so a student instrument which includes these areas in nickel-silver can be an asset for longevity. You'll find exceptions to this rule, particularly for Trumpets, whose valve casings are often made of brass alone.


Mouthpieces for brass are likely to be referred to as 'cup' mouthpieces, and they are made of brass, but plated in silver. Brass on its own can cause irritation, and it is mildly toxic to be such close proximity on the lips, whereas silver is generally neutral. There are cases through which some people are allergic to silver, but a majority of often the allergy is because a dirty mouthpiece. The recommended test just for this is to use an alcohol based spray cleaner, out of your music retailer that's specifically intended for mouthpieces, and to clean the mouthpiece before and after each use. This is a great idea, anyway. If the irritation persists, think about a gold-plated mouthpiece, or being a last resort, plastic. Note as well that not all companies add a good quality mouthpiece making use of their instruments. Be sure to seek advice from your retailer to be sure what you are getting is what you should be using on your student.

As with instruments, mouthpieces can come in a dizzying array of shapes and specifications. Stuff that you have never heard of, such as Rim, Throat, inner diametre, Backbore, etc., may confuse you.((To generate matters more complex, there is absolutely no standard system for identifying sizing in mouthpieces. This is often difficult for the parent to digest, and in many cases frustrating. How big or small should the various parts be?

Frequently, schools start kids on small mouthpieces since it is easy to get a response away from them. The downside of the is that small mouthpieces can mean a very bright sound, which enable it to actually hold a student back from developing the disposable blowing of air that is essential to developing a good sound. You will find there's generally accepted order of progression from bare beginner to solid student. I propose getting the second mouthpiece straight away. This will produce a bigger/fuller sound, and will encourage more air for use right from the start. Don't let the numbers throw you here, the 2nd mouthpiece is the bigger one. The bracket indicating numerology may be the company that makes the mouthpiece, suggested here just for comparison.

Trumpet: 7C, 5C (Bach numerology - for strong players consider also 3C)
Horn: 30C4, 32C4 (Schilke or Yamaha numerology)
Trombone: 12C, 6½AL (Bach numerology - for strong players consider also 5GS)

We've left Tuba off the suggested list since there are many factors that can into play for your student. Physical size plays a part, and often the condition of the instrument getting used, as well as the size of the instrument. These vary so greatly from one student to the next which a personal consultation along with your qualified music retailer is strongly recommended. Kids generally start taking the small mouthpiece (24AW is but one in the Bach numerology), along with get off that even though they should. There are a number of really excellent mouthpieces available, yet it's hard to beat the Perantucci Mouthpieces. A PT48 or PT50 is helpful for the advancing student, and also the professional, but remember that as students grow and change, so may their mouthpiece needs.

Like with instruments, it is a excellent idea to try 3-5 your local retailer.

When or what reason can i not buy a new mouthpiece?
Kids often seek out the short-cut. Not being able to play low or high enough is a challenge and often the kid looks for a fast answer, or has witnessed a colleague playing something different. Often, when your child approaches you with regards to a new mouthpiece, it could very well be the time for it. Make sure to ask lots of questions about what they do and do not like with regards to their mouthpieces so you can discover from your retailer if this sounds like a good request. Make sure you know what they already have. The top changes to make will be the subtle ones. Small variants a mouthpiece design might help get the desired result, and never sacrifice some or other areas of playing. The students that make the big changes only to get high notes often give the biggest price of their tone, tuning, and technique.


For Trumpet, I recommend having 1st and 3rd valve slides with rings or saddles for quick. These are helpful for tuning.

For Trombone, for early beginners, a nickel-silver slide may be beneficial, as slide repairs can be very expensive.

For Horn, get a double horn. It is 4 valves, and offers a lot more choice to the player for good tuning, and development later on. Horn is tricky, so helping with this is a good endorsement of one's child's chances.

For Tuba, make an effort to get one that fits your son or daughter, and on which every part - including tuning slides - will be in a state of good repair. Push the varsity if it is a good school instrument. If your child can handle a big instrument, acquire one.

Brass instruments need consistent maintenance to perform well. Be sure you understand what lubricants to use on which parts of your instrument. Trumpet, a relatively simple instrument, needs 3 different lubricants; tuning slide, 1st/3rd valve slide, and pistons. I strongly suggest synthetic lubricants. They'll hold up slightly better against forgetful students that do not do the regular maintenance.

Cleaning. Once every 12-18 months have a very professional cleaning. Otherwise clean in the home once a month using mild soap and lukewarm water (trouble will cause your lacquer to peel of your horn), and a flexible brush from a retailer.

Avoid cheap instruments. With instruments you get what you spend on. There are a lot of instruments received from India and China now. Most are excellent, while many others shouldn't even have been made. Any local, respected dealer needs to have those that are reliable, and will stand behind them. Your big-box Costco, Wal-Mart, BestBuy, and e-Bay doesn't have any expertise in these matters, and procedures for their bottom line only. Avoid these places. They cannot possibly offer you the continued assistance, service, or repair that the developing and interested student need. If you choose this route, ask for american-made instruments (and Japan). This can be a major separator of good from bad. People who make brass in the us are generally very well trained and section of a history of excellent brass making, specially those in the Conn-Selmer family of companies. Your local, trusted retailer will help to guide you in the choices available, and don't forget that just because it says USA, or Paris on it, does not mean it was manufactured in these places. Functions and features sometimes making this stuff part of the 'name' of the instrument.((Simply how much should I spend?

This is the big question. Remember that popular instruments, like Trumpet, are cheaper because they are made in greater quantities. Some instruments, like Horn and Tuba, are challenging and time-consuming to make, making them more expensive. Here is a list of acceptable pricing (at the time that this is being written) for new student instruments that works well for both American and Canadian currency.

Trumpet: $400-600
Horn: $1600 or more (Get a double horn, or you will be back to buy another, soon!)
Trombone: $400-$700
Tuba: $2300 or more

When should I get a better instrument, and Why?

60 years ago, there were no 'student' and 'intermediate' instruments. Manufacturers were just visiting the realization that there was an emerging, post-war market that was changing to guide a more commercial type of instrument making. Today, instruments are engineered to get you to buy three times. First as a beginner, then as an advancing student, last but not least as a professional. Clearly, this can be a model that makes lots of money for manufacturers.

Ideal reasons, I often encourage parents to begin with the better instrument, or even a good used intermediate or professional instrument. Starting on better tools are like starting with that slightly larger mouthpiece; obtaining a bigger, better sound is encouraging. The higher construction and materials mix of these better instruments will even leave more room growing. So what are the right reasons? This is a list that works not only as guide for helping to choose the right instrument, but also for what you should watch for to assist musical growth:

-Going into a school with a strong music program.
-Getting private lessons, or has called for some. (Check with private teacher for recommendations before choosing, this will help.)
-Practicing without parental encouragement
-Has no less than 4 years of playing before them.

These factors are great indicators of if you should buy, and whether or not to buy intermediate or professional. If your bulk of these are unclear, consider a rental for a year to determine if they get any clearer, and supplement with regular (weekly) private lessons.

Last updated 698 days ago by chancetherappertypebeat