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November 14 2015

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Choosing a Musical Instrument For Your Child - A Parents' Guide to Brass

Many people end up thrown into the whole world of musical instruments they know nothing about when their kids first begin music at school. Knowing the basics of proper instrument construction, materials, deciding on a good store in order to rent or purchase a copy instruments is extremely important. What exactly process should a mother or father follow to make the best selections for their child? - August Alsina type beat 2015

Clearly the first task is to choose a musical instrument. Let your child have their choice. Kids don't make developed solid relationships . big decisions regarding life, and this is a major one that can be very empowering. I'm also able to say from personal experience that children have a natural intuition in what is good for them. Ultimately, my strongest advice is always to put a child into a room to try at most 3-5 different choices, and permit them to make their choice depending on the sound they like best.

This information is intended to broaden your horizons, not to create a preference, as well as to put you in a position to nit-pick from the store! Most instruments are really well made these days, picking a respected retailer will help you to trust recommendations. Ask your school and/or private music teacher where to shop. - August Alsina type beat 2015

Brass instruments are created all over the world, but primarily in the USA, Germany, France, and China. Once we talk about brass instruments, were referring to members of the Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, and Tuba families.


There's two basic kinds of materials utilized in brass instrument construction. The foremost is clearly brass, as well as the second is nickel-silver.

Brass used 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 kinds of brass are all employed for instrument construction. Each also carries a certain tendency towards a particular quality of sound - however, this is a very subtle distinction, and cannot be used as an exclusive gauge for choosing your instrument.

Yellow brass is most typical and can be used for most parts 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 because of its slightly more complex audio quality, and personal feedback. Commonly a player hears themselves a bit better using gold brass, though the trade off is a very slight reduction in projection. This more 'complex' quality is very attractive to the ear, but sometimes get harsh at high volumes in the event the player is not in command of all of their technique. It's just like the transition to screaming from singing - you will find there's point at which you can easily get carried away. Gold Brass is not used for the whole instrument (in North America, but a lot in Europe). We primarily utilize it for the bell (the location where the sound comes out), and also the leadpipe (the first stretch of tubing with your instrument). The leadpipe usage is becoming common for student instruments, since it resists corrosion well, the industry concern for teenagers whose body is volatile, as well as for students who rarely clean their instruments.

The same is true of Red brass. It is a very complex sound, not often used in student instruments. Red brass appears almost exclusively from the bell of an instrument. Simply because its less stable nature in sound production at loud volumes. With that said, it can produce a marvelous sound when well balanced against the rest of a properly designed instrument. One example is the famous 88H Symphonic Trombone, which was a staple of the north american niche for over 60 years.

The opposite material that is used to make brass instruments is nickel-silver. Interestingly, there's no actual silver on this material. Most often it is a combination of Copper, Nickel, and Zinc, in varying combinations. I enjoy think of it as brass with nickel added. Its name is derived from its physical resemblance to silver, rendering it ideal for things like brass instruments, as well as the coins you probably have in your pocket.

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

Protect moving parts
Join two tubes with a ring (called a ferrule)
Placed on parts of the instrument that can come into a lot of contact with the hands to protect against friction wear in the hands.
Companies use nickel silver in a variety of ways, and on some part of the instrument. These construction info is minimal, but here are some suggestions to look for which will help 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. Ideal for student instruments (and common on european instruments), this protects against corrosion.
o Joint between tubes. When used as a ferrule, this can be a selection of shapes and sizes, at the discretion with the designer. Sometimes the inside of the ferrule is regulated to switch shape (taper) through to a larger consecutive tube. Some standard student instruments just fit expanded ends of brass tubing together.
o Parts how the hands touch. Brass is easily eaten away, albeit slowly, by normal body, so a student instrument which includes these areas in nickel-silver is definitely an asset for longevity. You will find exceptions to this rule, particularly for Trumpets, whose valve casings are generally made of brass alone.


Mouthpieces for brass are generally referred to as 'cup' mouthpieces, and are generally made of brass, but plated in silver. Brass without treatment can cause irritation, and is also mildly toxic to be such close proximity to the lips, whereas silver is generally neutral. There are cases through which some people are allergic to silver, but most often the allergy is caused by a dirty mouthpiece. The recommended test for this is to use an alcohol based spray cleaner, out of your music retailer which is specifically intended for mouthpieces, and clean the mouthpiece before each use. This is a good idea, anyway. If the irritation persists, consider a gold-plated mouthpiece, or like a last resort, plastic. Note that not all companies incorporate a good quality mouthpiece with their instruments. Be sure to talk with your retailer to ensure what you are getting is the thing that you should be using to your student.

As with instruments, mouthpieces come in a dizzying array of shapes and specifications. Items that you have never heard of, for example Rim, Throat, inner diametre, Backbore, etc., may confuse you.((To create matters more complex, there's no standard system for identifying sizing in mouthpieces. This is difficult for the parent to digest, and also frustrating. How big or small if your various parts be?

Most often, schools start kids on small mouthpieces for the reason that it is easy to get a response from them. The downside of the is that small mouthpieces can mean a very bright sound, and may actually hold a student back from developing the free blowing of air which is essential to developing a good sound. There exists a generally accepted order of progression from bare beginner to solid student. I recommend getting the second mouthpiece from the very beginning. This will produce a bigger/fuller sound, and may encourage more air to use right from the start. Don't let the numbers throw you here, the other mouthpiece is the bigger one. The bracket indicating numerology is the company that makes the mouthpiece, suggested here limited to 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 now have left Tuba off the suggested list with there being many factors that can come into play for your student. Physical size plays a part, and often the condition of the instrument used, as well as the size of the instrument. These vary so greatly derived from one of student to the next that the personal consultation using your qualified music retailer is strongly recommended. Kids generally start on the small mouthpiece (24AW is but one in the Bach numerology), such as the get off that but they should. There are a number of really excellent mouthpieces available, but it's hard to beat the Perantucci Mouthpieces. A PT48 or PT50 works well for the advancing student, along with the professional, but remember that as students grow modify, so may their mouthpiece needs.

Much like instruments, it is a great idea to try 3-5 your local retailer.

When and for what reason can i not buy a new mouthpiece?
Kids often seek out the short-cut. Not being able to play high or low enough is a challenge and often the kid looks for a simple answer, or has witnessed a colleague playing different things. Often, when your child approaches you of a new mouthpiece, it may well very well be the time for it. Make sure you ask lots of queries about what they do and do not like about their mouthpieces so you can uncover from your retailer if it is a good request. Be sure you know what they already have. The top changes to make include the subtle ones. Small variations in a mouthpiece design might help get the desired result, and never sacrifice some or all other areas of playing. Students that make the big changes just to get high notes often give the biggest price inside their tone, tuning, and technique.

Other considerations

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

For Trombone, for early beginners, a nickel-silver slide is a good idea, as slide repairs are very pricey.

For Horn, get a double horn. This has 4 valves, and offers way more choice to the player for good tuning, and development later on. Horn is tricky, so helping using this type of is a good endorsement of your child's chances.

For Tuba, try to get one that fits your child, and on which every part - including tuning slides - will be in a state of good repair. Push the institution if it is a good school instrument. If your kid can handle a big instrument, obtain one.

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

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

Avoid cheap instruments. With instruments you get what you spend on. There are a lot of instruments received from India and China now. The majority are excellent, while many others must not even have been made. Your neighborhood, respected dealer must have those that are reliable, and can 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 can not possibly offer you the continuing assistance, service, or repair which a 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. Those who make brass in the united states are generally very well trained and section of a history of excellent brass making, specifically those in the Conn-Selmer family of companies. Your neighborhood, trusted retailer will guide you in the choices available, and remember that just because it says USA, or Paris into it, does not mean it was produced in these places. Functions and features sometimes making these items part of the 'name' of the instrument.((The amount should I spend?

This is the big question. Be aware 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 generate, making them more expensive. Here is a list of acceptable pricing (at that time that this is being written) for new student instruments that works for both American and Canadian currency.

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

When should I get a better instrument, and Why?

60 years ago, there were no 'student' and 'intermediate' instruments. Manufacturers were just coming to the realization that there was an emerging, post-war market that was changing to aid a more commercial model of instrument making. Today, instruments are engineered to acquire to buy three times. First when getting started, then as an advancing student, last but not least as a professional. Clearly, this is a model that makes a lot of money for manufacturers.

For the best reasons, I often encourage parents to begin with the better instrument, or possibly a good used intermediate or professional instrument. Starting on better devices are like starting on that slightly larger mouthpiece; getting a bigger, better sound is encouraging. Better construction and materials combination of these better instruments may also leave more room to develop. So what are the right reasons? Here is a list that works not just as guide in order to to choose the right instrument, but also for what you should watch for to aid musical growth:

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

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

Music is surely an investment that requires attention from your variety of angles, as well as the instrument itself is merely a small step. Being furnished with the knowledge of how to get the instrument is just portion of a process that a parent can - and may - be actively linked to. Many parents have no idea of anything about all this, but now you do! Ask the questions you need to know, and you'll be just fine getting your new instrument.

Don't be the product, buy the product!