Beginning Band: Intro to the Instruments
Now that summer is here, we can all take a breath and relax. But, like many schools, the OSMD is looking ahead at plans for the next year. If you or your child is aged 10 and older at the start of next school year, the Middle School music directors will be looking to include them in band this fall. You child might like to look ahead, too, and get a head start on their chosen instrument.
Middle School bands are often made up of a plethora of flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, and drums. There are other instruments, too, which round out the best bands: oboes, bassoons, French horns, trombones, tubas, euphoniums, and the whole extended families of piccolos, E-flat and bass clarinets, altos, tenors, and baritone saxophones.
Some school districts have a day set aside for students to try every instrument with a quick introduction. Those who show aptitude in a first attempt might be assigned to that specific instrument, or be allowed to pick one that was most enjoyed. Often, students are left to their own devices to discover which instruments inspire their creativity, or are guided in their choice by parents, experience, and circumstance.
To help you and your child make a decision on which instrument would be right for them, we’ve included links to some of the best performers (via Youtube) as examples of the instrument.
If a child has learned to make empty soda bottles whistle, then they have already overcome the biggest hurdle young flautists have: making sound.
The oboe, a double-red instrument, can be tricky, but when well played it can be a dominating sound. This may be why school bands rarely have them, and usually no more than three in an ensemble. It takes a certain amount of OCD to play the oboe, and so perfectionists, or those children who really commit to a hobby, seem to self-select for the instrument.
The Clarinet is a single-reed instrument, with large tone-holes. It is a common instrument for beginners, but might cause frustration if skinny fingers can’t yet seal the tone holes.
Saxophone, like Clarinet, is a common instrument for beginners. It has pads under the finger keys, so having skinny flesh-less fingers isn’t so much of an issue. This instrument is well suited for the out-going student, as it makes a big sound with little room for embarrassment in error. On this instrument, the payoff for effort invested can be greater than most.
Also a double reed instrument, the bassoon is best for those quirky kids who are both laid-back and motivated in activities they partake in. It’s a large instrument, and often starts turning up in High School, when students are older and mostly grown.
The French horn is a brass instrument. With the smallest mouthpiece of the family, it can be a finicky instrument, and somewhat frustrating for student just beginning. Having a private instructor on horn is a must. The eventual payoff in both emotional satisfaction and repertoire can be worth it!
The most common brass instrument in middle school and high school bands, the trumpet is a popular instrument—especially with vivacious children. The trumpet is loud, and it is best suited for students who are not afraid of attention.
Part of the low-brass family, this instrument is also relatively popular in beginner bands. Trombonists are known to be very relaxed personalities, who never take anything too seriously. These students enjoy music and participating in music at any level and in any form. But don’t be fooled—they work just as hard as anyone and have an ear for perfection, too!
There usually aren’t more than two tubas in an ensemble—usually because they are rented instruments from the school, and expensive to buy. The tuba requires a lot of air, and requires a big set of lungs—though not necessarily reflected in the performer’s size.
The Omaha School of Music and Dance offers trial months of lessons. This means our registration fee of $35 is delayed, and the student has four lessons to try a different instrument or teacher to find the best fit. The best time to start an instrument is the summer before band! Call our studio to register for private lessons today!