Here at Normans we are often asked, “What’s the easiest Brass Instrument to play?”

The phrase, ‘How long is a piece of string‘ flashes through our mind. After that we get down to business and try and figure out what’s the best fit for you.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

 

Instrument size

This might not be your first thought but it’s a mighty important one. As with all brass instruments you need to hold them up to the mouth to play them.  These can become quite heavy after a while so it’s an important thing to consider. The Trumpet and the Cornet are the lightest of the brass instruments.  The Cornet will feel slightly easier to hold due to being more compact in length and tighter wrapped meaning the weight is better distributed by the hand.

tromboneOut of the lower instruments, the easiest to be held is the Baritone as this is can be rested on the leg and is not too heavy.  If the performer is comfortable when they play they will be motivated to practice compared to a performer who gets pain from holding the instrument whilst playing.

The Trombone is the only brass instrument that uses a slide to alter pitches (high and lower) instead of using valves. The slide makes the trombone very challenging to start on due to instruments weight when using the slide. Also learning where to put the slide is hard rather than just remembering valve combinations.  A long arm is required to play the trombone so that you can reach the end of the slide.

It’s all about you

SIZE – This might not be your first thought but it’s a mighty important one.  As with all brass instruments you need to hold them up to the mouth to play them. If you struggle with (comparatively) heavy weights you may be be better looking more to the Trumpet end of the size scale rather than the Trombone end. Be that as it may, don’t worry if you find them heavy initially, 9/10 this is something you can get used to.

tubaSHAPE – Following on from the above, the size of the shape of the instrument can be important factor in relation to your ability to play. For example, those who suffer with arthritis in the fingers may struggle with valves but get on well with slides.

COMMITMENT – How much are you committed? As a rule of thumb the bigger the instrument, the bigger the price tag. Be sure you’re not going to throw your money away. Another consideration is how big an instrument you are willing to carry and store. Just saying: You’re better to think of this now than when you realise you have to throw your bed away to make room for your BBb Tuba.

What do you want to play?

Despite it all, this is what’s really important. If you have an instrument you love you are going to keep on playing. It’s common sense, the more you like it = the more you’ll play = the better you’ll get.

 

Top choices

When looking to buy a Brass instrument there are three key brands to look at; Sonata; Edgware; Yamaha.

Sonata offers highly affordable, robust instruments, perfect for cutting your Brass teeth on.

Edgware will give you an intermediate instrument at a student price. This is a hugely popular brands in the Brass band world.

Yamaha are the big fish in the pond with a brand that is known worldwide.

 

 

 

 

About the author

Stephen started with Normans in 2014 after graduating from London College of Music with a BMus in tenor trombone performance. These days you'll find him gigging across the country and teaching to fill his time.

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