Imagine life without Brass Instruments? No Trombones? We would be back in the dark ages with just basic percussion and chanting… and Neanderthals blowing into seashells… before they started inventing Bagpipes!!
John Williams film scores would be bereft of ‘The Dark Side’ and Fanfare Flourishes of triumphant victory. Brass Band contests (not that they would exist!) would be merely a repeated percussive ‘ditty’. And in Orchestras, the String and Woodwind sections would have nothing to whinge about!!
Well don’t panic. The Brass is going nowhere! It’s here to stay. Forever!
Secondary Schools are key to nurturing and enthusing students in musical performance. Over many years, Head Teachers, Ofsted, and Music department staff have observed the academic, social, musical and community importance that Musical Performances in schools can deliver. This must continue. It is our destiny (imagine the Star Wars theme playing now for dramatic effect!)
In this article I will introduce you to the recommended range and brands of Trombones, French Horns and Tenor Horns available here at Normans Musical Instruments. I can reassure you these will be perfect for students, as they advance through secondary school and beyond.
Everyone has their own view on the ‘majestic’ Trombone. The ‘King’ of instruments, the purest of instruments, the ‘backbone’ of the band, the foundations on which all others rely………..or sometimes, “too loud, annoying and I wished they’d just shut up”!! Trust me, without them, life and music would be bland and not half as exciting!
The two excellent trombones recommended for secondary school students, who want the best quality, are both from Yamaha;
The Yamaha YSL354 Bb Trombone was designed to make it easier for students to sound good…and as soon as possible. They are produced in Yamaha workshops by highly trained craftspeople to similar specifications and manufacturing processes found on professional models. Every single instrument is stringently test-played and inspected by an expert. This is why some top artists have commented that Yamaha standard models are very close to pro trombones in quality. Yet are much easier for beginners to play.
The YSL354 utilises a yellow-brass, 8” bell giving a pure, bright tone and projection. The nickel silver slide offers articulation with reliable control. It is a medium bore trombone (12.7mm) allowing for easier access to the higher registers. It comes complete with a Yamaha SL-48S mouthpiece and protective moulded hard case.
With all of the same quality design features of the YSL354…
The Yamaha YSL445GE offers dedicated trombonists one of the best value-for-money instruments money can buy. Offering a beautiful rich tone, easy playability, and a balanced response. The bore (13.34mm) and bell sizes are the same as professional models, and it boasts a handcrafted assembly. This you would normally expect only from a top-of-the-range trombone.
The 8-1/2″ gold brass bell gives a warm, rich sound which can fill a concert hall and the intonation is very accurate. The slide action is smooth and the quick response and comfortable playability is consistent in almost any register.. The YSL445GE is a medium-large bore model for versatility in almost any playing situation and accepts small-shank mouthpieces.
For students requiring a ‘F’ trigger, the Yamaha YSL446GE Bb/F Trombone will meet all of their requirements. It based on the above YSL445 with the added ‘F’ section. A true symphonic champion.
These Yamaha models are durable, high quality trombones which offer a perfect entry into the world of secondary school, and beyond, music performance. Oh, and concert hall domination!
Just think of the theme tune to ‘Black Beauty’……………..that is, if you are over the age of 45!
The unique and sonorous sound of a French Horn is a wonderful addition to any musical texture.
However, because of the higher cost to manufacture a French Horn, they can often become a ‘rare’ species in secondary school bands and orchestras.
Here at Normans Musical Instruments, we do offer the entry level single Elkhart ‘100 Series’ models, either in Bb or F, and both under £300 to get you started. We do find that at the higher level of performance in secondary schools, a quality Double or Compensating French Horn is the required standard. To understand the full intricacies between a Double and compensating horn, read our previous article here
The world-renowned French Horn maker, Paxman, has two great quality instruments to suit the discerning secondary school student.
The PAX1 Academy Bb/F Compensating Horn is the perfect compromise for a younger student whose progress requires a Bb and F horn but who may struggle with the bulk and weight of a full double instrument. The fourth rotor switches the instrument between Bb and F, enabling the instrument to span a greater pitch range and the student to learn the various fingering combinations facilitated by a two-sided horn.
The Paxman PAX2 Academy Bb/F Full Double Horn is a high-quality Geyer style intermediate horn. The mainstay of the range, this hugely successful full double horn has quickly established itself as one of the most popular choices at this level. Lightweight and responsive, it is an excellent instrument on which it is possible to develop a sound technique and a rich and warm tone. With an adjustable finger hook and thumb lever, the left-hand position can be made comfortable for almost any player.
Designed by the enigmatic Adolphe Sax, who as well as inventing the Saxophone, produced a range of brass instruments called saxhorns, which over many years and incarnations are now known as Tenor Horns, Baritones, Euphoniums etc. He was certainly a busy man!
Eb Tenor Horns have been an ever-present in Brass Bands for many years. Because of this inclusion, they are also popular in school bands. The key point is musical inclusion is paramount for all students, so photocopy those Alto Sax parts, enjoy, and continue!
Besson BE152 New Standard Series Tenor Horn is a real benchmark in student Tenor Horns. This Besson model boasts a stunning Silver plate finish, precision stainless steel centre valves and yellow-brass bell which all contribute to its exceptional sound and playability. This is a great choice for all secondary school and above players and will not fail to impress you and your audience!
The Yamaha YAH203 Eb Tenor Horn is a superb, hand-made instrument which is comparable to many other brand’s intermediate models, and a great investment. This easily playable instrument produces a rounded and mellow tone and has many of the features found on their professional models, encompassing some of their fantastic tonal characteristics.
Montreux EAH01 Concert Series Tenor Horn – Prepared to be amazed at this new brand on the market! Taking inspiration in its design, materials and build quality from some of the greatest, professional Tenor Horns available. The new Montreux EAH01 is definitely ‘punching above its weight’. The sound production, tone and beautiful silver-plate finish is gaining a reputation of similarity to that of the Besson Sovereign, for a fraction of the price. Montreux is aimed at the dedicated and improving player who strives for perfection in tone, articulation and intonation. You will not be disappointed!
All of our excellent instruments are checked to ensure only the highest quality reaches you in a perfect condition. All the instruments come with mouthpieces and attractive protective cases.
No matter what your musical taste and preference is, from Ellington to Elgar, Wagner to ‘Vader’, or Grimethorpe to Grieg, at Normans Musical Instruments we have a suitable and reliable, high-quality Brass instrument you can rely on.