You want to take up a Brass instrument? Good choice. But what takes your fancy? From high to low we have:
- Cornet - Trumpet - Tenor Horn - French Horn - Trombone - Baritone - Euphonium - Tuba
To narrow down your choice, we recommend thinking about the following:
Think about what you like
Are you in love with the sounds of Miles Davis? Do you feel a thrill listening to huge orchestras playing John Williams? Does a military brass band make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? Have a listen and find out what gets your heart racing. After that, have a look into what instruments feature in these sort of groups and that should help narrow down your search.
Next, think about what you'd enjoy. Do you want to play alone or as part of a group? If the former, then it may be worth casting your gaze to the higher instruments. If the latter, then you've further considerations. For example, do you like to take the lead and show off your skills or do you think you'd be happier sat at the back, holding everything together? Once again, this should help narrow down your search.
Thinking about the physical
There are also some more practical considerations to keep in mind. Think about the physicality of the instrument. Trombone
players benefit from a long reach. Musicians of valved instruments need to be able wiggle their fingers fast. All brass instruments need a good bit of puff, and obviously the bigger the instrument, the more air is needed to fill it.
How patient are you?
Are you willing to dedicate years to your craft before you see signs of improvement? Well, that shouldn't be necessary. However, some brass instruments offer more challenges than others. For example, the French Horn
can be painted with this brush when you keep in mind that they often play in Bb and F. This means they're twice the theoretical knowledge need to play to the fullest.
Keeping up appearances
All musical instruments need some degree of upkeep and Maintenance
to ensure they function at their best. Day to day, there are slides that need greasing and valves that need oiling. Beyond that, brass instruments need periodic cleaning, usually in the form of a bath. Bigger instruments are more work in this regard.
The final consideration is money. Crude but true. That being said, if you find yourself with your heart set, there are ways to get hold of your dream instrument. There are rental
options. For younger players, it is sometimes possible to borrow an instrument from your local music service or to apply for grants to help with the cost. The AIPS scheme
is ever popular for this reason.