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Yamaha Holiday Shopping Guide

Step Up to a Better Wind Instrument

Five reasons your child needs a more advanced instrument.

Navigating the world of middle school, junior high or high school band can be tough for parents of young musicians — especially those of you who weren’t yourself an instrumentalist back in your glory days.

Instruments, reeds, strings, mallets, valve oil — there are many important things that school-aged band and orchestra members need in order to be successful. It goes without saying that having a quality, durable, well-made instrument is the foundation of a student’s success. So let’s take a look at five reasons why they may need to step up!

1. You’re still renting their first instrument

At first, renting is a great way to put off a purchase while you get a feel for whether or not your child is going to stick with it. But once you know he or she likes playing that not-quite-so-beautiful sounding saxophone (squeak! honk!), it will be a better long-term investment to own a quality intermediate level instrument that will hold its value.

2. They’re a couple years in and they still have their first instrument

If your child is dedicated and already has a year or two of experience, they are likely playing harder music or even competing with other students for chair placement. Like clothing, it is absolutely true that you can outgrow an entry-level instrument. Now that the squeaks and honks are rarer, a better instrument will greatly improve the quality of sound that can be produced and help your child learn faster!

3. That rockin’ horn from your glory days is now their main “axe”

Many parents who were in band when they were students still have — and treasure — their instrument. Sometimes an older instrument in good condition can make for a great starter horn and save some money on a rental. But it might be a good idea to retire that old classic back to a safe spot in the hallway closet for a few reasons, such as if it doesn’t have modern mechanics or if the pads aren’t in good condition — or if you just can’t bear the thought of them banging it on one more music stand!

4. There’s an audition coming up

A fun and unique challenge for your child can be competing for a spot in the district honor band. Or maybe they’re graduating soon and considering majoring in music in college. Continuing to improve at this age includes plenty of time in the practice room, but that’s just half of the equation. The other half is the instrument itself, and getting them a professional-level one to play will help them maximize their talent.

5. They need an instrument that offers all the bells and whistles

There are many instrument families where the more advanced models not only offer your student greater room to improve, but also additional features. For example, step-up model oboes have many optional keys that are important when playing advanced repertoire. Flutists will want a C# trill key and a B foot. Higher-end saxophones offer lacquer keys and a high F# key. Orchestral trombones will have an F-attachment and a larger bore size. French horn players will graduate from a single to a double horn.

In short, a better instrument can inspire your child to better develop their musical skills — and have more fun as they do so!

For more information about Yamaha wind instruments, click here.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Petterson is the manager of the wind instrument department for Yamaha Corporation of America, which includes all brass and woodwind instrument marketing and promotions. He has an M.B.A degree from the University of California, Irvine and a B.A. in music education and saxophone performance from The University of Arizona. After years of wind ensemble, marching band, basketball band, jazz band, pit orchestra, quartet and solo performance, and teaching private lessons and public school ensembles, he decided to jump head first into music business. A dedicated advocate of the hugely successful Yamaha internship program that helped him get his start with the company, he has worked in the music industry since 2006.

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