Instrument Descriptions

Below are the instruments offered in 6th grade band.   If you are interested in playing saxophone or percussion, we will need to meet to discuss the specific expectations for these instruments.

Brass class will meet 5th period, woodwind/percussion class will meet 6th period.  The two classes will combine for performances.

Woodwinds: Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet

Flute:

Flute

Flute

The flute is common in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, sometimes jazz ensembles, and as a solo instrument.  In the band, flute is most often used to provide melodies and is occasionally featured as a solo instrument.  More than any other instrument, flute requires a careful match with its player.  Very few students are mediocre flute players – most can either play the flute very well or simply cannot play it at all, due to lip shape.  Ms. Arthur will help determine if flute is a good choice.

Oboe:

Oboe

Oboe

The oboe is a double reed instrument that is common in symphonic bands, orchestras, and as a solo instrument.  The oboe produces a beautiful sound using two reeds instead of a mouthpiece, and looks like a slightly smaller version of the clarinet.  In the band, it is usually used to provide melodies, and often has similar parts to the flute.  Good oboe players are in great demand among college bands and orchestras.

Bassoon:

Bassoon

Bassoon

The bassoon is a double reed instrument and can be found in symphonic bands, orchestras, and as a solo instrument.  It occasionally has solos within band music.  The bassoon is in high demand in most music groups due to their rich, deep sound and simply for the fact that not enough people play bassoon.  The bassoon is easily the most difficult instrument offered.  Only dedicated students should attempt this instrument, and private lessons are very strongly recommended.  Good bassoon players are highly sought-after by top college music programs.

Clarinet:

Clarinet

Clarinet

The clarinet can be found in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, jazz bands and as a solo instrument.  In the band, the clarinet provides melodies and is often asked to solo.  It is closely related to the saxophone and many musicians that play clarinet can play both, though starting on clarinet is much easier to do than the other way around.  The clarinet can play both rapid, intricate pieces and soft, calming music, and has a sweet and powerful tone.  The clarinet is to the concert band like the violin is to the full orchestra: They are very important and several are ALWAYS needed!

Bass Clarinet:

Bass Clarinet

Bass Clarinet

The bass clarinet is common in marching bands, symphonic bands, and occasionally symphony orchestras.  The bass clarinet has a deep, rich tone, and plays parts that are similar to that of the bassoon.  The bass clarinet is about four times as big as a regular clarinet with a curved tube leading to the mouthpiece and a curved metal bell at the bottom of the instrument.  Both clarinet and bass clarinet read the same music and have the same fingerings, so switching between the two is not complicated.  Bass clarinets are in demand in music groups due to their lower sound.

Brass: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba

Trumpet:

 

Trumpet

 

The trumpet is found in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, jazz bands, and as a solo instrument.  In the band, the trumpet provides melodies as the lead voice of the brass family.  The trumpet is extremely versatile, playing both fast and articulate music equally well with soft and lyrical musical styles.  The trumpet uses a small metal mouthpiece to create its rich sound.

French Horn:

 

French Horn

 

The French horn is found in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, and as a solo instrument.  The French horn has what many consider one of the most beautiful and gentle sounds of any instrument.  It generally provides background support for bands and orchestras, though is often called upon to solo and play demanding secondary figures.  The French horn is one of the more difficult brass instruments to learn.  A student who can sing and match pitch naturally is usually an excellent fit for this instrument.  Skilled French horn players are in high demand in college music programs.

Trombone:

 

Trombone

 

The trombone is common in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, jazz bands, and as a solo instrument.  The trombone is unique in that is uses a movable slide to change notes, unlike valved brass instruments or fingered woodwind instruments.  In the band, it generally provides rhythmic and background support.  Trombones are extremely important in jazz bands.  Students with shorter arms may have a hard time playing the trombone at first.

Baritone:

Baritone, aka Euphonium

Baritone, aka Euphonium

The baritone (also sometimes called a Euphonium) is common in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras and as a solo instrument.  The baritone provides extremely important bass sounds within the band, and it’s warm and lyrical sound is heavily desired by band directors.  Because of its design, the baritone is often described as a “mini-tuba”, though the sound of the instrument is much different than its larger cousin.

Tuba:

TUBA

TUBA

The tuba is the MOST IMPORTANT instrument in the band.  It is found in marching bands, symphonic bands, orchestras, and as a solo instrument.  The tuba has the lowest pitch of all the band instruments, and is often the most important instrument in the ensemble sound.  While the larger size of the tuba may pose a challenge for some students, students are welcome to start on this instrument.  Another option is to begin on baritone and later make the easy conversion to tuba.

 

Last update: August 25th, 2015