Choosing a brass musical instrument to start playing may seem quite a
daunting prospect. There are several factors to keep in mind such as cost, the
player's physical size and weight capabilities and availability of teachers of
that instrument (there are some very good online databases to assist you in
finding qualified teachers in your area). The key consideration to bear in mind
when choosing a brass instrument is that playing it should be fun! It's a good
idea to choose your instrument according to which genre of music you like. For
example, if you want to play jazz, there is no sense in learning the euphonium,
whereas trumpets are popular in all genres. Some musicians get a kick from
playing in an orchestra. Others opt to go solo. It's a good idea for the budding
musician to keep in mind at the outset an idea of the general direction he would
like to go in. After all, what started out as a hobby may flourish to become a
lucrative career, and what better than to be paid for playing the music you
A classical symphony orchestra will usually feature tenor trombones, a
bass trombone, a tuba, trumpets and horns.
A traditional brass band will incorporate a soprano cornet, euphoniums, a
bass trombone, a flugelhorn, baritones, tenor trombones, tubas, cornets and
Big bands used in swing and jazz will usually incorporate trumpets, tenor
trombones and a bass trombone.
Solo instrumentalists are used in a variety of music genres, from pop to
folk to blues.
Brass Instruments Types
There are two families of brass musical instrument in modern music: valved
As the name suggests, valved instruments use a set of valves which the
player operates with his fingers. Valves are usually piston valves, but may be
rotary valves as in the case of tubas and horns (rotary valves require special
care, for example they must be cleaned by an expert - see the cleaning section
for further details). Most modern brass instruments are valved instruments,
including the flugelhorn, cornet, trumpet, euphonium, French horn, tuba and
Slide instruments incorporate a slide to change the length of tubing, and
thus raising and lowering the note. Trombones are the main family of slide
instruments (bar the valve trombone, which is mostly used in jazz pieces).
The bugle category of brass instruments incorporates bugles, trumpets,
flugelhorns and cornets. There are subtle differences between these instruments
in appearance, sound and playing technique. Buglists are sought after by brass
bands, particularly military bands.
The trumpet is a popular choice of brass instrument. It is ideal for the
beginner. Trumpets are used in a wide variety of music genres, which should help
to keep learning interesting. Trumpets are convenient to transport and store and
are relatively inexpensive.
Like the trumpet and cornet, the flugelhorn belongs to the bugle family of
brass musical instruments. It is similar to the trumpet but its sound is
slightly sweeter. Flugelhorns are widely used in a variety of music types, from
classical to traditional brass band music, and are very popular in jazz.
The cornet is similar to the trumpet, but with a slightly more melodic
sound. Cornets are ideal for beginners because they are more compact than
trumpets, which makes them easier to hold. Cornets are a vital component of a
traditional brass band but, like the trumpet, their musical range is extensive.
Cornets are relatively inexpensive to buy.
Euphoniums and Tubas
These instruments can be enormous and tend to be quite expensive. However,
euphoniumists and tubist are becoming few and far between and so are always in
demand. Tubas can be so big that you may struggle fitting it into the boot.
Euphoniums are smaller scaled and have a wonderful range. These instruments are
elementary to the classical symphony orchestra and the traditional brass band.
A french horn is both a beauty to behold and a delight to the ear. A good
French horn will be quite expensive and challenging to learn. French horn
players quite a rarity. No classical orchestra would be complete without half a
dozen, however, meaning that players are much in demand.
Despite this instrument's impressive range, trombonists are becoming an
endangered species! Though the trombone is a reasonably priced instrument, its
slides are very delicate and must be handled with great care. The trombone is
easy to learn and there is great demand for trombonists to play in classical,
swing, jazz and traditional brass bands.
The great news is that if you shop online for
Instruments you can find unbeatable deals at great prices!