All brass instrument produce their sound by buzzing their lips together, rather as you do whan you make a “raspberry” They are called brass because most of our modern brass instruments are made of metal but it is the way the sound is produced that makes it part of this family of instruments. This means that the didgeridoo is in fact a brass instrument, as well as the annoying vuvuzela.The sax is not although made of brass, because its method of playing is like a recorder, which means it is a woodwind. The way the lips “buzz” means a large number of notes can be made with the mouth alone. The added valves or slide fills in the rest of notes needed for modern music. Traditional instruments like the bugle depend only on the players lips to change note.
The trumpet requires great breath pressure – as much as oboe. For that reason many younger players are started on the easier cornet. The front second teeth should be grown and be even. Braces cause severe problems. Trumpets depend on having a firm top teeth as a base for sound production. Braces, particularly after years of playing, change the way the sound is produced which can put players back years. The braces are often so painful even with various protective waxes, it becomes impossible to perform. Trumpets by their nature are loud so they are not for the timid or for home units. Extroverts love it and can reach amazing levels of performance at quite a young age. Here is a nine year old performing.
The cornet originally belonged to the brass band but it has some huge advantages. It plays exactly the same as the trumpet but because its tubing is based on a conical rather than cylindrical tubing, its bore is wider which makes it much easier to blow. This means it is a good choice for a younger player to start on rather than the more difficult trumpet.
The French Horn
The trombone is easier to blow than the trumpet or French horn and surprisingly light. The players’ arms must be long enough to stretch to 6th position – but kids soon grow. There is no intricate finger work but the player must have a keen sense of pitch. It plays a very wide range of music which makes it a very interesting instrument to play. Here is one of my favourite trombone ensembles performing The Stars and Stripes
Euphonium – Baritone – Tuba- Sousaphone
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