Choosing a Musical Instrument To your Child - A Parents' Help guide to Woodwinds
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Many people find themselves thrown into the world of musical instruments they do know nothing about when their children first begin music at college. Knowing the basics of good instrument construction, materials, picking a good store where you can rent or get yourself a dvd instruments is extremely important. Precisely what process should a parent or gaurdian follow to make the best ways for their child?
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Clearly the first task is to choose a musical instrument. Let your child get their choice. Kids don't make lots of big decisions regarding life, and this is a huge one that can be very empowering. I'm also able to say from personal experience that youngsters have a natural intuition in what is good for them. Ultimately, my strongest advice is usually to put a child in to a room to try only 3-5 different choices, and let them make their choice in line with the sound they like best.
This data is intended to broaden your horizons, never to create a preference, as well as to put you in a position to nit-pick from the store! Most instruments are incredibly well made these days, and choosing a respected retailer will assist you to trust recommendations. Ask your school and/or private music teacher where you can shop.
Woodwind instruments are made all over the world, but primarily in america, Germany, France, and China. Once we talk about Woodwind instruments, we are referring to members of the Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, and Bassoon families.
All Woodwinds involve a fairly complex, interconnected mechanism that has to be regulated so that the keys all move and seal the holes with the instrument when they are likely to. Your trusted local retailer will likely be sure to get you a guitar that is 'set up', although many new instruments come all set to go out of the box. When you are getting through a brand new instrument, you need to bring it back to a shop for a check-up after about A few months, or sooner if there are any issues. Because every one of the materials are new and tight, they might come out of regulation because the instrument is broken in. That is normal. You should trust this kind of regulation every 12-18 months, or sooner when the instrument is played a great deal.
Woodwinds also have pads. Pads would be the part of the instrument that seal in the holes in the body from the instrument (toneholes). A perfect seal is required to produce the correct note. Tuning and sound quality are affected by a correctly 'seated' pad. These also occasionally break, as part of your regular maintenance, although almost never all at once. When all pads have to be replaced (once every 8-10 years), this is done as part of a comprehensive 'overhaul' of the instrument which includes taking all of it apart, cleaning it, refitting and tightening loose parts, and replacing springs and corks as necessary. This is a rare procedure, and customarily reserved for professionals. The upkeep repair is the most common one for fogeys.
Because of the many rods and key-cups (these support the pads), there are a lot of very sensitive, simple to bend parts of these instruments. Understanding how to assemble them properly is vital to avoiding unwanted repair costs. Be sure to ask your local retailer to the proper way to assemble your instrument. This is often the cause of the most common repairs, accompanied by bumping into things.
Interestingly, its not all woodwinds are made from wood. Flutes and saxophones are made primarily of metals; Nickel-silver and silver for Flutes, and generally Brass for Saxophones. We'll follow these materials of these instruments for simplicity's sake, as there are increasingly more choices available.
For the remainder of the Woodwind instruments, wood should indeed be employed for the main construction with the instruments.
Flutes & Saxophones
Student Flutes are produced from Nickel-Silver, then plated in silver. Nickel-Silver is a combination of brass with Nickel, with a similar look to Silver when polished, hence its name. One of its primary advantages would it be is stronger than brass or silver on their own. As you progress to higher instruments more Silver is used, starting with the headjoint (which is the most important factor in a good quality of sound). More about headjoints later.
Saxophones are generally created from brass. Try to find a device that has 'ribbing' on the body; extra plates of brass offering structural support over a location where multiple posts affix to the body. This provides strength to the occasional and unavoidable bumps that your particular young students are bound to have. Some student Saxes have keywork made of Nickel-Silver, which is a good technique of strength in a vulnerable area.
Clarinets and Oboes
Clarinet and Oboe our body is typically made of Abs plastic, fiberglass for student instruments. This is an excellent strategy for bumps, but also against the maintenance habits and climate changes that students face. Intermediate and professional instruments are made from Grenadilla wood (which is changing as Grenadilla edges for the endangered list). As they are made of wood they must be protected against cracking. If the student doesn't swab their instrument out after playing, the moisture could cause the wood to grow and crack. Likewise, bringing your instrument to college on a cold day and playing it without letting it come to room temperature will cause it to crack, as well as rupture. This is caused a pressure differential from the warm air column inside the instrument, compared to the cold temperature outside of the instrument. If you want to get a wood instrument, be sure your student ready and able to look after it properly.
Keys on Clarinets and Oboes are likely to be made from Nickel-Silver, but can be made with Silver plating, and other materials.
Student Bassoons are made of ABS plastic, but there are many new makers in the market that offer Hard Rubber, and in addition Maple (used in professional instruments). A downside for Hard Rubber Bassoons is they are quite heavy. If you're able to get a good wood Bassoon for any reasonable price, then choose this one. Wood offers the best acoustics for Bassoon, and will make the difference between a plain sound, and one which is rich and interesting.
Keywork on Bassoons is every bit made from Nickel-Silver, often silver plated.
With all the word 'mouthpiece' for woodwinds can be confusing. Here are the instruments using the correct names for the corresponding part of the instrument which makes the sound:((Flute: Headjoint
Clarinet: Mouthpiece (with a single reed)
Saxophone: Mouthpiece (having a single reed)
Oboe: Double reed (two reeds tied plus a hole in between)
Bassoon: Double reed (two reeds tied along with a hole in between)
Regardless of instrument, this is the part of the whole that makes the maximum impact on the quality of the sound, together with the player's personal physical attributes. Students generally use what they get from their teacher, but several tips about how to get the most from your equipment. Receiving a good mouthpiece can precede, and in many cases postpone the purchase of a whole new Clarinet or Sax, so great will be the difference with hard rubber.
(For Flute, make sure your headjoint cork is properly aligned, and never dried out. Your local retailer will reveal how to do this. If there are problems, have them fixed without delay, or choose a different flute. For additional intermediate flutes, choose a headjoint that is not only made entirely of Silver, but is hand-cut. This would possibly not always be easier to play in the beginning, but the sound quality improvement will be worth making the leap. Silver sounds much better than Nickel-Silver, producing a better tone quality, with additional room for changing the standard according to the player's needs. You can purchase headjoints separately, but it can be very expensive, and I advise out of this until you reach an expert flute.
Oboe and Bassoon use two opposing, slightly curved reeds tied together that vibrate against one another when air passes with shod and non-shod. Advanced oboists/bassoonists make reeds by themselves, a time-consuming, skill-heavy task. It will require many years to learn to produce reeds for yourself, that work well. Fortunately, you can find ready-made reeds that generally meet the needs of the student player. One key element you should test is always to assure that the reed 'crows' perfectly in the pitch 'C'. Crowing a reed is blowing through it if it's not attached to the instrument. Test the crow with a tuner.
Clarinets and Saxophones make use of a single reed (small bit of very well shaped and profiled cane) associated with a mouthpiece (by the ring called a 'ligature') that vibrates when air is passed backward and forward. The combination of these parts is vital to a good sound. Most students obtain a plastic mouthpiece to start out. Good plastic mouthpieces are produced by Yamaha for both Clarinet and Saxophone, with all the designation of '4C'. I recommend a '5C' if it is available. It will likely be a little harder to experience at first, but a fantastic way to get a bigger be the better choice off the bat. If you'd like to get a better quality of sound with more room for good loud and soft playing and and introducing an abundant tone, then look at a Hard Rubber Mouthpiece. Hard rubber surpasses plastic acoustically, and must be hand finished, unlike the plastic variety, which can be spit out of a mold and polished/tumbled for shine. They're noticeably more expensive, nevertheless, you should expect to spend in the $100-150 range for a decent Hard Rubber mouthpiece. Good names include: Selmer, Vandoren, Otto Link, Meyer, Yamaha, and Leblanc. Any local retailer should stock a minimum of two of these brands that you can try - and you will try them! Because these are typically hand finished, they are often subtly different.
Why don't you consider sizes?
Clarinet and Saxophone mouthpieces have a wide range of different sizing areas, and also for the sake of simplicity, the most important is the 'tip opening'. Tip opening means the distance between the tip in the reed and the tip in the mouthpiece. Sadly, there is absolutely no standardized system for measuring tip openings, whilst they are commonly measured in millimetres, or utilizing a numbering system (usually beginning at number 5, trainees sizing), or even letters. The metric method usually includes two to three numbers; a gap of 2.97mm might be listed as 297, or as 97, depending on the maker. The numbering system could be listed as 5, 5*, 6, 6*, 7, etc. The 'star' numbers is highly recommended half-sizes. Letters work exactly the same as numbers in general; C, C*, D, D*, etc.
To offer your student an advantage, aim for a '6', or 'D' sizing. That is bigger than what they are used to, but will pay off with a bigger sound right away. Some notes for the ends of your range, both high and low, will likely suffer, however is only temporary while you adjust to the new mouthpiece and develop greater strength.
Oil and Adjust. This action needs to be conducted on your student's instrument annually, and up frequently, if there is lots of playing. The mechanics in the interconnected parts is delicate, and arrives of alignment often.
Bore oiling. Yearly this will be required on Clarinets and Oboes to help you guard against cracking.
Avoid cheap instruments. With instruments you get what you buy. There are a lot of instruments received from India and China now. The majority are excellent, while many others shouldn't even have been made. Any local, respected dealer needs to have those that are reliable, and can stand behind them. Your big-box Costco, Wal-Mart, Best to buy, and e-Bay has no expertise in these matters, and functions because of their bottom line only. Avoid these places. They can not possibly offer you the continuing assistance, service, or repair that the developing and interested student will be needing. If you choose this route, obtain American, European, or Japanese-made instruments. This will be a major separator of good from bad. People who make in these places are usually very well trained and portion of a history of excellent wind instrument making. The local, trusted retailer will assist to guide you in the choices available, and remember that just because it says USA, or Paris about it, does not mean it was produced in these places. Manufacturers are now sometimes making this stuff part of the 'name' of the instrument.((Simply how much should I spend?
That's the big question. Know that popular instruments, like Flute and Clarinet, are less costly because they are made in greater quantities. Some instruments, like Oboe and Bassoon, are challenging and time-consuming to make, making them more expensive. Here is a list of acceptable and approximate pricing (during the time that this is being written) for brand spanking new student instruments that works for both American and Canadian currency.