The band experience

By Jean Sanders
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girl with band instrument
From selecting the right instrument to learning to read music, being in band can enhance a student's education.
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Band instruments at school

Even children with no musical background can join their school's band. How is this possible? It's because all the basic aspects of playing a musical instrument and reading music notation are taught at school. No one can predict whether a child will have musical ability, but even those whose parents are not musical have a chance of success. The most important factors in whether a child will do well are regular practicing and desire.

Students who also wish to participate in sports may experience schedule conflicts. Both sports and band are time consuming activities. Before signing students up for band, parents need to consider their children's other needs and activities, including studying and time for fun. Like other music courses, band is an elective. In addition to the time spent in class, students will also be expected to attend rehearsals and performances outside of school hours.

Selecting the right instrument is an important part of joining a band class. Band directors will consider the student's preferences, musical aptitude and physical characteristics before recommending the most appropriate band instruments for each student. The flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, baritone, tuba and percussion are good choices for beginners.

Band instruments can be purchased from local musical instrument dealers or online. Prices vary widely depending on the level of quality. Beginners should select lower priced, entry level instruments. Upgrading to better quality instruments should the students have a gift for music can always be done later. Those with a strong interest in improving their skills can take private lessons to supplement the school instruction.

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, defines the trumpet as the highest brass instrument in register, above the tuba, euphonium, trombone, sousaphone, and french horn. A person who plays the trumpet is called a trumpeter or trumpet player.

Trumpets are made of brass tubing bent into a rough spiral. Sound is produced by blowing air through closed lips to produce a "buzzing" effect through vibration. This creates a standing wave of vibrating air and metal in the trumpet. The trumpet player can select the pitch from a range of overtones or harmonics by changing the air speed and lip tension. Each trumpet has three valves which are used to control the pitch of the instrument. The trumpet's sound is projected outward by the bell. The trumpet's mouthpiece provides a comfortable receiver so the player's lips do not touch the sharp edge of the trumpet's tube directly. The mouthpiece's shape affects the quality of sound and the ease of playing.

There are several different types of trumpets which are pitched in different keys. Trumpeters with great endurance or range in their playing are said to have impressive chops. Some famous trumpeters include Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Chase and Maynard Ferguson.

Learning to read music is an important part of the band experience. The songs to be played are written in musical notation on paper which is called sheet music. The way the information is put on the page determines what notes will be played, for how long and how loudly.

The composer records his intentions on the sheet music and the conductor leads the musicians in the proper interpretation of those intentions. Not every conductor sees the music the same way. Recordings of the same music by different conductors will have subtle variations in the way the music is played even though the sheet music used was the same.

While musicians may have their own ideas about how to play the music, when they are in a band, they are expected to follow the direction of the conductor. If all the musicians went their own ways, the audience would hear a mishmash of sound instead of music.

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