At what age can you start playing a brass instrument?
It is recommended that you have your adult front teeth before starting, although it is not essential. I have known children of 6 years oldstarting to play and not having any bother.
Do I have to be able to read music before starting brass lessons?
No. I teach theory of music within the lesson or extra music theory lessons can be given if required. The tutor books are very good nowadays and most of them cover the basic rudiments of music within the tutoring.
Is the saxophone a brass instrument?
This has been asked many times. Saxophone is actually classed as a woodwind instrument as it has a reed mouthpiece.
How do I know what brass instrument is right for me?
The beauty of a brass instrument is that the 3 valves are the same on all of the instruments (slight exception for French horn) so if you do start on one and find that you want to change, then it is just the size of the mouthpiece which will have to be got used to. Unfortunately the trombone has no valves so you learn the slide positions but again it is easy enough to change if it is found to be unsuitable.
Where can I play my instrument?
Hopefully most schools run their own orchestras or ensembles and can accommodate you. When you leave your education, or indeed before you leave, you can join brass bands and orchestras within your local area so you can continue your playing right into your retirement if you wish!!
Which clef are brass instruments?
The majority of the brass instruments are treble clef. The exceptions are the tuba (for orchestra), which reads bass clef, and the trombone which, although it can be treble many players can read bass and tenor clefs as well. This enables them to join in many different music groups. The tuba in brass band is classed as a BBb or EEb bass and reads in treble clef.
Isn't brass a more male dominated group of instruments?
This has been the opinion of many people over the years. If you look at orchestras, jazz groups, big bands and indeed brass bands you will see more and more very talented female players appearing. The brass bands up north were for many years very male dominated as many (very narrow minded) players thought that women should not be part of the brass band world. This has definitely changed over recent years.
Don't brass instruments cost a lot more than the other types?
No. Like any instrument (and cars for that matter) you can buy cheap adequate versions to get you started and as you progress you can upgrade to a better quality one. Unlike a lot of the instruments a used brass instrument can seem like a new one if looked after and so there are some good top quality instruments at reasonable prices available. I do rental schemes on most of the instruments so you can try one out for a few months before having to pay out for the purchase of one.
What type of music can I play once I get to a good standard?
You can start playing basic well known tunes after learning just the first few notes of the C scale. Any type/style of music can be played on a brass instrument. Many people think that brass instruments are only for marching or jazz/big band groups but there are so many fine music composer/arrangers around who write for brass that almost any type of tune can be played. The band I play in cover everything from pop, classical, jazz, swing, shows/musicals and film/TV themes through to the good old marches and hymns.
How much does it cost to have lessons and how often should I have them?
Every teacher has their own charges – please see my terms and conditions for details. Frequency of lessons is a personal choice and also depends on how much home practise you are prepared to put in. Many of my pupils have weekly half hour lessons but some prefer fortnightly one hour lessons to save on travelling. I personally would recommend the first but either should be combined with at least 20 minutes practise every day, when possible, to make it worthwhile.