Meet the Instruments
If you are thinking about what instrument you would like to play, take a look at the first playlist below to listen to some examples of every instrument found in our concert band! 

Also found on this page is information on what other supplies you will need, and how to clean and take care of your instrument. Find the video for your instrument in the bottom playlist for a demonstration of how to care for and clean your instrument.

Instrument Examples Playlist


Woodwinds

   The woodwind family includes instruments that make a sound by blowing air across or into a mouthpiece to make a vibration. The woodwind instruments you can find in our concert band are the flute, the clarinet, and the alto saxophone!

   The flute does not need any extra materials to play it, but it does need a good cleaning kit. Items you will need to clean the inside of your flute include a cleaning rod and a cleaning cloth. Most flutes come with a cleaning rod in the case, but you will need to acquire a cloth that is able to get a little dirty. A cheesecloth or any other small, thin fabric works well. Pull a corner of the cloth through the "eye" of the rod, and insert the rod into the separate parts of the flute. Be careful, and make sure the cloth is small enough so it won't get stuck. To clean the outside of the flute, you need a microfiber cloth. This kind of cloth is soft and will not scratch the metal on the outside of your flute. Always be gentle around your flute's keys when you clean it!
 
   The clarinet also requires a cleaning kit. You can find a pre-packaged clarinet cleaning kit that comes with a cloth and weighted string. Tie a corner of the cloth to the non-weighted end of the string, drop the weight down the separate parts of the clarinet, and pull the cloth through to clean the inside. Clarinets also require reeds, which are purchased separately. Reeds are small, thin, flat pieces of cane wood, and they come in different sizes. Size 2 is what you should start on. As you progress, you can move on to 2.5, and eventually, 3. The higher the number, the thicker the reed. Reeds are what vibrate to make a sound on the clarinet, so you can't play without one. Lastly, clarinets need cork grease to keep the tenons (the pieces of cork that connect the joints on the inside) moving smoothly.

   The alto saxophone uses a cleaning kit similar to a clarinet. There are cleaning kit packages that come with a cloth and weighted string. When you drop the weight through the separate parts of the saxophone, make sure you pull the cloth through from the widest end to the smallest end. Saxophones also require reeds! They have the same number system as the clarinet's reeds. Start on a 2, then work your way towards a 2.5, and then a 3. Neck straps are also required to play the saxophone, and are important so you don't have to hold up all the weight of the instrument with your hands. Lastly, alto saxophones need cork grease so you can smoothly connect your mouthpiece to the body of the instrument.

Brass

   The brass family includes instruments that you blow air through while you press your lips together tightly. Your lips make the vibration instead of the mouthpiece! The brass instruments that you can find in our concert band are the trumpet, the french horn, the trombone, and the baritone.

   The trumpet, like all brass instruments, has moving parts that need to be lubricated in order to play well and stay in good condition. Valve oil is required to keep the trumpet's three valves moving freely and smoothly. Using valve oil for the first time can be tricky, so please don't use it before I show you how in lessons. Trumpets also need slide grease or slide oil to maintain its tuning slides. Another item in a trumpet's cleaning kit is the mouthpiece brush. This tool allows you to clean the inside of the mouthpiece. Lastly, you can use a microfiber cloth to polish the outside of your trumpet.
 
   The french horn has three valves, also called rotors, that need similar care to a trumpet's valves. Use valve oil, or rotor oil, to maintain your french horn's valves. Again, please wait for a demonstration on how to use valve oil in your lessons before you attempt it on your own. French horns also need slide grease or slide oil to keep its many slides functioning. All brass instruments have a mouthpiece brush shaped just for its mouthpiece, so make sure you have this tool in your cleaning kit. And lastly, you can polish away fingerprints on the outside of your french horn with a microfiber cloth.

    The trombone doesn't have valves, so it does not need valve oil. Instead, it relies on slide oil. I would recommend slide oil instead of slide grease, since it will need a lot of it for its big slide. To help spread the slide oil around and make the slide very easy to move, it is very helpful to spritz some distilled water on your slide's inner tubes using a small spray bottle. Make sure you have a mouthpiece brush that is meant for a trombone mouthpiece, and a microfiber cloth to polish the metal exterior of your trombone as well.

    The baritone has three valves (sometimes four!) that need valve oil to keep them in good shape. Please wait for a demonstration on how to use valve oil in your lessons before you try it on your own. Slide grease or slide oil is also needed to lubricate the inner tubes of your baritone's slides. Lastly, a mouthpiece brush and a microfiber cloth should also be part of your baritone cleaning kit.

Percussion

   The percussion family includes a very diverse group of instruments. When it comes down to it, there are two types of percussion instruments found in our concert band: pitched percussion, and unpitched percussion. 
   Pitched percussion includes instruments such as the bell set, xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone. All of these instruments use mallets, which are sticks with a beater at the end used to strike the keys of the instrument. Mallets come in all shapes and sizes, and can be made out of many different materials, like felt, yarn, rubber, or metal. Pitched percussion instruments can also be called "mallet percussion". If you choose to learn how to play mallet percussion, supplies you will need are the keys of a bell set, a stand for the keys, and a pair of rubber mallets - all which can be found in a bell set rental from a music store. (All mallet percussion students will also be incorporating piano into their lessons, so it is also wonderful if you own a piano or keyboard at home!) 
   Unpitched percussion includes instruments such as the snare drum, bass drum, triangle, tambourine, suspended cymbal, and so much more. Some of these instruments just need your hands or fingers to be played, but some use drum sticks, or other types of beaters. If you choose to learn how to play unpitched percussion instruments, you will need a snare drum, a stand for the snare drum, a pair of size 5A drum sticks, and a practice pad, all of which you can find at a music store. Practice pads come in many shapes and sizes, but their function is all the same - they are a more quiet and portable alternative to practicing unpitched percussion music.

Care and Maintenance Playlist

 

It is important to remember that the supplies (reeds, valve oil, etc.) you can get from school are meant to last throughout the year. Be careful that your reeds don't break too often, or that you don't misplace your supplies. You are more than welcome to purchase your own supplies, too!