Instrument Orientation

Instrument Testing & Selection

In the first two weeks of school, Beginning Band students have the opportunity to try out all of the band instruments.  During this time, students are assessed on how well they are able to make a basic sound (or in the case of percussion, if they possess the appropriate coordination).  Students are given a score from 1-5 (5 being the best) on each instrument they try.  When testing is completed, students will be advised to choose an instrument that best suits their abilities and physical characteristics.

Instrumentation

Much like a sports team, band requires a certain number of people to play each “position” or instrument.  Without the proper number of people on each instrument, the band will not sound good or correct.  Therefore, the director is tasked with:

  1. matching students with an appropriate instrument
  2. making sure the band’s instrumentation needs are met.

The following list describes the target instrumentation for this year’s Beginning Band (2013-2014).

Based on around 108 band members:

Flute- 11 players, Oboe- 3, Bassoon- 3, Clarinet- 24, Alto saxophone- 6, Tenor saxophone- 3, Trumpet- 12, French horn- 6, Trombone- 12,  Baritone/Euphonium- 6, Tuba- 8,  Percussion- 8

Instrument videos

Millennium MS Band YouTube Channel

Instrument Comparison

The following chart offers a comparison of the various instruments on a variety of factors.  These factors are often important considerations when families decide to make the investment of time and money in an instrument.  Consider this chart a guide, not 100% gospel!

Size the size & weight of the instrument
Maintenance difficulty & cost of maintenance
Rental from store average rental cost per month
Rental from school rental cost for the year
Critical Need how badly an instrument is needed to provide correct instrumentation for the band immediately
Price of accessories average price of the necessary accessories
Demand how badly an instrument is needed to provide correct instrumentation in the long run (high school, college)
Scholarship Availability availability of scholarship money for college
Primary Ensembles groups in which this instrument can participate
Learning curve refers to the length of time it takes to sound reasonably good
Notes additional information
Woodwinds Flute Oboe Bassoon Alto Saxophone Tenor Saxophone
Size small small large (when assembled) medium large
Maintenance low high high moderate moderate
Rental from store low ($19) very high ($45) very high ($50) high ($35) very high ($45)
Rental from school ($100 for year) available to free & reduced lunch students available to all students available to all students available to free & reduced lunch students available to all students
Price of accessories low high high moderate moderate
Critical Need low high very high low low
Demand low very high very high low low
Scholarship Availability low high high low low
Primary Ensembles  concert band, orchestra  concert band, orchestra  concert band, orchestra band, jazz band band, jazz band
Learning curve short long long moderate moderate
Notes There are many players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is very competitive. There are not many players, so the path to winning auditions and scholarships is less competitive.  Private lessons are necessary on this instrument. There are not many players, so the path to winning auditions and scholarships is less competitive. Private lessons are necessary on this instrument. There are many players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is very competitive. There are many players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is very competitive.
Brass & Percussion Trumpet French horn Trombone Baritone/Euphonium Tuba Percussion
Size small medium medium large very large wide variation
Maintenance low moderate moderate low low low
Rental from store low ($19) very high ($45) low ($19) very high ($45) not available low
Rental from school ($100 for year) available to free & reduced lunch students available to all students available to free & reduced lunch students available to all students available to all students not available
Price of accessories low low low low low high
Critical Need low high high moderate very high low
Demand low very high high moderate very high low
Scholarship Availability low very high moderate moderate very high low
Primary Ensembles concert band, jazz band, orchestra  concert band, orchestra concert band, jazz band, orchestra concert band, jazz band, orchestra  concert band, orchestra concert band, jazz band, orchestra
Learning curve moderate long moderate short moderate moderate
Notes There are many players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is very competitive. There are not many players, so the path to winning auditions and scholarships is less competitive. Private lessons are necessary on this instrument. There is a moderate amount players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is moderately competitive. There is a moderate amount players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is moderately competitive. There are not many players, so the path to winning auditions and scholarships is less competitive. There are many players, so winning auditions and getting scholarships is very competitive. Students must learn a wide variety of instruments for class, which does not include the drum set.

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