Pay the Piper

So you want to play a musical instrument?

You think you'd like to learn a brass instrument? We tell you the advantages and pitfalls, where to buy one, how to get lessons, what it will cost - everything you need to know

Why play an instrument?
What instrument to play
How to buy an instrument
Other costs
Where to get lessons
How much progress will I make?
Doing your practice
Music exams
Upgrading your instrument
Finding opportunities to play
Switching instruments
Violin & Viola
Double Bass
French Horn
Trumpet & Cornet
What's copyright?
Your questions answered
Links to other sites

Other brass instruments

In addition to the French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone and Tuba, there are a few other brass instruments you might like to consider. Most of them are associated with brass bands rather than orchestras.
If you live in an area where brass bands are popular, you might like to consider the Euphonium (a small tuba, so read the page about The Tuba), the Baritone Horn which is similar but has a narrower bore and not such a nice sound, or the Tenor Horn which is also similar but much smaller. There is also the Flugelhorn which is a still smaller tenor horn but is played held out in front of your face like a trumpet or cornet.
All these instruments are transposing instruments, mostly in B flat which means that when you play a C it sounds like a B flat to everyone else. Your printed music is adjusted accordingly.
Many brass bands have training schemes whereby they will lend aspiring young players an instrument and may throw in some tuition as well. If you come from an area where orchestras or wind bands are more common than brass bands, you could still consider some of these instruments as a means to an end. It is perfectly practical (and easy, too) to start on a euphonium or baritone horn and transfer to the tuba later when you are big enough or rich enough. And some young players start on the Tenor Horn and switch to the French Horn later although this is a bigger step as the French Horn is a rather idiosyncratic instrument. If you read the pages on the other brass instruments you will glean most of what you need to know about these other possibilities.
In terms of pleasant sound and being an enjoyable instrument to play, most brass teachers would rate the Euphonium highest and the Tenor Horn lowest.
As a guide to cost .....
Euphoniums cost from £595
Tenor Horns cost from £420
Flugelhorns cost from £395
These prices are the lowest we could find, and include VAT.
It's difficult to find recordings of solo music played on these instruments, but we recommend this CD which features some wonderful playing on the euphonium. We also think you might enjoy the music of Black Dyke Mills brass band which includes tenor and baritone horns, euphoniums and flugel horns.

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Copyright © David Bramhall 2003