What is the flute?


The flute is one of the smallest instruments in the band. It's long and narrow body is recognized by many. Although it's small comparatively to other instruments in the band, it requires a lot of focused air to make sounds. Being part of the woodwind family, the flutist's fingers as well as their air help change pitches/notes to create different sounds.




Is the flute hard to play?


Every student will encounter immediate successes and failures on every instrument. The three most common challenges on flute are: 1) Focusing the air to create a sound especially on some notes. 2) Placing fingers on the correct keys consistently. 3) Balancing the entire instrument. Some students will be successfull on the first try and some students will need to work through these challenges to overcome them.




These instrument looks fragile. Does it require a lot of maintence?


Every instrument in the band requires some level of TLC (tender, love, and care). There are a lot of small mechnisms on the instrument that require it to be exactly aligned. It is advised to have a professional technician look at the instrument every 6-12 months to make sure it's running in top condition. *Small and easy fixes will be taken care of by the band director. Students will learn how to properly assemble and disassemble the instrument (and place it in the case correctly) in addition to other valuable actions to prolong the playability of the instrument.




Is this a good fit for my student?


This is the best question on the list and we love that parents ask this question! We think this is the most important step to the process as this will set up a positive and successful year(s) of band or an absolute disaster of a year. We recommend three things: 1) Go over the pairing sheet that was sent home after your student tried some of the instruments at school. If the instrument was emphasized, that means we believe they can be successful on that instrument. 2) If the student is still unsure, visiting a local music shop that sells band instruments will be the next best thing. They will be glad to help you make a decision. 3) Talk! Having a simple conversation and going over expectations (without any pressure) will help everyone set up for success. Bonus 4) We will do everything we can to help your student be successful on any instrument they choose.




What is the clarinet?


The clarinet is a long, narrow bodied instrument that is made out of wood, although some entry level clarinets are made out of plastic. It's sound is created by blowing into a part of the clarinet that is made up of the instrument itself and a reed. A reed is a thinly carved piece of wood. Pitches are changed by the clarinetists covering and uncovering holes and keys.




Is the clarinet hard to play?


The clarinet is a wonderful instrument to start but there are some initial obstacles to overcome. The three most common obstacles are: 1) The clarinet comes in many pieces. Although it's not very difficult, it requires some attention to assemble. 2) Taking care of the reed is tough for beginning musicians in addition to placing the reed on the mouthpiece correctly. 3) The clarinet is comprised of both open holes and keys. Students often struggle with covering the holes which will affect their sound.




What is the alto saxophone?


The alto saxophone is is the biggest of the woodwind instruments we begin. Although it was and has always been made out of medal, it carries the characteristics of a woodwind instrument in that sound is produced through blowing air. Pitches are changed by the saxophonist pushing and releasing keys, similar to the clarinet.




Is the alto saxophone hard to play?


Although it is one of the most popular, it does have it's pitfalls. The three most common pitfalls are: 1) The alto saxophone is a bigger instrument which may be problematic to some students in the beginning of fourth grade. If this is a problem, most students grow into the instrument by the middle of the year. 2) Similar to the clarinet, taking care of the reed and placing the reed correctly on the instrument can present problems. 3) Although the alto saxophone is not very heavy, students in the beginning are bothered by the weight. Similar to the size, students get acclimated to the weight relatively soon.




What is a woodwind instrument?


Woodwind instruments are a family of instruments that have similar characteristics to one another. Such characteristics are: 1) Sound - Sound is created through a combination of blowing focused air and the instrument itself. 2) Pitches - Different pitches are created by fingers pushing and releasing holes and buttons, also known as keys. 3) Other - Although most instruments are made of wood or once were, that isn't always true for all of the instruments in the woodwind family.




What woodwind instruments does UP Music start their students with?


We start our students on one of three woodwind instruments: flute, clarinet, or alto saxophone. We have considered students age, average body size, and complexity of the instruments and deemed that students would have the most success on flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone. Additionally, these are the beginning instruments that are considered best practices by most organizations.