Learn about your instrument

Flute1The flute is the oldest of the woodwinds dating back 800 years in Western Europe and North America. It is also unique because it is the only non-reed woodwind instrument. By the 17th and 18th centuries, the flute became a standard classical instrument through such composers as Vivaldi, Mozart, Brahms, and other famous composers of that era. The flute came into its modern appearance by the 1900s and has continued to be a part of the modern classical repertoire. As well as being a mainstream classical instrument, the flute has found its place in modern western music styles such as jazz, rock, pop and blues.

ClarinetJohann Christoph Denner invented the clarinet around 1690. The clarinet is a single-reed woodwind instrument with a cylindrical tube. The clarinet evolved from an earlier instrument called the chalumeau, the first true single reed instrument. It is also the foundation of the modern woodwind family which includes both the saxophone and flute. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms brought clarinet to its modern popularity with their concertos featuring this beautiful instrument. Since then the clarinet has gained much popularity and is a featured instrument in all major orchestras. In addition, the clarinet has found its place in dixie-land jazz, big band swing, and modern jazz.

SaxophoneThe saxophone was invented approximately in 1842 by Adolph Sax. The first saxophones were played in Paris at that time and were intended to be a part of the classical orchestra. Striving for a combination of both the beauty of the violin and strength of the brass section, the sax failed to find its place in the modern orchestra. It was the jazz musicians of the 1920s and ’30s who were finally able to put the sax in its rightful place. Sidney Bechet and Coleman Hawkins were among the first of that era to bring popularity to this beautiful instrument. Since the jazz age, the saxophone has been an important part of all the major western styles of music from jazz to blues to rock and pop.

trumpet2The trumpet is an ancient instrument that was initially used to send signals across great distances. Many developments over the years led to a very good sounding baroque trumpet and eventually the modern valve trumpet, which was developed in the early 19th century. Even with these changes, the trumpet has retained its ‘soul’ as an instrument of power, glory, and grandeur. These traits are present in the classical trumpet repertoire and are also exemplified in blues, jazz, funk, and other pop styles where the trumpet is used.

trombone1The fundamental concept of the trombone has remained unchanged for centuries. It produces an extremely full sound and in the hands of a skilled player is considered the most powerful instrument in the orchestra. The trombone is unique in that it uses a tuning slide in order to reach different tones, instead of keys or valves. This fact enables the famous trombone ‘slide’ sound, and also allows players to hit certain ‘blue notes’ often associated with blues and jazz. The trombone is part of the heart and soul of the big band, and is also featured in many different pop styles as both a supporting and solo instrument.

snare1Out of all the modern day instruments, none has a longer history than the drum. The drums are known to have existed since 6000 BC from all over the world. The first drum sets were put together in the late 1800s sometime after the invention of the bass drum pedal. This invention made it possible for one person to play several percussion instruments (snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals) at one time. The set developed as it was used to accompany jazz musicians in New Orleans during the 1920s. Since that time the drums have served as the driving force behind such music as jazz, blues, R & B, rock, and modern pop music.

Student Awards
teddy-bearsAt the end of each year, we like to recognize each student with a special award for completing their year of band. Students must demonstrate regular attendance and practice, as well as performing at both the winter and spring concert. There is a special award for each year completed that students can earn:

  • First year students receive a colored wristband for completing their first year.
  • Second year students receive a two-tone wristband for completing two years of band.
  • Third year Students receive a gold band pin for their commitment to the band.
  • Fourth year students receive an instrument pin for their dedication to learning their instrument.
  • Graduating 8th graders who have been in the program for four or five years receive a custom teddy bear with their school colors and name embroidered on the jacket.

These are ways to recognize your child for their high level of commitment to their school’s band program and a way for us to thank them for their hard work and excellent musical progress.

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