HIRING AN INSTRUMENT
All band instruments are available to hire for the first year in the Training Band. For subsequent years students will generally need to provide their own instruments if they are playing the flute, clarinet or trumpet. However if the band has spares after allocation to the Training Band then these can be hired by Concert or Performing Band members. The band can hire French horn, baritone horn, trombone, tuba, saxophone and euphonium to students throughout their time in the WPS band programme.
The instruments that are available in the WPS band programme are outlined below.
The clarinet is a woodwind instrument and has one of the largest ranges of pitch of all musical instruments. It is small, portable and easy to transport and often will play the melody in a band.
It is around 68cm long and comes in four pieces plus a reed and a ligature. The sound is made by vibration of the reed. The ligature is the clamp that holds the reed in place around the mouthpiece.
There are several types of clarinets. The basic clarinet is the Bb (B flat), which is one of the smallest and the easiest to play for young students. The band also offers the opportunity for selected students to play the bass clarinet in later years.
The flute is a member of the woodwind family and is the highest pitched instrument in our bands. It is small, portable and easy to transport and often will play the melody. It is approximately 67cm long.
Flutes are made of metal and, unlike the other members of the woodwind family, the flute does not require a reed. It has 3 sections – the headjoint, the body and the footjoint.
Sound is created by pursing the lips, blowing into a hole, and the new wind stream (introduced by the breath) bounces around and interacts with the air already in the cylinder. Specific notes then correspond to whichever holes are opened or closed, which ultimately lengthens or shortens the cylinder (or resonator, to be more specific).
The French horn is the second highest sounding instrument group in the brass family. It consists of 3-4 metres of tubing wrapped in coil with a flared bell. This long tubing means that a competent horn player can achieve a wide range of notes.
Different notes are made by a combination of 4 actions – pressing valves, holding appropriate lip tension, blowing air and placing the hand in the bell. The tone of the horn is described as “mellow”. The band has both single horns and double horns.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A good quality beginner French horn will cost upwards of $2,500. For this reason the band will hire French horns to students throughout their time in the WPS band programme.
The trumpet is an instrument in the brass family. It is amongst the oldest type of musical instrument and has the highest register in the brass family. They have tubing and 3 valves which, when engaged, alter the length of the tubing thereby lowering the pitch.
Trumpets are versatile instruments found in many forms of music including classical, concert bands, jazz and popular music. In our bands trumpets usually play the melody.
You may also purchase a “mute” for trumpets which removes much of the volume from home practice.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A reasonable quality beginner trumpet may cost upwards of $600.
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. As with other brass instrument, sound is produced by blowing air through pursed lips producing a vibration that causes the sound.
A trombone has seven positions. To make other pitches the player changes his lip shape. When squeezing or loosening the lips the sound changes. A trombone can also do a glissando, which is where the player goes up to a note or down from a note, playing all the notes in between by just moving the slide.
The trombone has a telescopic slide with which the player varies the length of the tube to change pitches. When the slide is extended, this makes a lower pitch sound.
The trombone will play bass, harmony and melody in our bands. It is a versatile instrument and is found in both brass and concert bands, in popular music and in symphonic (classical) orchestras.
Issues to consider when deciding to learn this instrument would be the player’s arm length (to extend the slide), the weight of the instrument (can be around 1.5kg) and mouthpiece size.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A good quality beginner trombone will cost upwards of $1,000 and trombones can be hired for to students throughout their time in the WPS band program.
The tuba is the largest of our brass instruments and is used to play bass. Previous tuba players have played either the baritone horn or euphonium in the first two years of band before progressing to the tuba for performing band.
The tuba is the principal bass instrument in symphonic and military bands and serves as bass for brass quintets and choirs. It is also used in jazz and has played a large role in ragtime and big band music.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A beginner quality tuba may cost upwards of $3,000 and can be hired from the band to students throughout their time in the WPS band program.
The saxophone is a member of the woodwind family. It is usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet.
The saxophone was developed in 1846 in an attempt to produce an instrument with the projection of a brass instrument and the agility of a woodwind. It is a conical tube of thin metal, usually brass, flared at the tip to form a bell. Whilst made of brass the saxophone is categorised as a woodwind instrument as the sound waves are produced by an oscillating reed, not the player’s lips against a mouthpiece as with a brass instrument.
Saxophones can be found in military bands, concert bands and big bands and are well known as part of modern jazz music. They’re also more recently introduced into the symphony orchestra.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A good quality beginner saxophone may cost upwards of $1,500 and can be hired to students throughout their time in the WPS band program.
Euphonium and Baritone Horn
The baritone horn and euphonium are part of the brass family of instruments. As with other brass instruments, sound is produced by blowing air through pursed lips producing a vibration that causes the sound.
The baritone horn is one of the lower brass wind instruments and often plays harmony.
Our bands have two sizes of baritone horns. Training Band members generally start with the smaller baritone horn and then move to a full size instrument or the euphonium for Concert and Performing Bands. Players also have an option to progress to the tuba.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A good quality beginner baritone horn or euphonium will cost upwards of $1,200. The band will hire baritone horns and euphoniums to students throughout their time in the WPS band programme.
The bands have several percussion instruments. These include triangles, tambourines, xylophone, drum kits and other drums such as timpani and kettle drums. Band members playing percussion will play a range of these instruments depending on the music being played. The percussionists rotate around the various instruments (and so will not be always playing the drum kit).
Percussion can be found in almost all styles of music with percussionists playing jazz, classical music, concert bands and popular music.
The bands have one drum kit for hire which can be shared between families. Otherwise percussionists will need their own instrument for home practice.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A good quality beginner drum kit can cost around $700.
Mallet Percussion (Mallekat)
Mallet percussion may suit a keyboard/pianist hwo is keen to expand their skills or a percussionist who wants a wider range. A glockenspiel is required for practice at home.
The bass guitar (also called electric bass or just bass) is a stringed instrument similar to the electric guitar but with a longer neck and scale length. In our bands the bass guitar has four strings.
It requires both the guitar and amplifier.
The bass guitar is typically used to anchor the harmonic framework and lay down the beat. It is used in many styles of music including rock, pop, country, reggae, blues and jazz.
Indicative price range if purchasing new: A beginner quality bass guitar and amplifier will cost around $450. As the bands only have one instrument our bands’ bass guitar players normally purchase their own instrument.