Alston Ridge Band

Information about the Flute

Flute is the highest pitched instrument in the Alston Ridge Band. Known as an "aerophone", the flute's sound comes from blowing air across an open hole. Flutes have a long history, dating back to prehistoric times; however, today's flutes are much more complex, using intricate key mechanisms to create a wide range of notes.

Flutes are used in many styles of music. They're very important in classical music, but they're also used in jazz, Latin, Broadway, and musical styles from all over the world. One thing that attracts many people to flute is that it often carries the main melody in band music, so you will have a lot of interesting things to play. Flute is also a great instrument for students who love intricate details, since playing the flute involves using the fingers to learn many different combinations of keys.

Many beginning flute players either have trouble with remembering where to put their fingers or with producing a sound with their mouth. The flute's keys may all look the same at first, and you might tend to blow too hard, too soft, or with the wrong mouth shape. Ms. T will help you by reinforcing a few notes at a time, so you have the chance to thoroughly understand them before adding new notes. You will also learn powerful techniques like "say and finger", improvising on the pentascale, and finger/headjoint exercises to help you master this exciting instrument.

Information about the Clarinet

The clarinet is a single reed woodwind instrument. The type of clarinet we use in the Alston Ridge Band is a B-flat clarinet, but there are many types of clarinets in use today, including the E-flat clarinet, the A clarinet, the alto clarinet, and the bass clarinet.

Clarinets made of plastic or wood, and have open tone holes that the player must cover with their fingers. Clarinets are used in many different styles of music, like classical, jazz, klezmer, and more. Like the flute, clarinets often carry the melody in band music, and they have a complex key mechanism that is fun to learn. Clarinet has a slightly lower, darker sound than flute, though, so if you like bunches of keys but prefer a mellower sound, clarinet may be for you!

Clarinet players have it rough at the beginning of the year--your instrument has 7 pieces, more than any other band instrument; plus, it takes time to get used to covering the tone holes completely with your fingers. It's very common to squeak and squawk as a young player, but in band we encourage you to make all kinds of funny sounds and different mistakes as you learn. We will stick with just a few notes at a time so you can train your fingers exactly where to go, and you'll learn some cool tricks (like the Darth Vader breath) to help you master your mouth position.
Band student

Information about the Trumpet

The trumpet is the highest-pitched member of the brass family, and its ancestors date back to at least 1500 B.C. Early trumpets didn't have valves, and were made of materials like seashells, ox horns, and elephant tusks. Today's trumpets are made of brass, and are operated using three valves.

With its bright tone, the trumpet is an important part of many styles of music, including classical, jazz, blues, soul, funk, salsa, and mariachi. Trumpets are bold, attention-grabbing instruments, known for their ability to play loud, brilliant notes (like bugle calls and fanfares).

One fun fact about trumpet is that it has fewer parts than any other band instrument. Just pop your mouthpiece in, and you're ready to go! One challenge for young trumpet players is learning how to play their notes accurately. It takes time to develop the muscles of the mouth so that the right notes come out every time. With daily practice, you'll build strong embouchure (mouth) muscles, and playing in band will help train your ear to make it easier to "aim" at each of your notes. If you've always dreamed of playing a bright, bold instrument, trumpet may be the one for you!
Band student

Information about the Trombone

The trombone is one of the oldest instruments in use today, dating back to the 1400s. If you want to stand out and be unique, trombone might be the instrument for you! Trombones are lower in pitch than all the other band instruments, and unlike everyone else, they are operated using a slide.

In addition to having a long history, trombones are also very versatile instruments. Trombones are important in symphony orchestras, wind bands, and many styles including salsa, jazz, Broadway, ska, soul, and movie music. Trombones fill out the band with their rich, low tone, and are often showcased in the most epic and exciting musical moments.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for young trombonists is developing your lips and lungs to produce a beautiful, singing tone. It's normal to sound horrible and run out of breath when you start playing trombone, and this can feel frustrating. In each band class, you will have the chance to play your trombone a LOT, and this will help you develop powerful lungs and strong embouchure (mouth) muscles. We will also teach you the secrets to learning your slide positions, so you can feel confident playing every note on your instrument. As you practice trombone more and more, you'll be rewarded with a strong, bold sound that you can be proud of.
Band student

Information about Percussion Instruments

Percussionists are unique members of the band for several reasons. First of all, percussion instruments are the only ones in the band that it's perfectly OK to hit! Also, percussionists learn more instruments than other bandmembers. While your friends will concentrate on learning only one instrument, you'll be responsible for understanding several instruments before the year is over.

Percussion is one of the oldest families of instruments, dating back to prehistoric times. Percussion is also one of the most diverse instrument families, including hundreds of instruments used in nearly every culture and style. In our, you will begin by learning bell set, and then move on to snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, and more!

The biggest challenge for young percussionists is AIM. Your first instrument, bell set, has 32 keys--and it takes time to train your arms and hands to hit the correct key at the correct time, all while using your eyes to read music. Ms. T will help you with precision-building exercises in band class, and you can grow even faster by practicing daily at home. Once you've developed good hand control, you can transfer your skills to many different percussion instruments and work as a team with your fellow percussionists to add rhythmic excitement to every piece of music we play. Does this sound like fun? Maybe you should be a percussionist!
Band student
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