Flute is the smallest of the beginner instruments. It is a very popular selection each year, but only a small portion of those wishing to play Flute will be selected
Physical Characteristics: Flute players should have a slight “frown” to the upper lip with NO teardrop shape in the middle. Flute tones are produced by being able to focus and extremely small airstream to an exact location on the tone hole. The teardrop shaped lip will make it difficult to direct the air so precisely. Flute players should also have agile fingers for moving this multi-keyed instrument through a fast musical passage. Students with extreme overbites should avoid choosing Flute as this makes it difficult to produce quality sounds.
Other Considerations: Students with double-jointed fingers should avoid selecting Flute as double-jointedness can cause a lack of agility in the fingers.
10% of students will be selected for FLUTE (about 10-12 students).
FLUTE PERSONALITY: Conscientious
Oboe (Lessons are STRONGLY recommended!)
The Oboe is similar in appearance to the clarinet, but is played using a “double reed” instead of a single reed and a mouthpiece. Selection of Oboe players is EXTREMELY limited. VERY few students will actually be selected for Oboe.
Physical Characteristics: Students with profound overbites or underbites would have EXTREME difficulties producing good quality sounds on the Oboe since the embouchure (the position of the mouth used for playing) requires equal pressure on both sides of the reed at the same placement.
Other Considerations: Because the Oboe is such a difficult instrument to master, only students with high academic performance records will be considered. Students who choose (and are selected) to play the Oboe are asked to take weekly private lessons with the private lesson teacher at CMS/DIS (or other district-approved private instructor). Private lessons cost $20 per week and scholarships are available based on financial need and demonstration of diligent work ethic. Students are required to maintain a supply of 3-4 high quality reeds at ALL times. Reeds typically can cost $14-16 each. Students with a history of disciplinary trouble will NOT be considered for Oboe. Students who excel in their academic classes and like to move at their own pace will enjoy this class because of the small size and individual attention they will receive.
The financial trade-off for having to take lessons and keep a stock of working reeds is that CMS/DIS provides Oboes for students at a cost of $150 rental for the entire school year, which covers the cost of general repairs and routine maintenance.
4% of students will be selected for OBOE (about 4-5 students).
OBOE PERSONALITY: Studious
Unlike the oboe, the Clarinet uses a “single reed” and a mouthpiece to produce the sound. Willingness to purchase or rent a director-recommended Clarinet is a MUST! Unfortunately there are some clarinets on the market whose poor design and craftsmanship will make it next to impossible for your student to succeed. We can help you avoid that pitfall. Some clarinet students may be chosen to play Bass Clarinet during the school year.
Physical Characteristics: One necessity of Clarinet tone production is the ability to make the chin flat. Orthodontia is okay, but if a student has an extremely rounded bottom row of teeth, the mouthpiece will be hard to place in the proper position for tone production.
Other Considerations: Instruction in Clarinet can be meticulous. Students who are able to focus on and perform a detailed series of instructions could do well on Clarinet. Clarinet players are also responsible for maintaining a working stock of 4-6 quality reeds. A box of 10 reeds costs $17.50 and can last (with proper care) up to 4 months.
20% of students will be selected for CLARINET (about 20-24 students).
CLARINET PERSONALITY: Focused
Bassoon (Lessons are STRONGLY recommended!)
The Bassoon is to the oboe what the bass clarinet is to the clarinet. It is the larger, lower sounding version of the double reeds instruments. However, Bassoon students will not play oboe before switching, instead they will begin on the Bassoon itself. VERY few students will be selected to play Bassoon.
Physical Characteristics: A slight overbite is okay for students wishing to play Bassoon, however, a student with an underbite should avoid Bassoon. Agile thumbs is a necessity for playing Bassoon proficiently as well as a medium or greater hand span.
Other Considerations: Like the oboe, the Bassoon is such a difficult instrument to master, only students with high academic performance records will be considered. Students who choose (and are selected) to play Bassoon are asked to take weekly private lessons with the private lesson teacher at CMS/DIS (or other district-approved private instructor). Private lessons cost $20 per week and scholarships are available based on financial need and demonstration of diligent work ethic. Students are required to maintain a supply of 3-4 high quality reeds at ALL times. Reeds typically can cost $11-17 each. Students with a history of disciplinary trouble will NOT be considered for Bassoon. Students who excel in their academic classes and like to move at their own pace will enjoy this class because of the small size and individual attention they will receive.
Again, the financial trade-off for having to take lessons and keep a stock of working reeds is that CMS/DIS provides Bassoons for students at a cost of $150 rental for the entire school year, which covers the cost of general repairs and routine maintenance.
4% of students will be selected for BASSOON (about 4-5 students).
BASSOON PERSONALITY: Unique
The Alto Saxophone gives them impression of being both a brass AND woodwind instrument, however it is indeed considered a woodwind instrument. The Alto Saxophone (which uses a single reed like the clarinet) is a very popular instrument like flute and only a few students will be chosen to play it.
Physical Characteristics: Since the balance of the Saxophone is maintained by the use of a neck strap, it is extremely important that students be able to sit up completely straight when asked to.
Other Considerations: Saxophone players are responsible for maintaining a working stock of 4-6 reeds. A box of 10 reeds costs about $23 and can last (with proper care) up to 4 months. Alto Saxophone students will have the opportunity during the year to audition for Tenor Sax or Baritone Sax (based on their proven musical and behavioral abilities while in alto saxophone class).
8% of students will selected for SAXOPHONE (about 8-10 students).
SAXOPHONE PERSONALITY: Mellow
The Trumpet is the smallest member of the brass family. The sound on Trumpet is produced by buzzing into a small mouthpiece. The Trumpet generally plays the melody and is considered one of the most vital components of the band.
Physical Characteristics: While orthodontia is somewhat troublesome to a Trumpet player, it is not impossible to make good sounds with braces. A slight overbite is okay , but an underbite can severely hinder progress on the trumpet. Trumpet players come in all shapes and sizes.
Other Considerations: Trumpet parts usually have the melody (recognizable) part, therefore students who choose (and are selected) for the Trumpet should exhibit a confident demeanor, strong personality, and demonstrate a high level of self-motivation.
14% of students will be selected for TRUMPET (about 14-16 students).
TRUMPET PERSONALITY: Confident
French Horn (Lessons STRONGLY recommended!)
The French Horn is also a member of the brass family. Its sound is produced by buzzing into a small mouthpiece similar to a trumpet. Students with good musical ears (such as Honor Choir students) should consider French Horn.
Physical Considerations: While orthodontia is somewhat troublesome to a French Horn player, it is not impossible to make good sounds with braces. A slight overbite is okay, but an underbite can severely hinder progress on French Horn. Because the bell of the French Horn rests on the knee of the player while playing, it is imperative that a student’s upper torso be long enough to accommodate the size of the French Horn to make good sounds. Players should be able to demonstrate sitting straight up when asked to do so. The French Horn’s keys are manipulated with the LEFT hand.
Other Considerations: Because of the difficult nature of French Horn notes, students should exhibit GREAT ability to match sung or played pitches by humming or singing. This is a good instrument choice for students who have participated in piano lessons or honor choir groups. Students with a history of academic or behavioral problems will NOT be selected for French Horn. CMS/DIS provides French Horns for students at a cost of $150 rental for an entire school year. Students who choose (and are selected) to play French Horn are asked to take weekly private lessons with the applied lesson teacher at CMS/DIS (or other district-approved private instructor). Private lessons cost $20 per week and scholarships are available based on financial need and demonstration of diligent work ethic.
8% of students will be selected for FRENCH HORN (about 8-10 students).
FRENCH HORN PERSONALITY: Academic
Like the french horn, Trombone players should have good “musical ears”. The Trombone is played like the other brass instruments (buzzing into a cup-shaped mouthpiece), but uses a slide instead of valves. The slide is not marked or notched and players rely on their memory and hearing to tell if they are in the EXACT proper location. Students with good musical ears (such as Honor Choir students) should consider Trombone.
Physical Characteristics: While some might think that Trombone players must have long arms, the truth is there are numerous accommodations that make it possible for students of all shapes and sizes to play. A slight overbite is acceptable, while an extreme underbite would hinder success. Trombone players should have slightly fuller lips.
Other Considerations: Great Trombone playing takes good concentration and study. Many quiet academicians have excelled at Trombone.
10% of students will be selected for TROMBONE (about 10-12 students).
TROMBONE PERSONALITY: Analytical
The Euphonium (you-PHONE-knee-yum) is a member of the brass family and looks like a small version of the tuba. Its sound is similar to that of a trombone, but it uses valves like a trumpet instead of a slide like a trombone.
Physical Characteristics: Euphonium players should have moderately full lips. A slight overbite is okay, but an underbite would hinder a good sound. The Euphonium requires a medium-sized hand span to reach the valves and students should have an above average lung capacity.
Other Considerations: Students with an above-average amount of orthodontia will find the mouthpiece of the Euphonium a bit more comfortable than trumpet or french horn. CMS/DIS provides Euphoniums for students at a cost of $150 rental for an entire school year, however students are required to purchase their own mouthpiece.
6% of students will be selected for EUPHONIUM (about 6-7 students).
EUPHONIUM PERSONALITY: Artistic
While many believe the Tuba is the largest instrument in the band and would be hard to physically manage, the Tubas we use for beginners are 3/4 size and easy to handle. The Tuba is the foundation of the band and is extremely vital to the success of any group.
Physical Characteristics: Tuba players need to have full lips and a large lung capacity. While the size of the student doesn’t matter too much (and yes, many girls do play!), a long torso (upper body) helps a student reach the mouthpiece of the Tuba while resting the bottom portion of the Tuba on the edge of their chair or across the thighs.
Other Considerations: The Tuba provides the musical foundation for the band and requires players that are self-motivated and over-achievers. Students with a history of academic or behavioral problems should not consider Tuba as we rely heavily on the ability of the Tuba players to be consistently UIL eligible. CMS/DIS provides Tubas for students at a cost of $150 rental for an entire school year, however students are required to purchase their own mouthpieces. Because of the size of the instrument, we are usually able to provide a “home” Tuba for practice at home so students do not have to transport their instrument back and forth to school.
6% of students are selected for TUBA (about 6-7 students).
TUBA PERSONALITY: Motivated
Percussion (Lessons are STRONGLY recommended!)
Percussion is a family of thousands of instruments with origins from all over the world that exist in all styles of music. The Percussion section is the most select, hand-picked section of the band. Careful consideration is given to each students’ grades, behavior, motor skills, and prior background in music(ie. piano lessons, honor choir, etc.).
Physical Characteristics: Students should exhibit a great deal of coordination in gross and fine motor skills. Just because a student is always tapping on things does not mean they are a natural Percussionist. They should be able to listen to and follow a complex set of directions. Students should also be able to organize their equipment and belongings in an orderly fashion.
Other Considerations: Students must be able to develop a very high-level of physical coordination to progress on the many Percussion instruments at the same time. We do not select drummers, but rather Percussionists. This means Percussion students will study many more things than just drums such as bells, xylophone, marimba, triangle, tambourine and timpani, among many other instruments. Percussion is also among the most expensive instrument choices as there are many upfront costs and a yearly expansion of a students’ stick and mallet collection. Students interested in Percussion should consider their outside schedule and activities as Percussion students are asked to practice twice as much as other instruments (1 hour/day) in order to properly learn both drum and mallet instruments at the same time. Students busy in multiple after-school sports and activities on multiple days of the week will have difficulty finding the time to properly develop on Percussion.
10% of students will be selected for PERCUSSION (about 10-12 students).
PERCUSSION PERSONALITY: Coordinated & Organized
(Click on the links below to learn more about being in the Dragon Band!)
How it all works…
Beginner Band 101
Famous People That Were in Band
Studying Music is Preparation for Life