• Instrument Selection Guide


    Flute flute

    The flute is the highest pitched instrument in the beginning band. The flute is played by blowing across an opening in one end while the fingers press keys to change notes. The flute often plays the melody (soprano part) in the band.  
    Physical Characteristics:  Flute players should have a slight “frown” to the upper lip with NO tear drop shape in the middle.  Flute tones are produced by being able to focus an extremely small airstream to an exact location on the tone hole. The tear-drop-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 (receded jaw) 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 lack of agility in the fingers.
    10% of students will be selected for FLUTE.

    FLUTE PERSONALITY:  Conscientious
    CLARINET clarinet
    The clarinet uses a “single reed” and a mouthpiece to produce the sound. It has a warm tone and often plays the "alto" role in the band. 
    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. Students who have difficulty remembering a series of instructions should avoid playing clarinet. Clarinet players are also responsible for maintaining a working stock of 4-6 quality reeds.
    20% of students will be selected for CLARINET 


    Saxophone sax

    The saxophone is a woodwind instrument even though it is made of brass.  Most people know the saxophone from jazz. This instrument is versatile and is used here in the concert band.  The alto saxophone (which uses a single reed like the clarinet) is a very popular instrument 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.
    Other Considerations: Saxophone players are responsible for maintaining a working stock of 4-6 quality reeds.  
    8% of students will be selected for SAXOPHONE


    Trumpet trumpet

    The trumpet is the smallest member of the brass family. The sound on trumpet is produced by buzzing into a small mouthpiece. 
    Physical Characteristics: While orthodontia is somewhat troublesome at first 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 trumpet.
    Other Considerations: Trumpet parts usually have the melody part, therefore students who choose and are selected for trumpet should exhibit a confident demeanor, strong personality, and demonstrate a high level of self-motivation.
    12% of students will be selected for TRUMPET 


    French Horn french horn

    The French horn is the 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 Characteristics:  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 and that players 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 (mentioned above), students should exhibit GREAT ability to match sung or played pitches by humming or singing. 
    10% of students will be selected for FRENCH HORN 


    Trombone trombone

    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 than average.
    Other Considerations: Great trombone playing takes good concentration and study.
    12% of students will be selected for TROMBONE


    Euphonium euphonium

    The euphonium (you-PHONE-knee-yum) is a member of the brass family and looks like a small version of a tuba. Its sound is similar to that of a trombone, but it uses valves like a trumpet instead of a slide (like trombone).
    Physical Characteristics: Euphonium players should have moderately full lips, but not too full. 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. 
    10% of students will be selected for EUPHONIUM 


    Tuba tuba

    The tuba is the largest and lowest of the wind instruments, and it produces the fundamental sound upon which all others are built.  Despite its relatively large size, even the smallest students can easily handle the tuba with proper instruction.  Good tuba players are generally intelligent and assertive, with a passion for their instrument. 
    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, a long torso (upper body) helps a student reach the mouthpiece of the tuba while resting the bottom 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 over-achievers. Students with a history of academic trouble should not consider tuba as we rely heavily on the ability of the tuba players to be consistently UIL eligible. 
    6% of students will be selected for TUBA 

    Percussion   percussion
    The percussion section is the largest instrument genre as well as one of the most misunderstood sections of the band. Often referred to as the “drums”, this name is actually a very incomplete description of what is involved in playing percussion.  Percussionists learn to play a number of orchestral and world instruments, including but not limited to mallet instruments (bells/xylophone/marimba), latin instruments (conga/bongos/maracas), accessories (triangle, tambourine, shaker), etc. Enrollment for this course is limited, and students wishing to play percussion will need to attend an additional evaluation before students will be selected for this instrument.
    Physical Characteristics: high gross motor and fine motor skills; coordinated; ability to multi-task; self-disciplined
    Other Considerations: Similar to the trumpet, percussion students should exhibit a confident demeanor, strong personality, and demonstrate a high level of self-motivation. 

    Only 10-12 students will be selected for the percussion section.