I want to play an instrument but I don’t know which?
In deciding which wind instrument you may wish to play you simply have to listen to recordings to choose the instrument you find most pleasing. You will be playing the instrument a lot so finding an instrument you like to listen to goes a long way in accommodating your practicing. In regards to embouchure (your mouth shape and strength), there are very few people who cannot be coached to play any wind instrument. There may be limits imposed by lungs strength, but that will increase over time as well. There may be financial considerations. A bari-sax or a Tuba, can cost a lot of money to own or rent, whereas flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, are inexpensive. alto and tenor saxophones range in the middle of the two.
I have an old clarinet from my grandmother, will that do to learn on?
Any older instrument should be checked and tested by a professional. Anything stored for long periods can have problems. A trumpet can become seized up, or a clarinet can become infected with bugs. There may be mould, or there may be bent keys from children toying with the instrument. If you do not have an instrument, do not buy used from a private dealer unless you have a professional player with you. A flute that needs re-padding or repairs can run up to a potential $500 repair bill. Same goes for the other instruments. Renting a quality instrument is cheap and assures you of a good product. Whatever instrument you rent or buy, make sure you have a warranty and technical support. Every instrument needs maintenance and adjustments to continue playing well.
Where can I find a good teacher?
If you want to succeed, find a private music teacher who holds a degree or two in your field of study. If you want to get somewhere, you want a guide who has been through all the pitfalls and can show you how good you can become. There is no one good source for teachers but the good teachers generally know each other. Spirited Music always has qualified teachers, or knows where to find a qualified teacher.
Which instrument is the cheapest to play?
Clarinets, saxophones, oboes and bassoons require reeds to play. That is an accessory that must be purchased on a regular basis. If you own these instruments, they will also require periodical adjustments and maintenance. The cheapest to play would probably be either the trumpet or trombone as they only require oiling and cleaning which you can do yourself.
I have braces, can I still play a wind instrument?
Yes! Most definitely. The braces may pose some problems with brass instruments as they require your lips to vibrate in order to make a sound. With other instruments such as flute they have no impact whatsoever. Some students who play clarinet or sax have reported some discomfort but there are very few complaining of problems.
Which is better for beginners, group or private lessons?
Strictly speaking in terms of efficiency, the private lessons are the way to go. They are faster, more conducive, less expensive and far more progressive. A student can ask any question, and get an answer immediately. Once a student understands a concept, they can move to the next idea. If the student is struggling with some part of their education, then they can spend time devoting themselves towards the problem. A private 30 minute lesson can be described as intense in comparison to a one hour group method. Theoretically, if you are in a class with 9 other students for one hour, your share of individual instruction is theoretically 6 minutes. Usually a one hour group class also costs about $10 per class which works out to about $1.67 for every private minute of instruction. A private class of 30 minutes costing you approximately $18 means you are only paying .60 cents a minute. If group classes were the model of efficiency, there would never be a need for tutors, private lessons, or assistants. In addition, a private class can be rescheduled, whereas, group lessons cannot. Everyone knows that smaller class size means more teacher attention and better instruction. What is better than one teacher and one student?