Switching Instruments

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Switching Instruments

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RoarKittyRoar on Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:07 am

Hellooo! As you may guess, I'm RoarKittyRoar... You can call me Roar, Kitty, or anything you want! Anyway, I'm in my school band. I played the trumpet, and I switched to the baritone because I couldn't play the high notes on the trumpet. The baritone is extremely old, and I cannot seem to oil the valves. Help on that would be appreciated...

I wanted to play both instruments since they have the exact same book, but the trumpet seems to small and I can't hold it correctly anymore. Should I just stick with the baritone? We're also starting to do two-paged songs, which worries me. Since I'm the only baritone, I feel like people will be staring at me. Plus, the instrument makes a different noise than any other instruments on the stage. Which means people will know if I mess up. I also switched my instruments at the end of the year, and that makes it even harder.

Please help.. Thank you!

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Re: Switching Instruments

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ViceVersus on Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:22 pm

Wow, what a coincidence .. I played baritone in high school, too! I was a base clef baritone, and I imagine you're a treble clef baritone, since that's what most of the former trumpets were too.

Band was a hugely influential part of my high school life. I did it all through high school. I had the luxury of being able to rent school instruments for my high school band years, so I had a shiny loaned baritone to play, but I do remember the valves being a pain in the ass. So I imagine the top screw, the actual finger-press keys are the bit that's hard to come off? What I would do is flip the instrument over and drip the valve oil in from the bottom. There should be holes so that the air can, naturally, push out of the bottom. That's how I would get the oil in there. It may not be the best way to do it, but it worked. Give it a shot.

Hitting the high notes comes with practice, but I know the size of trumpet mouthpieces vs baritone mouthpieces. I think the baritone is perfectly reasonable alternate choice.

You are the only baritone? OWN IT, GIRL! I was the only girl in low brass (Tuba + Baritone + Trombone) and I stuck out like a sore thumb because the boys' concert uniforms were black suits, and the girls' were bright white blouses with a skirt. I used to feel singled out in the low brass ensemble, when we'd all play a song separately, but as time went by, I really came to enjoy it.

I'm not trying to tell you "just instantly get over what worries you have" I am more just trying to tell you a little bit about my positive experiences and let you know that it is what you make of it. Yes, you are going to mess up your notes, your scale runs. But that's what band is for, that's what practices are for, everyone is going to mess up but that's why you practice and get better! Plus, since you're the only baritone, chances are your band director will have you play along with the trombones sometimes.

What I mean by that is when your director rehearses parts, sometimes you'll likely be playing what the trombones play, or something similar. Do you have any other friends who were trumpets? Maybe they'd like to join and become baritones, too.

I used to not like the baritone and be embarrassed of it. People would call it a mini-Tuba, and man, did that ever grind my gears! But I became proud of the instrument and what I could do with it. I was never first chair, or anything, but I was a pretty decent second, and I loved the sound that it made when everyone was playing together.

It could be worth bringing the instrument to someone who fixes them, not necessarily to pay him to fix it, but even just to get it inspected or looked at. Instrument shops have that happen all the time. They will likely recommend ways to maintain the instrument, keep it going, or (if worse comes to worse) could recommend places to get a newer one for a low cost, like in the paper or classifieds or somethinfg.

It's a natural thing to think "everyone is staring at me!" or "everyone is mocking me!" but I guarantee you that you aren't actually going to be as singled out as you think you are. In fact, most other people are going to be thinking the exact same thing. Yes, the instrument is going to make a different noises. It's going to be a beautiful noise. It sounds more like the issue here is one of confidence. And like I said, I don't want to try and make it sounds like the answer is "well, be more confident!" but I am suggesting that embracing a new instrument could be a way to get to that level.

Hopefully that all made some sort of sense.

Good luck!
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