Learning to play an instrument has a tremendous amount of benefits. From increasing your memory to relieving stress, music isn't the only beautiful thing that your instrument will produce. Practicing your instrument may do things like:
- Increase confidence
- Improve reading and comprehension skills
- Encourage team building and group work
- Assist in math and counting
- Foster determination
Still, much like learning a new language, picking up an instrument can be intimidating. If you're entirely new to reading and producing music, any challenge you face may be very discouraging.
Fortunately, there are plenty of instruments that are friendly to beginners. And no, we're not just talking about kazoos or slide whistles! Before you know it, you could be playing something as bold, jazzy, and fun as a brass instrument. Here's everything you need to know about picking the right horn for you, as well as what we believe to be the easiest brass instrument to learn.
What is a brass instrument?
Brass instruments draw their names from the material they're made of, but it's you who makes the magic happen! Music is produced using a brass instrument when the player buzzes their lips and blows air through a metal mouthpiece. The body of these instruments is often curved and twisted to make them easier to hold and play, while the opening end is shaped into a bell. This release point helps to amplify the instrument's sounds, making brass instruments some of the boldest and most noticeable pieces in an ensemble!
Of course, brass instruments are still fun even if you're not playing in a group. Their jazzy tone makes them great for improvising or playing some of your favorite pop songs.
What are the common brass instruments?
The classic trumpet may be the first brass instrument that jumps into your head. We see this instrument held up proudly during parades, performances, and sporting events. If you've already begun investigating brass instruments, you may have even heard of the cornet or piccolo trumpet, which are smaller versions of the original.
Another fan favorite is the trombone, which is easily recognizable due to its long slide. This extendable arm is used to shift the tone of the music you make, and adds a distinctive flair to any musical performance.
The tuba, euphonium, and baritone are on the larger side, but a fun and iconic investment. And these pieces hardly scratch the surface of brass instruments available to you! There are a wide variety of horns, including the French horn or alto horn, that help to produce the classic, brassy music we all know and love. Here are some honorable mentions:
Are brass instruments easy to learn?
Like attempting any new skill, playing a brass instrument may be challenging at first. If you don't already know how to read music, you may even be obtaining multiple new, useful talents at once!
Brass instruments are unique in that their tone can be adjusted in multiple ways - both through the speed in which you buzz your lips, and the opening and closing of valves through buttons or keys. This can mean that mastering a brass instrument takes high levels of concentration and control. However, once you've gained an understanding of these skills, they can be highly transferrable between instruments. The buzzing you learn to play a trumpet, for example, will also aid you in a future endeavor to play a trombone or French horn.
Are you feeling ready to get started on your journey? By this point, you're probably wondering what is the easiest brass instrument to learn.
What is the easiest brass instrument to learn?
Any instrument can be mastered with enough hard work and determination. As we outline the brass instruments for beginners, don't let your inexperience or a perceived "lack of talent" limit your aspirations. All of our favorite musicians share a key characteristic: confidence! You can get there too.
However, if you're looking for a simpler instrument to help you dip your toes in the water, this is our top recommendation for you. Remember, just because some instruments are "easier" to play, they're perfectly equipped to produce incredible music. Achieving mastery on any instrument is a very impressive feat.
The alto horn is widely considered to be the easiest horn to play and the perfect beginner brass instrument. The alto horn makes for a great part in a group, having a place wherever you need French horns or other rich, brass sounds. It often takes on harmony parts in ensemble pieces, meaning that players can play long and smooth accompanying notes. This is often an easier task than the staccato note changes in a melody. If you're a fan of the French horn, the alto is incredibly similar. The primary difference is that the alto's smaller body and simpler tubing requires a less intense air-flow to produce a well-supported sound.
What is the hardest brass instrument to learn?
The trombone is a tricky instrument to learn, and one to work towards if you're interested! Its large and oblong shape can make it challenging to hold upright, and its operating system is unique among the brass family. Beyond just buzzing your lips to create tone, you need to master the positioning of the instrument's slide. Unlike the keys on a French horn, the positioning of a trombone's "notes" isn't consistent.
Some players also cite the piccolo trumpet as a challenging instrument. All sizes of trumpet require you to both exercise buzzing control, as well as press keys to varying heights in order to control your tone. The piccolo trumpet adds an additional obstacle due to its reduced size. You have less room to work and the petite instrument is more sensitive to errors. However, for children who aren't ready for heavy or full-sized instruments, the piccolo or cornet can be a fun venture into music.
Where can I buy a brass instrument?
KK Music exists to provide affordable and high-quality instruments for players of all skill levels. If you're ready to add a new skill to your repertoire and experience the joy of playing a brass instrument, contact us today. We're confident that we can match you with the perfect instrument for your style, skill level, and musical aspirations!