The early weeks of Beginning Band are some of the toughest of a child’s musical career. Although students’ musical abilities tend to grow by leaps and bounds during these early days, there are still some stubborn challenges that can frustrate even the most patient young musicians. Here are some challenges that your child might be facing right now in band…and practical ways you can help!
2. Brass players’ notes are too high, too low, or hard to play. - Brass players at this stage may be frustrated with the quality of the sounds coming out of their instruments. This is NORMAL, and will improve with consistent practice! Unlike other instruments whose sound comes from striking a surface or vibrating a reed with air, brass instruments’ sound comes solely from the vibrating of the player’s lips. Many young brass players’ facial muscles simply aren’t strong enough to create a beautiful tone just yet. Help your child by encouraging them to practice daily, and asking to hear some “rude mouthpiece noises or to try buzzing a familiar song.”
3. Clarinet squeaks! - One of the biggest challenges for clarinet players is getting the embouchure (mouth position) and the fingers “just right”, so that the notes come out full, not airy or squeaky. Encourage daily practice, and remind your child about “tight corners”, “fat fingers”, and “teeth on top”.
4. Dizzy Feeling...Dizziness is a common affliction that affects young flute players. Playing the flute requires more air than any other instrument, even the tuba! When a child is just starting to play the flute, he must inhale and exhale a great deal more air than he’s used to, and this can cause him to become dizzy or lightheaded. If your child gets dizzy during practice, encourage her to simply take a few moments to allow the dizziness to subside, and then resume playing. Over time, her body will become more accustomed to the demands of playing, and the bouts of dizziness will become fewer and farther between.