What Instrument Should I Play?

  • Hello, awesome person! If you're reading this, you're thinking about joining Band, which is a great idea! In Band, we have so much fun doing the hard work of playing exciting music together. It's so fun to practice and work together to get really great at an instrument, and everyone in Band is so nice that you'll feel welcome right away! It's important to pick the best instrument for you, though, so let's walk through a few great options!

    Tuba (free!)

    If you've ever wanted to play the loudest and lowest notes in the room, the tuba is for you! This is also a great instrument if you don't feel like carrying anything around: the tuba is so big that the school gives you one free one for school and another free one for home, so you never have to take it back and forth! The tuba is probably the most important instrument in the band—and yet it's pretty easy to learn!

    French Horn (free!)

    The French horn is a great instrument because it can be quiet and beautiful, but it's also the one blasting out the exciting, brassy music in all the superhero movies! If you're careful and hardworking, you'll be great at this versatile instrument, which can be pretty or aggressive, and can play both low and high! The school has free French horns for you to use, and you usually get some of the coolest melodies in band pieces!

    Baritone (free!)

    The baritone horn (also known as the "euphonium"—fancy!) is perfect for anyone who wants to play beautiful music with lots of low notes, but doesn't want to go as low as the tuba! It's easy to learn, and the school has free baritones for you to use—in fact, you'll probably get one for school and one for home, so you never need to carry it anywhere!

    Bass Clarinet (free!)

    You may know about the smaller "soprano" clarinet, but did you know it has a big brother? The bass clarinet is louder, lower, and easier to learn than the smaller clarinet, and it has a cool peg that lets it rest on the ground, so you don't even need to hold it up. Plus, the school has free bass clarinets for you to use! (And if that's not cool enough for you, there's an even louder, lower member of the clarinet family: the contra-alto clarinet! For that one, you play bass or soprano at home and use the contra in school.)


    The only instrument in band with a slide! The trombone is like a jazzier version of the baritone. The school sometimes has trombones available for you to get started on, but most trombonists usually rent an instrument eventually.


    If you've got fast fingers and want to play the highest instrument in the band with a beautiful, airy sound, flute is for you! The school sometimes has flutes available for you to get started on, but most flutists usually rent an instrument eventually.

    ...and more!

    I listed some of the best instruments to get started on above, but there are even more options, including:

    • Soprano clarinet (Like a miniature version of the bass clarinet above! Most players rent their own, but check with Mr. Van Ness just in case.)
    • Trumpet (Loud and brassy. You'll have to rent your own.)
    • Oboe and bassoon (Rare and special instruments for hard workers with good finger coordination! The school often has bassoons available for free!)
    • Saxophones of various sizes (Smooth and jazzy. Most players rent, but check with Mr. Van Ness first.)
    • String bass (A huge and exciting instrument which is easy for folks who already play violin, viola, or cello. You'll need to rent one, transport it to school, and get some private lessons, but you'll learn quickly!)
    • Percussion (One of the hardest jobs in the band, because you need to learn multiple different instruments and be extra-responsible! Ask Mr. Van Ness if there's any room for more percussionists—there's a limit!)

    Really, the most important thing is that you pick an instrument that sounds awesome to you, because you'll be hearing a lot of it when you practice! Email Mr. Van Ness for more advice on what to play and how to get started—everyone in band will be so happy you joined!