Information about Instruments

Instruments taught at QYMC

This is a list (not quite complete yet) of the instruments that are taught at QYMC, with a brief description of each one. We’ve tried to pick out any special requirements that should be taken into consideration if you are thinking of learning the instrument.

Violin

The violin is the smallest of the stringed instruments offered at QYMC. Although one of the slower instruments to get started on, it is equally suitable for the youngest beginners at QYMC (age six and upwards) and the oldest. Once the basics have been mastered it is a very rewarding instrument to play and we run a junior string ensemble for violin and cello pupils of approximately grade 1 – 3.

The violin is one of the instruments offered in the ITM II class.

Violins suitable for beginners start at about £120, and we have lots of violins which can be hired for a modest fee. If we do not have a suitable instrument we can give details of commercial hire schemes.

‘Cello

The ‘cello is a large stringed instrument, played in a sitting position with the instrument between the legs. It is tuned several octaves lower than the violin, and there are many similarities between the two. The cello is a very mellow instrument and is suitable for beginners of all ages at QYMC.

The ‘cello is one of the instruments offered in our ITM II class.

‘Cellos suitable for beginners start at about £150, (second hand) and we have a some ‘cellos which can be hired for a modest fee. If we do not have a suitable instrument we can give details of commercial hire schemes.

Trumpet/Cornet

This is one of the most popular instruments of the brass family. Usually used as a melody instrument, it is equally well suited to playing jazz, pop or classical music. Most beginners start on the Cornet – a smaller version of the Trumpet

A starter level cornet will cost about £150. There are good value instrument hire schemes offered by music shops, which are excellent for beginners.

French horn/Mini horn

The French horn has a distinctive, curved shape. The sound is very beautiful and it is usually used as a melody instrument. We have a couple of Mini horns available to hire which would be suitable for children from around age 7 (depending on size!).

Trombone/Pbone

The trombone is one of the lower instruments in the brass family and is famous for its slide.  Traditionally they’re quite heavy and only suited for older pupils but the pbone has revolutionised this.  They’re lightweight plastic trombones which work really well and are suitable for younger pupils – age 6/7.  They cost around £115.  There’s also a pbone mini but we don’t recommend this – it plays in a different key so it doesn’t work in a class with pupils playing pbone/trombone and it’s really not necessary as the pbone is fine for most 6/7 yr olds.

Flute/Jflute

The Jflute is a smaller, lighter flute designed for smaller players. It is a great starter instrument as it is ideal for younger children (age 6-7). Once children are a little bigger they move up the standard flute. Flutes are melody instruments.

jFlutes cost around £100 and come in groovy colours!

Clarinet/Clarineo

The Clarineo is a smaller, lighter clarinet designed for smaller players. It is a great starter instrument as it is ideal for younger children (age 7-8). Once children are a little bigger they move up the standard clarinet. Clarinets are melody instruments. It’s worth being aware that clarineos play in a different key from clarinets so the two don’t work well in a class together!

Clarineos cost around £110 and come in groovy colours!

Oboe and Bassoon

The oboe and the bassoon are double reed instruments. The oboe is always a melody instrument but although the bassoon is generally a bass instrument, it can play melodies too!  We have an oboe available to hire and a short-reach bassoon available to hire.  Oboe is possible from around age 8, bassoon from around 9 using a short-reach bassoon.  Oboe and Bassoon are better in a 1:1 lesson.

Percussion

Percussion is ideal for younger beginners. Untuned percussion instruments (for example drums, triangles etc) are fun to play, and allow children to develop a good sense of rhythm and group awareness when playing: these are two of the most important skills in music. Hand held percussion instruments are used in the Introduction to Music classes.

Tuned percussion (for example the xylophone) is also excellent for developing skills in melody and harmony.

Drum kit is very popular.  Ideally you’d have a kit at home (you can get electronic ones) but pupils can start with a rubber practice pad and set of sticks.

Percussion places don’t come up often and as percussion is taught in 15 minute 1:1 lessons, places are only offered to pupils taking part in one of the Latin Percussion Ensembles.  They will be expected to continue playing in ensembles as long as they are taking percussion lessons.

Recorder

The recorder is a member of the woodwind family, and is one of the most popular instruments for beginners. Recorder is always a popular class at QYMC and it is a good instrument for ensemble playing.  QYMC encourages pupils to play the full family of recorders.

The recorder is one of the instruments offered in our ITM II class.

Recorders are popular instruments and descant recorders are available very cheaply. Although you often find recorders for sale in toy departments, etc. you should go to a music shop and pay about £8 – £15 for a plastic descant as there is an enormous difference in quality in these instruments. A more advanced recorder student should look at paying £100 upwards for a handmade wooden recorder.

Keyboard

Keyboard is one of the most versatile and useful instruments to be able to play. The keyboard combines melody, harmony and accompaniment on one instrument, making it equally suited to solo or ensemble playing. We do not hire or provide keyboards for lessons so you will need to bring your own each week.

Piano

Piano is one of the most versatile and useful instruments to be able to play, however we do NOT recommend it as a first instrument as it is not suited to playing with others. The piano is a member of the percussion family, and combines melody, harmony and accompaniment on one instrument, making it equally suited to solo or ensemble playing. Piano lessons are only available to existing QYMC pupils once they reach grade 3 on their main instrument. We do not offer piano lessons for children not already at QYMC.

Any information given regarding prices of instruments is offered as a guide only. In order to learn an instrument you will from time to time need to buy for example tutor books, sheet music and consumables. Your child’s teacher will advise you of what you need to purchase or make the purchases on your behalf if this is more appropriate.

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