The Brass section of an orchestra tends to cover wind instruments formerly
made of that metal. Nowadays some of the instruments are made from other metals.
Each instrument has a mouthpiece which looks like a cup or funnel which is
placed against the player's lips. The shape of the mouthpiece affects the quality
of the tone, for example the French Horn has a deep funnel which produces a
smooth tone whereas the trumpet has a cup shaped mouthpiece which produces
more brilliance. The instruments are then made up of a tubular section leading
into a bell end. With the exception of the Trombone which has a sliding arrangement,
the instruments are fitted with a system of valves which helps the player
to change the note of the instrument.
The Trumpet is a tubular instrument which has a cup mouthpiece and a moderate
sized bell end. A variety of notes can be played by using different combinations
of the three valves. It's sound can be muted by the insertion of a stopper
into the bell. The trumpet is reasonably straight forward to learn and therefore
a simple tune can be played on one within a relatively short space of time.
To play the trumpet you must be able to vibrate your
lips over the mouthpiece. They are a popular instrument to learn.
The Cornet is very similar to the trumpet, in that it has a cup shaped mouthpiece,
is a tubular instrument and has a bell end. The main difference being that
when you approach the bell end the cornet changes its cylindrical tube to a
conical one, it can also be considered as a squashed trumpet. It is played
in the same way as a trumpet but is probably less popular.
The French Horn
The French Horn is an intricately coiled tube which is narrow at one end and
then widens into a flared bell about 30cm diameter at the other. The mouthpiece
is funnel shaped rather than cup shaped. It is again played with three valves
giving a range of notes. It can be more expensive than a trumpet and is
also harder to learn, which means it is less popular with the younger children.
The Trombone is like a trumpet being that it is a tubular instrument with
a cup shaped mouthpiece and a moderate sized bell end. The difference being
that it is not operated by valves but by a sliding arrangement which extends
the size of the tube, and hence gives the range of notes. It is not too expensive
to buy and can be relatively easy to learn.
Tuba is the biggest brass instrument and is therefore quite heavy for children
to carry. It is a bass brass instrument which comprises of a cup shaped mouthpiece,
a large conical tube that wraps around itself and a large flared bell end.
It is fairly expensive to buy and also, because of its size, not that popular
for younger children to play. An alternative for a young child would be the
Tenor Horn which is similar to the french horn but smaller.
To find out more about learning how to play these instruments visit the Starting to Learn section of our site.
Information on maintenance or repairs is available in the Maintenance and Tuning section of our site.