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Shopping for a Student Instrument

It's important to have an instrument that will help your student musician develop good tone quality and play with accurate intonation, right from the start. It should play well enough to allow your student to grow as a musician for a number of years.

What are the most important features to look for in a student instrument?

Congratulations! It's time for your or a family member to begin your lifelong musical journey. Whether a beginning band student, or an adult picking up an instrument for the first time, we hope the following article will provide you with some resources to begin your journey.

For the young student, many schools will have their local music stores visit or set up open houses where the students can try all the basic instruments under supervision from educated personnel. Optionally, students and parents can visit their local music stores for an opportunity to see, tough, hold and possibly try those beginning instruments. Find your nearest Accent dealer here. Four factors are primarily used to help students select an instrument to play, though one factor will outweigh all of the others...

  1. Physical Compatibility
  2. Balanced Instrumentation
  3. Natural Aptitude
  4. Desire to Play

In the first instance, we place some importance on physical characteristics; for example, a small child is not yet suited to play the baritone saxophone or tuba, so introductory considerations such as starting on alto saxophone or euphonium would come into play. Students with double-jointed fingers may be advised against flute, clarinet, or oboe, while students with dental needs (such as braces) may be steered away from brass instruments. However, many times over and again each of these physical characteristics can be adapted to and should not in any way prevent a student from pursuing an instrument they truly love.

Secondly, some directors may steer students towards instruments that are commonly less popular in order to maintain a balanced instrumentation. There are several advantages to this, such as the more exotic instruments may, in some cases, be provided by the schools. The sound of the instruments such as bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, French horn, euphonium, and oboe and bassoon have unique timbres and duties within the ensembles as well, leading to a very unique instrumental experience. This type of consideration can be aided by a student's natural aptitude and willingness to play the assigned instrument.

Thirdly, some students will display a more natural physical and lyrical aptitude for one instrument over another. Natural aptitude can be a boon to selecting an instrument, however, just because an instrument is easiest to play doesn't mean the student will be most interest in that instrument! This is an interesting balance to keep; you want the student to be successful but at the same time do not want to deter their interest.

An underlying theme to all of these is the students' desire to play. Not even the perfect trifecta of physical compatibility, a unique instrument, and a natural aptitude for producing sound will motivate a student to be successful without the desire to play. Similarly, minor challenges in fit and aptitude can be overcome with enthusiasm, a willingness to practice and learn, and a mentor to guide them. Adult students are less bound by the needs of physical characteristics and balanced instrumentation and may rely more on their own independent desires when selecting an instrument.

For parents and educators of both the young and adult, one primary job is to provide your student with steady, genuine, and ongoing encouragement through the long, often exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, road ahead, mindful of the long-term benefits of music participation. Accent would like to be your partner in your lifelong journey. It's important to have an instrument that will help your student musician develop good tone quality and play with accurate intonation, right from the start. It should contain professional features that allow your student to grow as a musician for a number of years. A student instrument must be strong enough to withstand the rigors of school use, and durable enough so that there is minimal time in the repair shop and maximum time in your student's hands. It is important that, when repairs become necessary, parts are readily available and you have a local, certified repair technician who can keep your instrument in top playing condition.

Accent student instruments are designed to give beginning students the best possible start. Yet, they have many features found on intermediate and advanced instruments as well, so they offer many years of use for the advancing player. By coming the tone, intonation, features, and durability you need in an instrument, Accent offers you the best value in student instruments anywhere!