I'm new to stack exchange and I'm not sure where to ask my question so I decided that this would be the best place to ask my question.

So I'm in grade 9 and I've played percussion(mallets, drums, and auxiliary) for my whole life now. After our band got past all the beginner stuff and began moving into more complex compositions, me and my section(the percussion section) don't really play a lot. In fact, during our last practice, I played for like 2 minutes for our entire 75 minute music class. Ever since, I've considered moving to a wind instrument. I've never touched a wind instrument in my life, but one of my strengths is setting goals; so in my belief, I feel that I would be able to get a sound and catch up to the rest of band over the winter break. I just want to ask your opinions on what I should do next, and if I were to choose to play a wind instrument; which one should I pick up? I'm looking for something that would be easy to articulate and learn for someone who has zero prior experience with wind instruments.

Thanks for reading.


Firstly, this is not an unusual problem, particularly if you are a good player compared to other sections in the band. Such is the nature of junior bands; I've played in, arranged for and occasionally directed a junior concert band over the last few years, and we have the same issues.

So, how can you make it better? To start, you should talk to your musical director. Are they aware of the issue? Can they choose better pieces, that will use your section more heavily? You want to be diplomatic here. Don't say that they are wrong, but be honest. Perhaps talk it over with someone beforehand, just to make sure you don't come across in the wrong way. This will be really good practice for you, not just musically, but in the rest of life.

Secondly, you could probably get away with switching instruments. Hopefully this doesn't come across the wrong way, but a year nine band is not the Vienna Philharmonic. You can probably catch up pretty quickly, especially since you can already read music. But you'll need to talk this over with the director first. You could offer to play percussion when needed, and switch to the other instrument if you're not needed. I do that in the concert band I'm a part of.

To address the question of which instrument to switch to, you should use your ears. Which one do you enjoy listening to? Talk to your bandmates. You want to choose an instrument that you love.

So, in short, you need to talk to your director. Communication is really important in any band, and particularly in this situation. Whatever you do, don't give up music!

  • Also consider which instrument the band might often be short of. Learn that, and you're going to be in greater demand! Sax would be good, as there are several to choose from, and once you can play one the others should be easy to pick up. The playing of sax also leads to clarinet and flute, so you're well on the way then.
    – Tim
    Dec 14 '16 at 15:20

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