Why learn a brass instrument?
1) They are shiny.
2) They make a beautiful sound.
3) You can be in London City Brass.
Those are already more than enough reasons, but just in case anybody isn’t convinced yet, here are some more.
4) OK, all musical instruments take a lot of practice but, as instruments go, brass are not too hard (apart from the French Horn which is notoriously difficult, but as it isn’t a brass band instrument it doesn’t count).
5) The hardest bit is learning to vary the pitch using your lips (or embouchure, or chops, as we say in the trade). Once you can do that you are off. This means that unlike, say, violin-players, beginners on brass can sound pretty good pretty quickly.
6) It’s never too late. You can take up brass at any age.
7) Brass instruments are very versatile. You find them in orchestral music, jazz and wind bands as well as, of course, brass bands.
8) Once you can play one brass band instrument you can pretty much play the lot. How cool is that? The fingering is the same for all of them and the slide positions on the trombone equate to valve combinations on the valved instruments (are you still following?) so the only thing you have to adapt to is a different sized mouthpiece. Nearly all our middle and lower-brass players in London City Brass learned trumpet/cornet first – even the tubas.
9) As instruments go, brass are not too expensive. There’s not much that can go wrong with them either. No faffing about with reeds or worrying about breaking a string. Just don’t drop them.
10) There are proven health and mental health benefits from making music with other people. In a brass band you all have to coordinate your breathing and you need to breathe in properly. This is very good for you.
10A) And finally… you will bring joy to other people. Whether it’s playing at your friend’s wedding, a summer bandstand concert in the park, a jolly marching parade, a YouTube video or Christmas carol busking – brass instruments and Christmas music were made for each other - everybody loves the sound of a brass band.