Written by Metro Music Makers instructor Aria Taboada
So, you are interested in taking some music lessons. How exciting to be learning something new that you can show off to the world! Have you decided what instrument you would like to learn? If not, it can be a little bit daunting with all the options that are available. There is definitely an instrument that will fit your personality and tastes, but how will you find out which one? There are four basic groups of instrument in a band or orchestra. Here is a breakdown of all of them, their roles, and what personality they fit best with.
The most popular brass instruments include trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba. All of these instruments can be found in both orchestras and bands. Brass players have the opportunity to be louder and add a lot of strength to the sound of the orchestra or band. In an orchestra setting, brass players play very little, but make a strong statement when they do play. In a band setting, they are the main attraction. Brass players are often known for being goofy in a social setting, but very serious and focused when working. If that describes you, brass might be your pick!
Woodwinds can also be found in both orchestra and band settings. These instruments include but are not limited to clarinet, sax, oboe, flute and bassoon. Most wind instruments have a reed, with the exception of flute. Wind instruments have more of a smooth, mellow sound that adds a rich note to a band or orchestra. Wind players are often known for their lively senses of humor and more eccentric personalities. If you have a fun, laidback personality and enjoy socializing, you might do very well with winds!
Strings are found only in orchestras and not bands. The most popular stringed instruments are violin, viola, cello and bass. Strings have a smooth, sweet sound, and often carry the melodies. If you play a stringed instrument, you will most likely not have much time to rest during a piece. String playing requires a very high level of precision. String players are often described as being a little more self-conscious, if not reserved. However, they are often the wittiest ones in the orchestras, with a darker sense of humor. If you enjoy quiet “inside jokes,” but are also very serious and focused, you might be a string player!
Percussion covers so many instruments, but the main ones in an orchestra or band are timpani, cymbal, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, xylophone and piano. If you are a percussionist, you will not be limited to one instrument. Usually there are only a few percussionists in a band or orchestra, and they take on many responsibilities. Percussionists need to be very attentive and able to multitask. Percussion instruments are on the louder side, but surprisingly, percussionists are often known as the more strong and silent type. They tend to be the most reliable, and although shy, are personable and cool. If this describes you, percussion might be your thing!
Although these are fun (and, obviously, subjective) observations of different instrument personality types, it is up to you to choose what you personally want to play. There is no rule to choosing an instrument. You are your own unique person with your unique tastes. If you are on the fence, perhaps this blog will help you choose, but the most important thing is that you enjoy the instrument you pick, and that playing it enriches your life. Happy music-making!