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Is it Time to Consider a Step-Up Instrument?

Oct 21, 2013

“Participating in the band at my school is both an exciting and beneficial experience. I’m now a firm believer that ‘Making Music makes you Smarter,’ commented a local woodwind student. “I’m doing o.k. with my beginning instrument, but I’m really serious about improving my performance, I practice every day, I enjoy playing, and I want to continue to improve.”

Kari Barchers, one of our step-up specialists, remarked after hearing the student’s comment, “when a young musician reaches this level of commitment, then it’s time to consider exchanging the rent to learn student instrument for a step-up instrument.” A step-up instrument, often referred to as a “soloist,” is a high quality, performance–level instrument. Ms. Barchers also reminds parents that a percentage of the equity earned while renting the beginning instrument may be applied to the Soloist instrument.

Students and parents regularly ask, “What do we look for when selecting a step-up instrument, and when is the right time to make this change?” Tom Meyer, who oversees the step-up program at Meyer Music in Blue Springs, summarizes the differences apparent in a step-up instrument:

Clarinet:  The step-up clarinet is more responsive and durable,  and it creates a rich, full tone.
(Note – many players participating in marching band choose to retain the beginning clarinet to be played outside, in order to better protect the wooden soloist instrument.)

Flute:  The step-up flute produces an extraordinary tone, as well as an even response to the player. The soloist flute has a solid silver head and body, a low B foot joint and an open-hole design.

Saxophone:  In addition to the rich tone of the soloist saxophone, it boasts a sculptured key mechanism and the additional high F key.

Trumpet:  The committed trumpet student who chooses a step-up instrument will enjoy “the smooth swift accuracy of the soloist trumpet, while enjoying its exquisite engraved silver and gold beauty.

Trombone:  The continuing trombone student will ‘"step up" to smooth action, sensitive response and a large symphonic sound when playing a soloist trombone. The soloist increases the student’s range and speed with the F-trigger and produces clear and resonant tones.

Oboe:  A serious oboe student can improve his/her performance with a soloist oboe, which comes in two different key configurations – either full conservatory, or full conservatory with left hand F. A high quality, performance-level instrument can only aid the student’s growth as a young musician.

Stringed Instruments - Violins, Violas and Cellos:  Young orchestra students that are ready to advance to a step-up instrument will be rewarded with fine German craftsmanship, select aged woods and professional strings which will enhance the responsiveness of the orchestra instrument and help the student create a rich, full tone. These performance-level instruments come with a Brazilwood bow in a handsome quality fabric case. The student may also choose to upgrade to a carbon graphite CODA bow.

Parents are invited to contact the step-up specialists at any of the three Meyer Music locations for additional information about step-up band and orchestra instruments.

Blue Springs, 816-228-5656
Tom Meyer or Kari Barchers

Kansas City North, 816-746-0500
Mitzi Meyer Phelan

Overland Park, 913-491-6636
Mike Meyer