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Selecting the Right Step-Up Instrument at the Right Time

Dec 03, 2014

It’s an exciting moment when a student gets his or her first band or orchestra instrument. Yet, that moment can be fleeting because soon enough your child’s skill and ability will improve to the point where he or she outgrows that beginner’s instrument. After all, beginning instruments are for beginners.

Many parents struggle with knowing when it’s time to upgrade from a beginner instrument to a step-up instrument, otherwise known as a “soloist.” A step-up or soloist instrument is a high quality, performance–level instrument. Talking to your child’s band or orchestra teacher offers some sage advice.

Also, we found that a local Kansas City woodwind student provides one of the best indicators of when it’s time to invest in a step-up instrument. The student explained, “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.’ I’m doing okay 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.”

After hearing this student’s comment, Kari Barchers, a Meyer Music step-up instrument specialist, remarked, “When a young musician reaches this level of commitment, then it’s time to consider exchanging the rent-to-learn instrument for a step-up instrument.”

Remember: Parents renting instruments from Meyer Music can apply a percentage of the equity earned while renting the beginning instrument to the soloist instrument.

Students and parents often ask two questions when considering moving to a soloist instrument, “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 in step-up band and orchestra instruments.

Band Instruments

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

Flute: The step-up flute produces an extraordinary tone, as well as an even response for 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 it 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 oboe can only aid the student’s growth as a young oboist.

Stringed Instruments

Giuseppe soloist violins create a rich, full toneMeyer Music is honored to carry our custom line of Giuseppe orchestra strings. This custom-made line is handcrafted by artisans dedicated to creating wonderful musical instruments – works of art that can be played for generations. We’re also home to a wide selection of Codabow performance level bows.

Violins: Young violinists who are ready for a step-up instrument will enjoy fine German craftsmanship, aged woods and professional strings, enhancing the violin’s responsiveness. Giuseppe soloist violins create a rich, full tone. These performance-level instruments come with a Brazil wood bow and quality fabric case. The student may also choose to upgrade to a carbon graphite Codabow.

Violas: Giuseppe soloist violas are made with fine German craftsmanship, select aged woods and professional strings to enhance responsiveness and deliver a rich, full tone. These performance-level instruments come with a Brazil wood bow in a handsome fabric case. Students have the option to upgrade to a carbon graphite Codabow.

Cellos: Again, German craftsmanship, select aged woods and professional strings are part of the Giuseppe soloist cello. Cellists will note the instrument’s responsiveness and rich, full tone. These performance-level cellos come with a Brazil wood bow in a durable fabric case. A carbon graphite Codabow is available as an upgrade.

If you have questions regarding step-up band or orchestra instruments, our specialists are here to help. Simply contact any one of the Meyer Music locations for additional information. We have soloist instruments experts in each location:

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