Many people find themselves in the world of musical instruments that they don’t know anything about when their kids first started music in school. It is very important to know the basics of building tools and good materials and to choose a good store to rent or buy these tools. So what process should parents follow to make the best choices for their children?
Obviously, the first step is to choose a tool. Let your child choose. Kids don’t make many big decisions about their lives, and this is a big decision that can be a source of empowerment. I can also say from personal experience that children have a natural intuition about what is good for them. In the end, my strongest advice is to put a child in a room to try no more than 3-5 different options, and let him choose based on the sound he prefers.
This information is intended to broaden your horizons, not to create a preference, or to put you in a position to choose in the store! Most gadgets are very well made these days, and choosing a reputable retailer will allow you to be confident in the recommendations. Ask your school and/or private music teacher where to shop.
Wind instruments are made all over the world, but mainly in the USA, Germany, France and China. When we talk about woodwinds, we are referring to members of the families of the flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and bassoon.
All woodwinds have a fairly complex and interrelated mechanism that must be regulated so that all the keys move and close the instrument holes when they are supposed to. Your trusted local retailer will make sure you get a tool “set up,” even though many new ones are ready to go out of the box. When you handle a brand new gadget, you should take it back to the store to have it checked after about 3 months, or sooner if there are any problems. Since all the materials are new and tight-fitting, they may fall out of regulation when the machine malfunctions. It’s normal. You should rely on this type of regulation every 12-18 months, or sooner if the instrument school is played a lot.
Woodwind instruments also have pads. The pads are the part of the instrument that seals the holes in the instrument body (tone slots). A perfect seal is required to produce the correct tone. Tuning and sound quality are affected by using a properly seated cushion. They also sometimes need replacement, as part of your regular maintenance, although it rarely happens all at once. When all pads need to be replaced (once every 8-10 years), this is done as part of a “total overhaul” of the tool that includes disassembling, cleaning, refitting, tightening loose parts, and replacing springs and cork as necessary. This is a rare procedure and generally reserved for professionals. Maintenance repair is most common for parents.
Since there are so many rails and key cups (which hold the pads), there are a lot of very delicate parts that are easy to bend out of these tools. Knowing how to assemble it properly is important to avoid unwanted repair costs. Be sure to ask your local retailer for the correct way to assemble your machine. This is often the cause of the most common repairs, followed by bumping into things.
Interestingly enough, not all woodwinds are made of wood. Flutes and saxophones are mainly made of metal; Nickel silver and silver for the flute, and in general copper for the saxophones. We’ll stick to this material for these tools for the sake of simplicity, as there are increasingly more options available.
For the rest of the woodwinds, wood is already used in the main construction of the instruments.
Flutes and saxophones
Student flutes are made of nickel silver, then silver plated. Silver nickel is an alloy of brass with nickel, which resembles silver when polished, hence its name. One of its main advantages is that it is stronger than copper or silver alone. The more you progress to better instruments, the more silver is used, starting with the head (which is the most important factor in good sound quality). More on headjoints later.
Saxophones are generally made of brass. try to find a machine with “ribbing” on the body; Additional brass plates provide structural support over an area where multiple struts attach to the body. This provides strength for the accidental and unavoidable bumps that your young students are bound to face. Some Saxes students have key work made of nickel silver, which is a good strategy for strength in a vulnerable area.
Clarinets and Oboes
Clarinet and oboe bodies are usually made of ABS plastic for student instruments. This is a good strategy for bumps, but it’s also against the maintenance habits and climate changes that students face. Intermediate and professional tools are made of Grenadella wood (which is changing as Grenadella approaches the endangered list).