Late starter to Brass - what instrument? Tenor Horn or Trombone?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tom the Tenor, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Tom the Tenor

    Tom the Tenor New Member

    Hi, Greetings from Cork. I used to play clarinet in a brass & reed band in the late 80s/early 90s for five years and and I also learnt cello for just over six years with an overlap of the two for about a year or two. I just about coped with 2nd and 3rd clarinet most days but I was luckier with cello as I had a superb teacher and I always felt good about my playing. A little less so about clarinet but there you go.

    Now, She Who Must Be Obeyed is from the UK and I have heard her local brass band on a few occasions and I cant help thinking how I might like to eventually contribute in some way to the local community and to that end I have been thinking about taking up a brass instrument. I am able to put in some time everyday to practice but what I need to decide on is what instrument to take up.

    I am inclined towards Tenor Horn or Trombone but in a way cant decide. Now, I did in fact practice on one of the band's Eb basses for about month and I got on fine but trying to put it all together with the junior band at the time was tough. Anyway, I dont have the dough for a bass so what do you think for a forty something man with a dodgy ankle and high cholesterol - Tenor Horn or Trombone? I have also plenty of choir experience.

    Any comments? I have been enjoying reading the Mouthpiece in recent days.

    Thanks very much for reading.
  2. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    :hi How about contacting local bands to see if they have a training band. They normally have instruments available so u can try and are usually short of people wanting to play bigger instruments like basses?

    Good luck!!!
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Progress will often be quicker with valved instruments as the valve positions are "set", whereas slide positions have to be worked out. Having said that, if you've got a good ear I'm sure you'll make good progress whichever you choose. fwiw I (originally a woodwind player) started off on tenor horn, moved on via baritone to bass trombone, and now spend most of my time on BBb bass.
  4. winterman

    winterman Member

    Firstly welcome to the banding party! You're never too old to get involved!

    I would say that with a Trombone, you tend to have a natural talent for tuning and positioning which is a far trickier skill to learn than a valved instrument (I should I have started taking up the Trombone again as a fun thing to do with our Youth Band after 20 years, forgot how different it was!). Valved instruments are generally a bit easier to learn, but then it's down to the way you are wired I suppose.

    I would agree with other comments about finding a band, or music centre, with a couple of different instruments available for you to try who could maybe let you have a dabble on various ones (they don't have to be the newest or most expensive for you to get a feel for them) and see which one "fits", not everyone is cut out for a cornet after all!

    It may sound like beginners basics to an obvious musician, but that is the way I try to be with any new player that walks through the door at our "Learners" band.. Rather than shove them on Cornet, because it's easiest to carry, find out which one they find easiest to blow and feel most comfortable holding, everyone is different.

    Maybe a good compromise for you could be to try a Baritone (or Euphonium) AND have a dabble with a Trombone (you can more often than not use the same mouthpiece then, depending on the model of Trombone, which takes one less problem out of the decision), a Baritone/Trombone to Tenor Horn step for example is not as traumatic on the embouchure as mixing Tenor Horn and Trombone straight away.

    Just my thoughts, but I hope they help, and all the best with it.
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Trombone. With the Tenor Horn you get Brass Bands and that's about it. Trombone gives you a wider music base, Brass Bands , Big Bands, Jazz etc. So if I was starting over again that's what I would choose.
  6. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I'd say bass trombone, because of your 'cello and singing skills.
  7. Despot

    Despot Member

    Greetings from Waterford! Which band are you with?

    If you're looking to buy your own, I'd say trombone if you are not sure. Purely on a cost basis. You can get a good beginner trombone cheap - but student horns are much more expensive, and I've never seen a good student horn.

    One thought though - Eb Bass parts can be very difficult and unforgiving for a beginner. They generally assume a wide range and can have difficult intervals ("jumps") between notes. If you thought you were doing well initially, don't be put off by problems when you joined the group. That's to be expected.
  8. Al

    Al Member

    Probably more important to take what a band needs or has spare rather than what you want. You will generally be more welcomed then and you can settle in and see from there where you might want to go.
  9. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Trombone every time!! for being a late starter at the recent British Trom society day in London one of the most enthusiastic players was a lady in her late 70's who only started playing 18 months ago.......and had never played an instrument prior to this.
  10. HornMaster

    HornMaster Member

    For me, Tenor Horn everytime....but then again I am a little biased!

    I would just say pick what you feel most comfortable with. I would think any band would be grateful to have an additional player regardless of what instrument they play.

    Good luck with whatever you choose :clap:
  11. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I'd say horn because you'll potentially progress more quickly on valves to start with, and once you've learnt one valved BB instrument you can switch to any other without having to re-learn anything except pitch.... you just have to figure out which one suits your chops and sound best.
  12. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Accidental....what you said only applies to brass bands!!

    if it is horn then as previously stated it limit's your choices of playing to only brass bands, with the Bone you can play with concert/Bigbands/jazz/orchestra's etc....
  13. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Love how some people have turned this into a my instrument is better than yours competition. Fact is every instrument has its merits and its better to try a few and find your way than try and excel in an instrument that doesn't suit you?
  14. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    True, as always, Diane. :)

    Personally, I'd pick the one that you most fancy having a go at. I'd say Tenor Horn but again, I would say that...
  15. BariPower

    BariPower Member

    Maybe if you have the opportunity to test a few you could see which one is comfortable and you think you may enjoy. Or even listen to what some can do and see which one inspires you the most - as pointed out before using the valve system on most brass instruments can be an advantage for having a change later but if you have that much time on your hands try them all!!!
  16. Columbo

    Columbo Member

    Quickly, I would say Horn. I had a learner in Carbrook who came down on Tronmone and in her admission struggled a little. I advised her, (with ulterior motive!) to go on hrin. She is now doing a great job on 2nd Horn for us. I believe its easier and less frustrating to get to grips with. Good Luck whichever you choose!
  17. weeble

    weeble New Member

    .. that'll be me then Mr. Smith :eek:)

    I loved the trombone, but Jason was definately right in getting me to move to the Tenor Horn... it was far easier to learn on (despite being **** in last nights rehearsal - sorry Jason!!), all in all I think it was a good move.

    I plan to stay on the horn (unless told otherwise!), but may pick up the trombone again at some distant point in the future.
  18. Roycoater

    Roycoater New Member

    I have to agree with the earlier post who said it is a pity it is turning into a my instrument is better than your instrument circus. The best is to play whatever you feel most comfortable with, whether it be a beautiful trombone, horn, baritone, cornet or tambourine. The main objective is to get as much pleasure as you possibly can from an instrument.

    I know weeble, she did play trombone and she moved to horn very successfully just before she made me look any worse than I already am on my big brass bendy thing. She is not and was not an **** as she thought last night at rehearsal, that title is mine , past, present and future. No one plays quavers longer than I do!!

    Main secret -- play whatever you like as long as you get as much satisfaction and pleasure you possibly can. Just one suggestion --- I suggest Colombo does his detective work and finds the missing spell checker !!
  19. Tom the Tenor

    Tom the Tenor New Member

    Thank you, all, for the very enjoyable replies which I have read a few times now so as to stay in the good form your replies have brought to me. By the way, I woke up this morning with my first ear infection since I was about seven or eight years old so what with one of our dogs being unwell with a sore paw and me with my ear it has been an interesting day to say the least.

    Thanks for the explanation about playing the Eb bass and the intervals being tricky for the learner band player. At the time I had access to the instrument about three days a week for about two hours a go and it had been going well and it was galling that the simplest intervals seemed to be catching me up. You learn something new every day.

    Yes, it might be an idea to contact the band from where She Who Must Be Obeyed comes from and see what, if anything, they need more of in their ranks. We will be over next week and the band have a job on the Saturday but SWMBO has an afternoon matinee show lined up for us as a birthday present so that will need to take priority for the day.

    I will just have to make it my business to have a go at a few instruments. There is some mighty sweet sounding Tenor Horn music in Youtube though at the moment and I know a lot of work and practice must go into that but to even aspire to it would be the business.

    Sure, trombone allows you to play in differnt kinds of muscial groups but at my age the clock is ticking - so much great music to listen and learn about but so little time. I'd be more than happy and indeed thrilled to pieces to play my days out in a local band.

    So, I have Tenor Horn, Trombone (bass, hmm!) and even that Eb bass to think about now. Mind you, I gues the bass and bass trombone are too far over the horizon for now.

    Thanks for the great replies and greetings from Cork. I used to play in the Cork Butter Exchange Brass & Reed Prize Band in times past.
  20. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    My advice is-

    If you're going to 'Tom the tenor', then be discrete! wouldn't want the good lady finding out....