Do I need to upgrade?
A good quality student model instrument will often service the needs of a student anywhere from 1-3 years & this depend very much on the level that the student is playing at. As a general rule if the student is looking to study grade 5 AMEB or above or VCE music it will be time to think about upgrading the instrument.
Deciding to upgrade from a student instrument is a big decision and one that should be discussed in detail with your teacher.
There are a number of reasons why it may be appropriate to upgrade, and here are some suggestions that might make your choice an easier one.
Assuming you have decided that studying music is a medium-to-long-term goal, you should consider what kind of music you would like to play. If you are planning on studying the higher grades of AMEB examinations or VCE/HSC music performance then you should be aware of the repertoire that you will need to play. Your participation in concert band, big band, orchestra etc should also influence your choice of instrument. There are many different brands and models of professional instruments that are on the market and some have been designed to suit a particular style of music better than others. Ask for guidance from your teacher regarding what instrument they recommend to suit your music curriculum.
Intermediate and professional instruments are designed to do 3 things better than student instruments:
1. Produce a superior sound – Excellent quality instruments enable the player to express their musicality with greater ease and a more flexible tone.
2. Maintain improved intonation – making note selection more precise with greater ease.
3. Constructed with more reliable moving parts and a better build finish.
Inferior instruments create obstructions to the player in the form of poor tone, bad intonation and faulty valves/keys. When a student progresses to a certain level it is a logical choice to upgrade equipment in order to improve their chances of success.
There’s no escaping that better instruments cost more. And depending on which instrument you’re playing, there will be different reasons for the extra cost, but as we’ve said, these improvements all work together to ensure you can more easily achieve the music you want to play.
Here’s a brief list of what makes some instruments that much better:
- Flutes – student flutes are made of Nickel silver or Brass where as advanced flutes either have a sterling silver head or body – this gives a much improved tone
- Clarinets – student instruments are made of a synthetic material with the intermediate advanced models being made of rare African black woods
- More expenisve materials such as increased copper content in trumpets & saxophones
- Handmade/assembled as opposed to assembly line mass production – ensuring finer tolerances and better actions maintained
Having a good idea of your personal needs is most helpful when approaching a retail shop to consider your options. Sales staff will do their best to match an instrument to your requirements, but being able to provide them with your teacher’s recommendations (style, requirements, etc.) can make the process much less confusing and ensure a positive outcome.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any specific upgrade questions.