School Band Instruments Names: How To Choose! (2022)

This author has been an educator, conductor, and trombonist for the past 40 years. His experience qualifies him as an expert in this field.

School Band Instruments Names: How To Choose

Students in public schools have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Beginning in grade six (in most school systems) students can choose from a select list of instruments. This article explores the School Band Instruments Names and How to Choose the proper one for your child. Read on and learn more about this fantastic opportunity in the arts.

Benefits of Learning a Musical Instrument

Scientific studies tell us that learning a musical instrument has many benefits. The list below lists several reasons why students benefit from studying instrumental music.

  • Increases memory capabilities
  • Improves coordination
  • Improves analytic skills
  • Participation in a physical activity
  • Improves reading mastery through understanding
  • Creates responsibility
  • Explores culture and history
  • Fosters self-expression
  • Improves listening skills
  • Recreational fun
  • Belonging to a performance group with others

The Elementary School Band Instruments Names

It all starts in the elementary school instrumental music program. Each fall, the sixth-grade students are allowed to sign up to study a musical instrument with the music teacher.

The students go through a demonstration session where professional musicians demonstrate each instrument to the students, From there the students and parents choose which instrument they might want to study. This is usually done through a local music store where parents can either rent or purchase.

The school band instruments list at the elementary level are as follows:

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Horn
  • Snare Drum

This shortlist of eight instruments are suitable for young students to handle. Whereas, larger instruments ( bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, tuba, etc...) will be available as they get a bit older.

School Band Instruments List

School Band Instruments Names: How To Choose! (1)
(Video) Beginner School Band Instruments Overview | Which One Should I Play?

Middle School Band Instruments Names

When a student arrives at the middle school level he or she has one or two years of training on a particular instrument. Most middle schools are equipped with a number of school-owned instruments. These serve to expand the instrumentation of the middle school concert band.

Skilled music teachers can introduce selected students to transition into one of these larger instruments. The list below outlines the expanded instrumentation of the middle school band.

Pictures of these instruments are displayed throughout the article.

Highlighted names are typically school owned.

  • Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet
  • Horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone Horn/Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Drums
  • Xylophone/Bells
  • Timpani

What is the best instrument to learn for you?

InstrumentType of InstrumentPhysical RequirementsHow Popular



Double reed instrument, difficult.

Not very popular



Long fingers, dexterity, air supply

Very popular for girls



Finger dexterity, air supply

Very popular, boys or girls



Finger dexterity, air supply

Boys like this, jazz band later



Double reed, 6ft long, difficult

Not very popular

Very popular if it is a big program

Large instrument, not too popular

Not very popular



Finger dexterity, must have good air supply, embochure needs to be developed

Very popular with boys, not so much with the girls



Smaller mouthpiece, embochure needs to be developed, must have good air supply. Difficult

Less popular



Larger mouthpiece, must have good air supply, embouchure needs to be developed

Very popular

Euphonium/Baritone Horn


Larger mouthpiece, must have good air supply, embochure needs to be developed

Less popular



Largest of all brass, needs good air supply, embochure needs to be developed.

Less popular

Snare Drum


Quick reflexes, good in math, good ear

All the boys want to be drummers, very popular

Drum Set




Long fingers, big hands, finger dexterity

Very popular



Good finger dexterity


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High School Band Instruments Names

If the student in the middle school program has met with success, the next level is High School Band. This is where all the great fun happens! High School band has a multitude of opportunities through various activities. This happens inside and outside the walls of the building.

Depending on the size of the high school in most cases will determine the size of the band itself. Again, the skilled teacher will be a big part of how big the group will grow.

School owned instruments are a big part of the program at this level. From the marching band, concert bands, jazz ensemble, the instrumentation names are below. Highlighted names are typically school owned.

  • Piccolo
  • Oboe
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone/Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Mallet Percussion
  • Timpani
  • Aux. Percussion

Practice Routine

For a child to see success with a brand new instrument it is important for the parents to have patience, discipline, and motivation. Instill in your child the importance of practicing and developing a good practice routine. Practicing an instrument should not seem like a chore for the young musician. Below are some tips on this subject.

  • Designate a private area that you can practice in.
  • Practice at the same time every day
  • Set up an alarm clock for your practice session and don’t start practicing until the alarm goes off. Your practice time should start off being 1/2 hour and gradually increase to one full hour per day.
  • Keep a log of your practice session and what you got accomplished
  • As you get well-established with your practice routine, you need to include a warmup period. This needs to be between five and ten minutes in order to get your embouchure warmed up or flexibility in your fingers etc.
  • Avoid interruptions

Concert Grand Piano

Private Lessons

Private lessons represent an important part of learning to play a musical instrument. Without them, failure is imminent. As mentioned earlier, most public schools offer instrumental music lessons as part of the elementary school curriculum starting as early as grade 6.

These are in fact group lessons of four or more students once a week. A student that is faster than the other students in this small group setting may get frustrated and lose interest unless they have the opportunity to study with a specialist in a private lesson so that this youngster can excel at his or her pace.

(Video) Guess the Sound | Musical Instruments Quiz | Instrument Sounds

I do remember that when I was a youngster starting the trombone that I had several private teachers from grade 5 through high school. My private teachers helped motivate me to practice more at home which allowed more opportunities to perform in advanced orchestras and bands throughout high school.

I have provided a few videos for your entertainment and more importantly to illustrate the success of young people taking private lessons as part of their learning process on the instrument and how they can excel at an early age.

Portable Piano Keyboards for Young and Old Alike! Two of my children learned on this and I still use it today.

So, What is the Best Instrument to Learn?

Taking in all the considerations of restrictions, applications, physical requirements, expenses, popularity, and difficulty, my recommendation is that the piano would seem to be the best instrument to learn. The short list below will outline why this would be a good choice:

  1. The piano is easier for young person to learn beginning as early as age four.
  2. One can play the piano in any style.
  3. The piano provides a solid base for music fundamentals.
  4. The piano provides instant gratification while learning.
  5. The piano needs no embouchure to develop.
  6. No size problems of the bigger instruments to overcome.
  7. Many students of the piano find it very easy to pick up a second instrument after a few years of fundamentals on the piano.
  8. With today’s technology, a grand piano or expensive upright is not necessary as there would be many models of electronic keyboards available for home use.

In Closing,

If I had it all over to do again, I would be learning the piano.This instrument provides all the necessary skills in music to use later for learning a second or even a third instrument later in life. If your child is that enthusiastic about music he or she may want to learn how to write music. The piano is a great instrument to use for this exploration.

All of the instruments that we talked about in this article are good and as you can see have degrees of popularity and difficulty. I hope this information helps and good luck with your music. If you find this article useful, drop a comment below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Reginald Thomas

(Video) Be Part Of The Band - instruments


Which instrument is best for band in school? ›

Most elementary school band programs start with what's called the “Big 5” instruments. These instruments include flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. These instruments are the most common instruments to begin playing because they are fairly easy to learn, but they still take decades to master.

How do I choose the right instrument? ›

To find the instrument that is right for you, consider the music you love to listen to. The instrument should be an extension of what you naturally hear. Playing your favorite songs will inspire you to practice. If your musical tastes focus around classic rock or heavy metal, guitar is probably your best bet.

What instruments are used in school? ›

Music Equipment for Schools
  • Xylophones and Glockenspiels.
  • Drums and Tambourines.
  • Recorders and Wind Instruments.
  • Keyboards and Stringed Instruments.
  • Percussion Instruments.
  • Classroom Music Kits.
  • Whole Class Ensemble.
  • Outdoor Music and Storage.

What are the 4 main instruments in a band? ›

Rock bands may include a variety of instruments, but the most common configuration is a 4-part band consisting of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and drums. The lead vocalist may just sing, or play an instrument as well. The microphones and amps help turn up the volume to make the band loud.

What is the top 10 easiest instrument to play? ›

Here then are our best picks of the 10 easiest instruments to learn late in life and why they made it into our review:
  • Bass guitar.
  • Bongos. ...
  • Tambourine. ...
  • Ukulele. ...
  • Harmonica. ...
  • Fiddle. ...
  • Drums. ...
  • Recorder. ...
12 Aug 2020

What are the 5 easiest instruments to learn? ›

If you're looking for an easy instrument to learn, any of these options fit the bill:
  • HARMONICA. One of the easiest instruments you can take up, which is also very popular in a variety of styles, is the harmonica. ...
  • GUITAR. ...
  • UKULELE. ...
  • KEYBOARD. ...
  • DRUMS.
19 Oct 2021

What instruments are played in band class? ›

Band Instruments
  • Flute.
  • Oboe.
  • Clarinet.
  • Bass Clarinet.
  • Bassoon.
  • Alto Saxophone.
  • Tenor Saxophone.
  • Baritone Saxophone.

Which band instrument is best for my child? ›

Top 10 Instruments for Children to Learn to Play Music
  • The Xylophone.
  • Hand Percussion.
  • Piano.
  • Ukulele.
  • Drums.
  • Recorder.
  • Violin.
  • Guitar.
11 Mar 2020

What instrument should my child play in band? ›

Recommended Instruments: Piano and Drums are the most common choices for this age range, as children tend to flourish best when they do not have to lift or hold an instrument at first. We do not recommend ukulele*, guitar or brass/woodwind (school band) or larger string instruments yet for this reason.

Can a band have 2 members? ›

Two members

In many cases, two-member bands omit a drummer, since guitars, bass guitars, and keyboards can all be used to provide a rhythmic pulse. Other examples of two-member bands are MGMT, WZRD, Pet Shop Boys, Hella, Flight of the Conchords, the Ting Tings, They Might Be Giants (from 1982 to 1992) and T.

What are the 3 types of band? ›

Symphonic Band is a group of musicians playing brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Marching band is a band that marches and plays music usually performing at athletic functions or community activities. Jazz band is a musical ensemble that plays jazz music.

What is the least popular instrument? ›

The most popular instruments they sell are the saxophone, flute and clarinet, with the least popular being the tuba, French horn and the bassoon. We caught up with them to find out more about these endangered instruments.

Can you learn 2 instruments at once? ›

Contrary to popular belief, learning two instruments simultaneously is perfectly achievable. Many professional musicians will have some degree of competency on a second instrument. Research indicates that learning two instruments at once will not adversely affect progression on either instrument.

What is the easiest instrument to get Grade 8? ›

Grade 8 is an intermediate level, and it is much easier to play at an intermediate level on some instruments than on others. Eg it is far easier to get to grade 8 on trumpet or saxophone than on organ, oboe or classical guitar.

What instruments are in band in 5th grade? ›

BAND: The band instruments taught in fourth grade are flute, clarinet, trumpet and trombone. In fifth grade, we add alto sax, french horn, oboe and percussion.

Which instrument is good for brain? ›

Learning the piano from a young age has an impressive effect on the brain development; amazingly, it has the effect of making a person's brain more symmetrical.

What are the 5 main instruments? ›

There are five main instrument families: strings, woodwind, brass, keyboards, and percussion.

What instrument is hardest to play? ›

The 11 Hardest Musical Instruments to Learn
  • Violin. The violin is a wooden stringed instrument that's part of a larger family of similar instruments. ...
  • The French Horn. ...
  • The Organ. ...
  • Bagpipes. ...
  • Accordion. ...
  • Oboe. ...
  • Harp. ...
  • Guitar.

What is a good first instrument to learn? ›

The Best Instruments for Beginners
  • Piano and Keyboard. Pianos and keyboards are part of their own category and a favorite for beginner musicians because they are easy to start playing right away. ...
  • Ukulele. A ukulele is a great first instrument, especially as a string instrument. ...
  • Guitar. ...
  • Violin. ...
  • Cello. ...
  • Recorder. ...
  • Flute. ...
  • Saxophone.
15 Mar 2021

What instrument takes the most skill? ›

The piano has the highest skill floor of all the instruments, meaning anyone can make a nice sound on it, but the complexity and difficulty of music written for piano simply continues long after all the other instruments have reached their most difficult pieces.

What is the fastest instrument to learn? ›

The 11 Easiest Musical Instruments to Learn
  • Keyboard. ...
  • Castanets. ...
  • Harmonica. ...
  • DJ Controller. ...
  • The Harp. ...
  • Drums. ...
  • Guitar. ...
  • Ukulele. The ukulele is one of the most popular instruments for people to start with.

What instrument is easy to play? ›

The easiest instruments to learn are ukulele, harmonica, bongos, piano, and glockenspiel. Learning these instruments as an adult will be straightforward and accessible, and we've included step-by-step tips for each below.

What is the most useful instrument to learn? ›

The 6 Best Instruments to Learn
  1. Piano/Keyboard. Learning the piano is an excellent way to introduce yourself to music and set yourself up for success if you eventually want to learn other instruments as well. ...
  2. Drums. ...
  3. Guitar. ...
  4. Violin. ...
  5. Flute. ...
  6. Handpan.
28 Dec 2019

What is the easiest instrument to learn in school? ›

These are the easiest instruments to learn and play:
  • Electronic keyboard.
  • Piano.
  • Guitar.
  • Drums.
  • Bass guitar.
  • Xylophone.
  • Harmonica.
  • Bongos.
17 Oct 2022

What is the best band instrument for beginners? ›

Top Five Best Band Instruments for Beginners
  1. Flute. We've already covered why the flute is such a good instrument for learners in another post. ...
  2. Violin. The violin has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to master. ...
  3. Trumpet. Brass instruments can be difficult for beginners. ...
  4. Saxophone. ...
  5. Snare drum.

What is the easiest band instrument to play for kids? ›

Top 4 Easiest Instruments for Kids to Learn
  • Flute. The flute is an exciting aerophone or woodwind instrument that produces sound as air flows across the shaft and through the openings. ...
  • Drums. ...
  • Piano. ...
  • Xylophone.

Can 1 person be a band? ›

One-person bands with four or more instruments date back to the 1800s. Today, it's still possible to find one-person bands. Sometimes you'll see them at street fairs or parades. If you ever get the chance to see a one-person band perform live, take it.

What are the 4 types of bands in school? ›

What Kind of School Band Instruments Can My Child Choose?
  • Woodwinds. Woodwind instruments include clarinet, flute, piccolo, saxophone, bassoon, and oboe. ...
  • Brass. Brass instruments include trumpet, trombone, french horn, and tuba. ...
  • Strings. The string family consists of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. ...
  • Percussion.

Is guitar in school band? ›

A school band consists of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion instruments, although upper level bands may also have string basses or bass guitar.

What do you call a 5 member band? ›

A quintet is a group containing five members. It is commonly associated with musical groups, such as a string quintet, or a group of five singers, but can be applied to any situation where five similar or related objects are considered a single unit.

What are the 6 main musical instruments? ›

Advanced Search. The great majority of musical instruments fall readily into one of six major categories: bowed strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, keyboard, and the guitar family, the first four of which form the basis of the modern symphony orchestra.

What is everyone's favorite instrument? ›

Out of all the current and would-be parents polled, 82 percent think it's important that their child learn to play an instrument, with the most popular preferences being piano (18 percent), drums (17 percent) and violin (16 percent).

What is the easiest instrument to play in a high school band? ›

What Are the Easiest Band Instruments? From the most popular band instruments, the easiest ones are the alto sax, flute, clarinet, trombone, trumpet, and almost all from percussion.

What is the most popular instrument to play in band? ›

Top 10 Most Popular Instruments to Play
  • Piano/Keyboard - 27 percent.
  • Acoustic Guitar - 20 percent.
  • Violin - 19 percent.
  • Electric Guitar - 18 percent.
  • Drums - 18 percent.
  • Voice/Singing - 18 percent.
  • Saxophone - 17 percent.
  • DJ Equipment - 16 percent.
21 Jun 2022

What is the biggest instrument in school band? ›

Tuba. Representing the bass section of the brass instruments is the Tuba, which is one of the largest and most important instruments in a marching band.

What are the 5 main classes of instruments? ›

Instruments are classified using 5 different categories depending on the manner in which the instrument creates the sound: Idiophones, Membranophones, Chordophones, Aerophones, & Electrophones.

What instrument should a 14 year old play? ›

Recommended Instruments: Piano and Drums are the most common choices for this age range, as children tend to flourish best when they do not have to lift or hold an instrument at first. We do not recommend ukulele*, guitar or brass/woodwind (school band) or larger string instruments yet for this reason.

What is the easiest instrument? ›

If you're looking for an easy instrument to learn, any of these options fit the bill:
  • HARMONICA. One of the easiest instruments you can take up, which is also very popular in a variety of styles, is the harmonica. ...
  • GUITAR. ...
  • UKULELE. ...
  • KEYBOARD. ...
  • DRUMS.
19 Oct 2021

What is the least popular instrument in band? ›

The most popular instruments they sell are the saxophone, flute and clarinet, with the least popular being the tuba, French horn and the bassoon.

What instrument takes the most air in band? ›

The tuba, along with the flute, is at the top of the list for instruments that take the most air to play. To put it in a brass context, tuba uses air three times faster than the trumpet or French horn, and the lower you play within the tuba's range, the more air it takes.


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