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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, as you might know I already play clarinet, bass clarinet, and alto sax. While I love bass stuff, I'm starting to get more into the smooth type sound and... well.. I kind of want a soprano sax. And a kalimba. I like oboe but don't plan on getting one anytime soon, if ever. I can't help but feel this all might be too much for a high school kid... or maybe too many instruments in general. Should I pursue the Soprano or is this maybe just a case of GAS...
 

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Let's see. When I was in high school I played alto in jazz band, bari in pep band, clarinet, oboe sax and flute in the pit for a local university, and oboe in the concert band. Oh, and I sang in chorus, and played the lead in the school musical, too.

I'm a total mess now, so I would keep it simple.
 

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Well, I wouldn't consider playing clarinet and sax doubling really, at this point during high school. My daughter, who is in high school too, has to play clarinet as part of her sax studies. But she does double--she studies oboe seriously too. I wouldn't say it's for everybody. There are other students at school who see my daughter and then try to double, but they don't take it seriously. Can you use the soprano sax at school to practice? That's how my daughter started it. She's lucky that the school lends out instruments free of charge. She borrowed the soprano sax for one year, decided she really liked it, and then bought her own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can you use the soprano sax at school to practice?
Unfortunately no, I play the Alto in jazz band, and my director doesn't allow sopranos in jazz band. It would mostly be just for fun, like the kalimba I'm getting, but I also take lessons with a VERY talented (possibly Nashville's best) woodwind instructor, so he would help me. I understand soprano is the hardest sax to get right though. Tuning is difficult to get right, or so I've heard.
 

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You know, my daughter has never paid much attention to what people might say about an instrument. If she likes it, she just picks it up and plays it. She had no trouble learning the soprano and no trouble with pitch. Now, I don't know if that's because she's a really good oboe player and HAS to play in tune, or maybe she just has a better ear than most. But she does sit down with a tuner when she starts a new instrument and goes through the chromatic scale methodically. Although her teacher ( a well-known recording artist in our area) plays soprano in his quartet, he tells my daughter to focus on the alto sax and clarinet which will help her with the soprano chops. My daughter's high school doesn't use soprano much either in band or jazz band. She plays it for herself, played it a lot in summer camp last year, and will be performing the Villa-Lobos concerto on soprano next week in a competition. And she is saving up to buy herself a sopranino. I would think, though, that if your main instrument is clarinet and you play the alto sax, the soprano shouldn't be difficult. It's a pity you can't borrow one from your school though.
 

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I would describe the soprano problems more as learning to control it, rather than strictly a tuning problem. the soprano can be a wild beast - the slightest weakness in your embouchure are magnified for all the world to hear. this affects not only intonation, but also inconsistencies in tone quality and whether notes will even speak for you. when I first got my soprano (in high school, back in the last millennium), my friends quickly nicknamed it the "electric duck" (whatever that means) because of my unique tone quality on the instrument. if you get one, be prepared to spend a good deal of time getting it to sound right. but it sure is a lot of fun.
 

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There's a lot to be said for the phrase..."Jack of all Trades - Master of None".
It depends on whether you're truly interested in mastering one instrument as your primary instrument, or if you're happy just being an average player on a lot of different instruments. Mastering an instrument takes a lot of time and effort dedicated specifically to practicing that instrument. I don't know many high school students who have enough time in their schedule to devote sufficient time to mastering one instrument while also devoting much time to a variety of other instruments. It's just a matter of what your priorities are. There's nothing wrong with being an average player on a lot of instruments if that's what makes you happy. Personally, I think High School is the best time to focus on mastering your primary instrument...(if you ever have any intention of doing that). If not...just do what makes you happy. That's what music is all about.
 

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If it helps, I might be in the same boat. I play lead alto in the local conservatory, tenor in concert band, bari sax half the year in jazz, the school wants me on soprano for our next show, guitar was my first instrument, grabbed a bass about two years ago am "gig ready" if you will, learned clarinet and am "competent", and began piano lessons this summer and can keep a groove on the drums.

-Bubba-
 

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This year I tried a bunch of instruments. Clarinet, trombone, and trumpet. I’m a primary sax guy and liked clarinet but brass wasn’t my thing. I feel like you could double a lot of instruments if they were all in the same section.
Like the trumpet section???
 

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I would play every instrument you can get your hands on through the school while you have the opportunity. Great exposure and sure beats having to buy them as an adult!

The chances of any of us ever mastering this or any other instrument at a world class level are vanishingly small, so enjoy what you have the opportunity to enjoy while its available to you. With the perspective of a middle aged guy, that opportunity will be gone in the blink of an eye!
 

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If I was curious about another instrument, I’d give it a try. Especially if I was young and had access. Maybe your current situation is such that it is best to focus on designated one or two, but I definitely would take advantage of experiencing what I could, even if I had to put off more commitment/investment until down the road.
 

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Did someone say Kalimba?
I give Kalimbas to some friends and family's newborns as gifts.
Pic of Kalimba with baby Fox playing the high notes, on a floating keyboard, to annoy Foxhounds.
Wood burn with a splash of color.
His Mom is a DVM.
Sheet music of Funny Valentina, I tuned her Kalimba in three flats, with the A, for Funny Valentine, and added an F# and G on both sides, highest notes, for Adagios in G minor.
She's from an ancient Italian family.
Those kids are first cousins.
Italian/Cuban and Yank/Cuban.
They have younger brothers and sisters.
We are called.... G r i n g o Grandpa and Grandma as we are not yet fluent in Spanish and Italian.
The kids will get our cello from Cremona and a ShoBud PSG plus woodwinds, guitars etc etc.
A nice set of steel drums is being researched now.

Kids with a Ferrari for a brain need elders to teach them all how to drive.... and if they never need corrective lenes......
maybe Naval Aviators. ;)


The first Kalimba I ever bought was for a buddy's first born, in the early '70s, and he is a senior Agent with the FBI now.

Our grandkids also received 22LR Winchesters and Smiths for birth gifts. 🥳


Jigsaw puzzle Hand Textile Finger Creative arts

Font Pattern Slope Publication Art
 

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As long as one practices each instrument diligently and learns proper technique, playing several instruments is a good thing. Though oboe, saxophone, and flute have the same basic fingerings, oboe requires a different technique.

In high school, I played bari, tenor, and alto sax, as well as oboe and clarinet. When I tried to transition to flute, I realized that there's a HUGE difference in technique required to play it and sound like a flautist and not a saxophonist who thinks he can play flute.

To the young player, I say that getting experience in as many instruments as possible is a good thing. It doesn't hurt to add piano to the list . An understanding of chords and progressions will help every serious musician immeasurably in his career.
 

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It doesn't hurt to add piano to the list . An understanding of chords and progressions will help every serious musician immeasurably in his career.
Really good suggestion. Any number of notable musicians have displayed significant progression after putting their time into it.
 
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