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Discussion Starter #1
My 9 year old 4th grader soon to be 10 years old plays viola(1 year), flute(1 year),piano(2 years),sax(alto/soprano 4 years{since kindergarden). My sister in-law argues it is too many instruments. I defend my daughter on the basis thaT you do not put a viola or piano in your mouth(embouchure) and flute is similar(fingering) to sax and again you do not put it your mouth(so it should not effect her main instrument sax). Now my daughter wants to play the french horn. She would get this for free from the school. I flat out refused. I know the band director quite well as she is my daughter'sa flute teacher. Band director says she would be good at french horn cause she has a good ear. She played sax in summer band in 2nd grade and flute in 3rd grade. This is her 1st year in the school band(she is playing alto for xmas concert-flute for spring concert). They would not let her play in school band from grades 1 through 3 cause of her age. She did sit in on the sax quartet for xmas concert last year{her sis played tenor and I sat in on bari}.I feel woodwinds/brass should not be mixed in elementary school due to potential embouchure problems. She plays sax quite well and I would not want to ruin her sax playing. I invested a good deal of money into her sax playing(a Yani A-901 and a SC-991). She plays quite well w/ the sax trio we have.(she plays alto{sometimes sop},her older sis tenor and myself baritone).I would appreciate some feedback on this from the forum. Any examples of brass and woodwind players at this level or is it just a plain BAD IDEA!!!!
 

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+1 for BAD IDEA.

The child needs to learn to focus. Providing all these various and competing outlets is teaching a bad lesson.

"Hi, my name is George and I play too many instruments."
 

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I was told not to mix brass and woodwind until I was in my 20's by many doublers here. Once you have your main embouchures sorted out, then you can start mixing ww and Brass. Let your daughter wait until she is older before she starts down this route, it will save her a lot of anxiety, potential pain from the mouth areas and even extra dentistry work. I wouldn't advise the doubling of brass and woodwind till she is much, much older!
 

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I don't think it is unusual for a very musically oriented child to be interested in many different instruments. But I do agree that their will come a time when everybody has to specialize in one instrument or at least one group of instruments. At that point, the brass vs. woodwind chops thing may become more important. But our high school's All-State senior tenor sax player also plays a mean tuba during marching season.

Also, there is the perceived value aspect. If you get a child every horn they want, they may not get a proper appreciation of what they have been given already. I bought my thirteen year-old son a professional tenor sax because he worked so hard to get to play it in band. And he has taken good care of it. But I still made him spend his own lawn-mowing money when he wanted to take up the base guitar. He takes good care of that too. So I guess he understands the value.

If your daughter plays, appreciates and takes care of her instruments, I don't see the problem. Who knows? You may have a real child prodigy on your hands. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Swampcabbage said:
Friends don;t let friends play brass. Only a brasshole would let you play brass.
ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!
 

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My thoughts, as an experienced elementary/middle school band teacher:

I find it hard to believe that a six-year old girl could be able to hold and finger a soprano or alto saxophone correctly, much less play them properly, unless she is big for her age. The general rule is that kids begin band instruments in fourth grade, mainly because they are physically incapable of holding and blowing into the instruments prior to that.

That said, I don't know her and you do, and it sounds like you have one talented youngster on your hands.

While I don't generally subscribe to the notion that mixing woodwind/brass embouchures is a bad idea, I do think it could present problems for a young person. I think your instinct is a good one. Let her lips get used to the woodwinds and when she's in junior high perhaps she can learn brass.

Personally, I would never let a child this young dabble in so many instruments on a full-time basis. She should have one main instrument and practice it almost all the time. It's okay, if she's naturally talented and desirous (sounds like she is), to let her experiment with other horns. But every minute she spends playing the flute, viola, piano and whatnot is time she's taking away from the sax. And now to add French horn to the mix? What's the point?

It's a matter of practice time. I feel she is on a path to becoming quite mediocre on a lot of instruments and not excellent on any.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
jaynse, She did inded play soprano at age 6. A conn 94m. I held the bell(straight sax). I then,a year later,got a Yani SC-991(curved sop) so we could do duets no holding the bell. When she played alto at age 7 only a Yanagisawa wouild fit her hands. I said NO to the french horn. I got myself a flute instead since for 30yrs I only played sax. She now relishes helping Dad on flute.
 

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sycc said:
When she played alto at age 7 only a Yanagisawa wouild fit her hands.

Hmm--interesting that one brand of alto would be manageable for her and not others. Was it because of the key placement?
 

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Comparing my Yani, to that of my 23, the key placement seems closer together. Which could be a key reason. I have to agree that this is way to many horns. I would say.
Ask her to pick the horns that she likes the most, her top two or three. I would insist of
Paino
Sax
and X.
She just plays too many horns at that age. I would say sell the ones that won't help her in the future. And I would not introuduce new horns until maybe high school, or late middle school.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
jaysne said:
Hmm--interesting that one brand of alto would be manageable for her and not others. Was it because of the key placement?
Yes,Keilwerth too spread,Cannonball(her sister's sax) she hit the palm keys(yani palms closer to body of sax). So it was key spread and palm key issues(mostly palm). We didn't try a whole lot of saxes but the yani worked best.
 

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I've known kids play both brass and woodwind - and to do it well but in this case Sax, Flute, Viola (!!!) and piano sounds like a plateful.
 

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Take this with a grain of salt, but I think I'd be taking this girl to musical events frequently, like operas, musicals, symphony, band in the park, and so on. Then, I'd hope there were opportunities for her to meet and talk with the musicians and get a better feel for the world of music and its promoters.

Maybe a band camp when the girl was ready.

A possible way to resolve her want to learn every instrument is to let her chose one to play for the duration of summer vacation. This next summer, it might be French horn....the summer after, maybe oboe or French horn again....

I think your daughter's interest in music is wonderful.

Mary Jo
 

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I hope this helps.

I am a freshman music ed major- saxophone primary. In high school i ended up playing trumpet, bass trombone, tuba, and some flute. I NEVER had problems with emb. issues b/n the horns, in fact, i felt like the variety of perspectives and instruction helps/ed to teach me valuable lessons, epecially as a music teacher. Currently a sophmore here at UofM is both a Sax and Violin major, in addition to his music ed curriculum, and is does quite well at both.

I think the most important part to my doubling is that I was serious about one instrument the whole time and had goals in mind the whole time. If she is so apt at picking up instruments, I would find a way to challenge her. If she enjoys teaching you flute, maybe try challenging her to see to see who can make the most progress on one instrument (your being flute). Also, I don;t know how much exposure she has to seeing great musicians, but I would see that as essential to choosing a path- where is she going?

Just some ideas but I hope they help.
 

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IMO, Concentrate on ONE instrument for at LEAST two years! Learn the basics, and go from there! It's hard enough to learn one instrument _ properly_, hardly a bunch of them. Yeah, you can make a sound on several instruments, but I would try to master one. Adding piccolo after two years of flute can be very difficult. How would a kid that age have enough time to practice even ONE instrument, properly? Adult doublers have a VERY hard time keeping up with several woodwinds - believe me, I've been at it for decades!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We axed the french horn idea. She played flute(flute sextet) and alto saxBand and sax trio) for the xmas concert. She played viola in the orchestra as well for the xmas concert. She has seen Tower of Power,Bob Mintzer,Victor Wooten,Lenny Pickett and Dave Brubeck in concert.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
For xmas this year we are using the SAT format w/ her on the curved soprano. We have various playing engahgements for xmas. Last year we did AAT stuff for xmas. The rest of the year we use ATB(w/me hopefully doubling on nino for some tunes{I'm the B part of the equation})w/ her on alto and her sis on tenor.
 

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I also agree with the fact that she already has 4 instruments to practice, further more flute and brasswind embouchure seams incompatible because for flute you have to blow straight without buzzing where as for the brasswind she will have to buzz thus the muscle have to learn one way or the other.

I personally learned only sax during 10 years, I am now happy to have this knowledge and great habits in sax that allows me to learn and play other instruments (brasswinds) without any impact on the sax.

hope this help and sorry for my english!
 

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Some kids play multiple sports until they settle on one or two. Why not have a musically inclined child do the same?
 
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