Step Up Series, Part III: When Do I Step Up?
It is fairly simple to determine when it is time for a student to advance to a step up instrument. Many students will step up after they have played their instrument 3-4 years. This amount of time allows the musician to develop a steady embouchure and technique as well as have a good grasp on how to appropriately handle and care for the instrument.
Also, most musicians know by this point if they are planning to pursue music for the long term or not. Investing in a step up instrument is a great choice if the musician is planning to continue playing in the future.
Am I constantly struggling with intonation (especially being sharp all the time)?
Am I holding back my dynamic expression because the notes crack or spread?
Am I doing a great job caring for and maintaining my current instrument?
Has my music instructor talked to me about getting a step up instrument?
Am I auditioning for competitive groups such as all-state, all-district, or all-county?
Am I participating in honor bands/orchestras and clinics?
Am I participating in judged performances (eg. Solos and ensembles, Band Festivals)?
Am I sitting towards the top of my section?
Am I going to continue playing all through high school?
Am I considering a college major or minor in music?
If you answered yes to four or more of the above questions, it is time for you to start considering a step up instrument if you haven’t already. Talk to your music instructor to see if this is the right time for you and to see what suggestions they may have for you.
Also, stay tuned for the “Step Up Series, Part IV: How to choose a step up.”