Step Up Series, Part II: Why Should I Step Up?
At some point in their musical journey, every musician outgrows their student instrument. It becomes a constant hassle to deal with the nuances of a student instrument once your playing technique and musicianship is more developed.
Student instruments are designed to accommodate for weaker air flow, embouchure, and musculature that are native to beginning students (who ever thought you could or would even want to build up your cheek muscles?!). Once musicians develop better playing technique, the allowances that student instruments gave them in the beginning become the problems they struggle with as they advance.
When a musician advances to a step up instrument you will see exponentially increased improvement because they are no longer struggling with the issues that were holding them back on their student instrument. Now that they are playing an intermediate or professional instrument, the musician can focus on developing better and better technique instead of compensating for an instrument that is no longer suited to their playing abilities.
Investing in a step up instrument also creates a buzz of excitement. The musician is typically so excited about their step up instrument that they cannot wait to practice. They will show greater commitment and responsibility as they care for and practice their instrument more. The summer I received my step up clarinet as a birthday present I hardly put it down!
So far we’ve figured out what a step up instrument is and why it’s a good thing to look into, but there is still more to learn. Next week will be the big topic of “when” to step up. It’s different for everyone, but I’ve got some good guidelines in store that will help you to determine the best time for you.