PERFORMING ARTS: What is a brass instrument?

BRASS instruments have been around for a long time and some of the earliest examples were straight trumpets made of wood, bronze and silver and not made from brass at all.

Today a brass instrument is defined as an 'aerophone', which means it is an instrument where the musician must blow air into the instrument. The musician produces the tone by buzzing the lips into what is generally a cup-shaped mouthpiece and creates a vibrating column of air that vibrates at different frequencies based on the length of the tube of the instrument. Different musical notes can be achieved by altering the length of the tubing through the use of valves or a slide. This family of instruments began to evolve during the Renaissance to resemble the modern instruments in use today.

Performers, composers, and instrument designers continue to innovate brass music today. New instrument designs come out each year, new works are written for brass instruments, and many performers continue to stretch the boundaries of what is considered playable on the brass instruments.

With 2016 well and truly under way, our many instrumental ensembles at the Clarence Valley Conservatorium have been very busy rehearsing and learning new repertoire for the year ahead.

In the past few weeks, under the tuition of Garrett Salter, a very young but very talented Brass ensemble has been formed and is definitely something to watch out for. Trumpet and Trombone students from our schools program have come together to learn classical brass ensemble repertoire as well as repertoire for the modern age brass ensemble. From Van Beethoven to Van Halen, the Nutcracker Suite to Sweet Caroline, these kids have got it sorted!

The brass ensemble is open to Trumpet and Trombone students with at least 2-3 years playing experience and new members are always welcome. This new ensemble will have many opportunities to perform both at the Conservatorium as well as community events throughout the year. Keep an eye out for when and where you can hear this ensemble play.

All school band students will have the opportunity next Term on Tuesday, April 26 (pupil free day for public schools) to participate in a combined schools band workshop, Boom Bang Boogie, to be held at the Conservatorium.

Students will come together to form a large concert band, learn a few new pieces of music and perform in a short concert for parents at the conclusion of the day. Throughout the day students will learn new techniques and skills to improve their playing both individually as well as in a group. The workshop is open to students learning woodwind, brass or percussion in years 3-8 with two or more years playing experience.



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