Taylor explains the benefits of having a step-up instrument and gives us a demonstration.
If your student has been playing for a year or more, and is showing the signs of being a successful musician on their chosen instrument, the chances are you are going to have a conversation about a "step-up instrument" at some point. This will probably lead to questions like: Didn't N-Tune Music and Sound say this was a great instrument? What's wrong with the instrument your student has? We understand, and maybe this page can offer you a few answers!
When N-Tune Music and Sound, or your student's teacher uses the term "step-up", we could also use the terms "advanced" or "pro-line" instruments. Simply put, the term is used to describe an intermediate or professional model instrument. Flutes, clarinets, saxophones, cornets/trumpets, and trombones are all band instruments that it is common to move to an advanced instrument in your student's musical journey. In orchestra, violins and violas are very common to see students move to an advanced instrument, and N-Tune Music and Sound can help with an advanced cello or double bass, as well.
What's wrong with the instrument your student is playing now?
If your student takes proper care of their instrument, chances are there isn't anything wrong with the instrument at all! Let's change the focus from is there anything wrong to what does my student need to be more successful?
If you paid for or are renting a beginner instrument for your student from N-Tune Music and Sound, you have the instrument that your student's teacher felt was right for them to have a successful experience in band or orchestra! There is nothing wrong with the instrument. However, if your student continues to improve and show progress, there will come a time that a beginner instrument will limit their potential. The real possibility exists that your student will outgrow a beginner instrument.
If your student wants to be a competitive player, whether that is first chair in their performing group, auditioning for all-city/all-region, or solo and ensemble, they will need to consider an advanced instrument. The truth is, no matter how talented or hard your student works at being great, if they run up against a student who worked just as hard and has talent, as well, chances are the better instrument will win.
Okay, when should I expect my student to need a step up instrument?
That question is a little difficult to answer with a broad brush, it depends on your student and where they are in the musical journey. What many parents are sometimes surprised to hear, however, is that it isn't uncommon to be ready for an advanced instrument as they near the end of their first year. N-Tune Music and Sound recognizes this, and even offers 12-months of your rent toward the purchase of an advanced or pro-line instrument. There are some specifics to that deal, but we'd love to explain it further.
Talk to your student. What chair are they? What chair do they want to be? Are they going to be auditioning and competing?
So, what makes an advanced instrument or pro-line instrument better?
It's a fair question. It really depends on each instrument, but in general an advanced or pro-line instrument is going to feature key work, tubing or materials (metals/wood) that provide a better sound or ease of playing for your student's specific instrument. Often an advanced instrument is designed to make the difficult registers of each instrument easier to play.