Instruments

 

Piano

 

There is something completely mesmerizing about having eighty-eight smooth, black and white keys right under your fingertips.  The possibilities of note, articulation, tone, and style combinations are endless.  When you play the piano, you have an entire orchestra at your disposal and can play any genre with ease including classical, jazz, pop, blues, and sacred.  The piano became the household instrument of choice in the 1800s - a status symbol near and dear to the newly developing middle class.  It's popularity has continued to the present day, at least in part due to its versatility as a solo, chamber, and orchestral instrument and the fact that learning to play the piano is challenging but also tremendously fun.

Violin

 

The violin has one of the loveliest soprano "voices" of the symphony orchestra. In fact, it's sound and that of its siblings, the viola and the cello, most closely resemble the human voice in terms of both waveform pattern and sound. In addition to having a glorious voice that can sing beautiful lyric pasages and pieces, the violin is a nimble executant that can perform intricate, rapid passage work that's beyond the capabilities of even the finest coloratura soprano. The modern violin, which reached its present design in Italy in the early 1700s, has a long and complex history dating back to the Middle East and about 2500 B.C. Although challenging to play (equipped neither with keys nor frets, plus two totally dissimilar functions of the right and left hands), the violin becomes wonderfully rewarding to play once the initial difficult period is past. Studies have shown that, of all the instruments, the violin, along with the piano, is the instrument that most people continue playing throughout their lives, long after their student days are over.

Harp

 

Harp is a beautiful instrument aesthetically with its graceful curves and elegant lines, and the sounds it can produce are equally fascinating.  Unlike most instruments, nothing separates the harpist's fingers from the source of the sound.  There are no keys, valves, or bows - just fingers touching strings, controlling the sound directly.  The harp is a technically challenging instrument requiring great muscular strength and coordination, but the benefits reaped from concentrated practice far outweigh the difficulties experienced along the way.  Don't be fooled by the "angelic" appearance of the harp - it can sound peaceful and blissful but is also capable of sounding dark, brooding, cacophonous, and energetic. 

Flute

 

The flute is one of the oldest instruments in the woodwind family and has changed in construction and tone over the centuries.  The modern flute is made of gold, silver, or platinum and is played by blowing air across the embouchure hole.  The pitch is altered by opening and closing the holes running the length of the instrument with the fingers.  Flutes often carry the melody in orchestral and chamber repertoire and have a plethora of solo repertoire at their disposal.  The pure, clear tone of the flute is perfectly suited for long, legato phrases, but it is equally at home playing notes that sound feisty and energetic.

Trumpet

 

The trumpet dates from around 1500 BC and has played a prominent role in military, religious, and civic purposes throughout its long history.  There are many types of trumpet, but the most common in the western world is the Bb trumpet.  Sound is produced when the player blows air through closed lips, creating vibrations in the air inside the trumpet.  Three piston valves change the length of the tubing, altering the instrument's pitch.  The trumpet can sound both bright and brassy or smooth and mellow.  Either way, the effect is completely exhilarating and exciting to hear!

Voice

 

In a way, the human voice is the ideal sound every other instrument seeks to imitate, and it is definitely the oldest source of music!  Every person is gifted with a unique voice - no two are just alike - but with training, you can learn proper breath control, how to project your voice, precise articulation, pitch and intonation, and so much more.  Although all vocalists begin with similar training and music basics, there are many vocal styles in which you can specialize such as pop, Broadway, opera, folk, and jazz.  

Guitar

 

Guitars may have anywhere from four to eighteen strings and may be either acoustic or electric, but they all share a few things in common.  They are played by plucking or strumming strings with the right hand while the left hand presses against the strings to alter pitch (this is known as fretting).  Guitars are popular instruments in just about every musical genre including bluegrass, jazz, flamenco, soul, classical, and country and are heard for such disimilar events as worship services, rock concerts, and campfire meetings.

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