Sousaphone Case

When to playing piccolo?

hi i am a High school marching band student, i am a freshman and i just joined band, i play flute and i have 3 years of experiance and i was considering playing the piccolo in my junior and senior years but i don't really know much about it

can someone help me?

Give it a shot! I started playing picc my freshman year after three years on flute and had no problems adjusting.

It takes a bit of getting used to--your embouchure will feel very small and pinched for a while, and the keys are tiny and feel...more streamlined. It also takes a lot more air--did you think there was an instrument out there that needed more air than the flute?! And you'll find at first that your mouth tires faster while playing picc. You know how the brass people are always talking about their "chops"? Well, picc players have chops, too. (I'm not sure that flutists really do.) Start at home at first and build your stamina slowly so that you can do a whole hour or three or however long your practices are before you play at school. And yes, tuning can be a challenge. But--you learn.

However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Picc is FABULOUS for marching--it's lovely to have such a lightweight instrument to carry around. We used to put ours in our back pockets! (I wouldn't recommend that, though--it bends the keys.) Contrary to what the above poster says, piccs are much easier to hear because they are higher-pitched and the sound travels better. ("Shrill and shrieky," I believe the other band members call it...but they're just jealous because they have to tote around sousaphone cases for four months of every year....)

Also, being able to play two instruments gives you more options come concert season. Picc nearly always has its own part, and picc players often sit second chair first part whether they have earned it in auditions or not. (Sneaky, huh?) My director let me switch back to flute whenever I got tired of being the shrieky one in the front row.

Finally, the very best reason to become a piccolo player: The Stars and Stripes Forever, baby!

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