Advanced search

Instrument with the most opportunities

(34 Posts)
BabyOrSanta Sat 24-Feb-18 10:47:37

I was a "late bloomer" only getting my first clarinet when I was 13 or so. I really liked the way it opened up opportunities such as playing in the school orchestra and wind band.
I'm just wondering which instrument has the most... opportunity(? Not the right word maybe) for socialisation and joining in groups?

My thoughts:
Violin - string groups and orchestras but there are quite a few violinists around so may be harder to get into a "better" orchestra... but loads of people don't have the talent to play very well so if you do, you'll go far (also helps with learning pitches etc)
Flute - wind groups, orchestras but lots of flautists around. May help if you have a piccolo too although everyone sitting near you will hate you
Clarinet - same as flute but less call for Eflat clarinets (in place of piccolo)
Bassoon - wind groups, orchestras and a little played instrument. Expensive even for a starter instrument and it's a big instrument (only met a handful of bassoonists so not sure?)

Which instrument do you think has the most social opportunity?
Obviously YMMV with local area, talent, hard work etc

SE13Mummy Sat 24-Feb-18 10:53:32

Trombone! It's currently an endangered species instrument so there's funding around for lessons if you look in the right places. It's an instrument that features in lots of different ensembles; classical orchestras, jazz bands, brass bands etc. and because players are in short supply, there will be lots of opportunities to play. Same for double bass but that's not so portable...

gillybeanz Sat 24-Feb-18 11:00:38

Viola, as most string players opt for violin.
Saxophone is quite easy to start but obviously needs more work to progress.
Oboe and Bassoon, rarer but harder to get into orchestras as they will need 3 in the section at most.

Lucked Sat 24-Feb-18 11:09:56

I have been considering this, neither me irDH play an instrument.

I was considering trumpet and presume (but don’t actuallt know) that they could transition to a coronet if they wanted to play in a brass band and there are lots of trumpets in larger jazz groups too.

BabyOrSanta Sat 24-Feb-18 11:19:45

Trumpets always have a calling around the start of November too! (I remember a friend going to 3 different primary schools to play for their minute's silence)

Good point about the oboe and bassoon. Around here most amateur orchestras are lucky if they get one and all tuning is done by the piano/each section chooses one instrument and they all tune to that

jellycat Sat 24-Feb-18 11:21:23

I would say strings because orchestras need many more of them than they need of woodwind etc. IMO it’s much easier to get into an orchestra as a string player (I played violin and was in demand even though I was hardly a virtuoso).

That’s only if you are specifically wanting to play in an orchestra though; there are plenty of wind/brass bands around and of course if you play a woodwind or brass instrument that is also a typical orchestral one then you could get to play in a band and an orchestra.

Lucked Sat 24-Feb-18 11:22:50

And I meant cornet. I know so little about music and instruments!

nNina22 Sat 24-Feb-18 11:26:36

If you really want an almost guaranteed membership of an orchestra, play the double bass, although it isn't easy to transport

BabyOrSanta Sat 24-Feb-18 11:29:37

Interesting fact I learnt at school - a double bass fits in a Nissan X-trail.
That does seem to have quite a few opportunities. Orchestra, string group, maybe jazz stuff?

gillybeanz Sat 24-Feb-18 14:00:31

A double bass would need a trailer, even very few orchestras use a full double bass,they're massive.
There are lots of different sizes though and most dc start on 1/16th.

SE13Mummy Sat 24-Feb-18 17:48:39

DD1 has started learning double bass recently and is lucky enough to just have to take her bow with her as anywhere she plays has an instrument she can use. Meanwhile, her instrument (3/4 size) takes up a significant amount of space in our 'dining room'. Her trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn take up considerably less space.

Malbecfan Sat 24-Feb-18 17:50:15

@gillybeanz no it doesn't! A double bass fits in most vehicles as long as you don't need to take much else in it. DH can fit himself, his bass, stool, DD, her full-size cello and music stands into an old style Ford Ka.

My bass is on a trolley (becomes the stool) so it is more difficult to accommodate. It goes into my VW Touran with no difficulty and I can take 3 other people, the bass, the cello, violin and sax with ease.

To answer the OP's question, when the DDs were very young, we encouraged them towards strings because they come in small sizes and as others have said, orchestras need plenty of them. The only instruments I said no to were flute and clarinet because they are so common and only 3 of each needed in an orchestra. DD1 chose cello and DD2 chose violin. Both started at 4 and are still playing now as late teens. Both have played in junior and youth orchestras and more recently in adult groups. DD1 has earned money playing in quartets at weddings.

DD1 also plays alto and tenor sax. She has played them in the adult orchestra her father plays in (e.g in a Vaughan Williams Symphony, can't remember which). However, she loved playing them in jazz bands at school and in shows at school. She has deputised for her sax teacher in shows and earned money that way too.

I would let any child listen to and if possible see people playing different instruments. We were lucky in that we both played in amateur orchestras and would take the DDs along from being babies so they always knew what instruments looked at sounded like. I would then think about musical transferable skills; it is not too difficult to go from one bowed string instrument to another, so if like me, your child started on violin and migrated down the pitch-range, you haven't wasted your time or money.

TheNoseyProject Sat 24-Feb-18 17:52:57

Strings or brass. It’s so hard to find any group with a woodwind opening.

gillybeanz Sat 24-Feb-18 23:21:45


A good friend, bass player told me it was rare for the full size orchestral double bass to be used and you certainly couldn't fit it in a normal car.
He must have been kidding me grin

Aftershock15 Mon 26-Feb-18 14:30:26

Percussion is another option. Learn kit, timpani and snare plus tuned and you will be in demand with all sorts of groups.

Stringmealong Mon 26-Feb-18 19:21:36

Honest answer? It depends where you live! I was in demand as a viola player in South East London, moved to the East Midlands & suddenly found I couldn't get a seat in most orchestras & the one that let me in I was player number 17 in the section!!! It all depends on the local teachers - a popular teacher will have a glut of pupils of their instrument in an area so talk to local orchestras before you decide what to try. Brass bands will often loan instruments for free as will music services (if you still have one- look up your local music hub to find out).

drummersmum Thu 01-Mar-18 19:04:01

DS is a percussionist and I believe he is one of the students in most ensembles in school and jd: classical orchestra, concert band, jazz combo, big band, latin band, school musicals, funk band, percussion ensemble and has played flamenco cajon in the past.

nNina22 Thu 01-Mar-18 20:34:52

Percussion is great if you have no neighbours

WeAreGerbil Thu 01-Mar-18 20:44:04

I play the oboe. I love it and it's much easier to get into an orchestra than with a flute or clarinet, but it's not great for anything other than an orchestra (you wouldn't really play it in a pub or jazz etc.)

Violin is quite versatile and as someone else said you need quite a few in an orchestra - though not the same opportunity to shine as with the higher woodwind or brass.

drummersmum Thu 01-Mar-18 22:19:21

Not all children are drawn to all instruments. There is an affinity and sometimes, whatever the parent wants, it just happens. We have neighbours both sides but my son was a compulsive percussionist since he was a toddler and it would've been like trying to stop a tidal wave. He's an accomplished pianist but his heart beats to the beat. Whenever I see parents telling their children which intrument they ought to play I feel sad for the children. It's like putting them in front of a palette of paints and telling them they can only use red.

StickStickStickStick Thu 01-Mar-18 22:24:43

I think a lot depends on what suits your child too. What they learn at 7 might not be what they do at secondary/orchestra but gets them used to music and playing.

We were the opposite of malbecfan! Small house and we encouraged anything but strings as neither of us like the sound as they're learning....

Paulweller11 Thu 01-Mar-18 23:35:36

Drummersmum- I really like your paint analogy- so true!
Let the child choose- both mine started out on piano- they both hated it- they chose violin and drums themselves and love their choices (they both do piano too though- drummer actually really likes piano now though- although a percussionist at heart).

Windyone Thu 01-Mar-18 23:42:23

Another vote here for viola. You just need to be patient in the early days - lots of unpleasant sounds! Eventually lots of opportunities for quartets, chamber music, orchestras.

CruCru Wed 14-Mar-18 20:15:33

I've been told that harpists are very in demand (in orchestras and at weddings). However, a good, full size harp is incredibly expensive and massive. Also, the harpist has to bring their harp to wherever they are playing a full hour before everyone else because the harp will need retuning whenever it is moved (a bit like a piano).

7yearcycle Wed 14-Mar-18 20:23:50

Cello is a good instrument. Not so widely played as the violin so more in demand. Can be carried around on your back (not too bad when you get used to it) and fits in most cars. Much easier to listen too in the early learning stages as it doesn't screech like a violin. My son's senior school has more violinists than they know what to do with and a shortage of cellists.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: