View Poll Results: What Instrument (not including the Recorder) did you start your musical career with?

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  • Trumpet or a variation (Including Cornet)

    74 32.17%
  • French Horn/ Mellophone

    6 2.61%
  • Trombone (including Bass, and Tenor ones)

    26 11.30%
  • Baritone/Euphonium

    72 31.30%
  • Sousaphone/Tuba

    7 3.04%
  • Anyother Brass instrument

    2 0.87%
  • Flute or a variation (Including Piccolo)

    7 3.04%
  • Oboe or a variation (including Bassoon)

    0 0%
  • Clarinet or a variation (including basset horn)

    12 5.22%
  • Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone (Bari) Saxophones

    6 2.61%
  • Anyother Woodwind instruments

    0 0%
  • Percussion instruments

    4 1.74%
  • String Instruments (including guitar and the orchestral strings)

    14 6.09%
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Thread: What instrument did you start your musical career on?

  1. What instrument did you start your musical career on?

    I started (one year) on Eb alto horn in the 5th grade in South Norfolk, VA. Switched to sousaphone the next year. Added the baritone in the 7th grade and alternated between sousaphone for marching and baritone for concert band the rest of school. Added the trombone in the 11th grade so I could play in the dance band. I really was a band geek.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Northern California

    What instrument did you start your musical career on?

    Started on trumpet in 4th grade. By 6th grade I was playing the cornet. I was very good on the instrument even though I never practiced (yeah, right).

    When me and the other 15 t-pet/cornets showed up for middle school band, and the director realized that he no low brass, he figured out his best 7 or 8 t-pet players and told the rest of us slackers that we had to switch to trombone, tuba or baritone, or take home economics.

    Since I was ambitiously lazy, when I found out that I did not have to learn slide positions or another clef, I volunteered for baritone (the treble clef variety).

    Little did I realize I had selected the best instrument to play at that time and that it was life-changing choice. If I had known what joy I would have playing the baritone/euphonium, I would started with the instrument in the first place. Oh, and practiced more.


    John Gibson

    Yamaha YEP-642 - G&W Kadja MPC
    Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign Baritone - G&W MPC
    Yamaha YEP-321
    King Bell Front Baritone

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Valley City, North Dakota

    What instrument did you start your musical career on?

    I started on a small bore euphonium (front bell, 3-valve) in 8th grade. Moved to a upright bell, larger-bore euphonium in 9th grade. Added trombone and tuba in 11th grade.

    Was a euphonium performance major in college; playing euphonium in a wind ensemble, tuba in marching band, and trombone in pep band. Essentially, I drank myself out of college in less than a year...

    Joined the Air Force and played baritone bugle in basic training and in tech school (Kessler AFB, MS).

    Didn't play again until just recently when I picked up a new horn (Schiller Elite). After a 20+ year break, I am ramping up to play in a Shriner concert band.

    Larry Herzog Jr.
    Schiller Elite (3+1 compensating) euphonium (nickel-plated)
    Denis Wick SM4U mouthpiece (gold-plated)

    Twitter: iMav
    Facebook: larry.herzog
    Founder of

  4. #24
    6th grade for a couple months: Alto Sax
    6th grade for the remainder of the year: Baritone Horn (because there wasn't enough people in low brass)
    9th grade: small bore euphonium and tenor trombone. Also learned upright bass and electric bass for jazz bands.
    I also goofed around on learning a few songs on the electric organ and piano (to help me arrange some songs I liked).
    1st year undergrad: learned recorder (music theory class) and flute (was into a girl who played flute and wanted to impress her).

    Then I dropped all music in 1997.

    Fast forward to July 2012. I bought an electric bass because I missed music so much, and tried to play again. I realized that I am very terrible at bass.
    My friend told me about euphonium mutes, and the silent brass system in August 2012.
    By Oct 2012, I located a used euphonium, and bought it. Got the bug.
    Dec 2012. Sold my used horn. Bought my first "big boys" horn. Dug out my old bach baritone/euphonium, got it refurbed, and sent it to my buddy who hasn't played in years.

    Jan. 2013 - b!tching and whining about my poor range (high Bb cap); searching for a magic mouthpiece, and loving every minute of playing music again!
    Last edited by Anson; 01-22-2013 at 04:05 PM.
    My horn: Yamaha 642II Neo. My mouthpieces: Yamaha 51D, Yamaha 53SH, Denis Wick SM4X Ultra, Doug Elliot 104 J8

  5. #25
    You left out accordion (when I was 8 years old).

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    Well, since you said "not recorder", I can say "Tonette" (technically not a recorder, though recorder-like).

    When I was in elementary school, NY State had a program to introduce all students to instrumental music in the fourth grade. I only recently discovered (recalling this and looking into it), that this was part of a NATIONAL program in which instruments (mostly Tonettes) were bought by parents for the students, and classes played out of little booklets (like marching band books) as an "ensemble of the whole". I learned to read treble clef and to play the damned thing pretty well (range was maybe two octaves?). I think you can actually buy these things on Ebay if you keep your eyes peeled for them. A primary attribute of the Tonette, I believe, was that it was virtually indestructable. You could maybe melt one with a torch. Otherwise, it was really hard to damage. I think it cost around a buck.

    Near the end of fifth grade we each got to talk with the "real" instrumental music teacher about joining band in the sixth grade. We got to express our preference for an instrument. I wanted to play trombone (my mother's old instrument and her first choice), but he said that my arm wasn't long enough to reach 7th position. This was nonsense, and I knew it at the time (being one of the tallest kids in class), but maybe he already had too many trombone players (can you really have too many?). I recall that the band/orchestra instructor was a violinist and both looked and acted more than bit like Napoleon. So I ended up with saxophone (my father's first choice). I stuck with that for about fifteen years, moved to double on flute along the way, and then in my mid-forties decided to finally do low brass. I don't regret it the switch to brass a bit. I do regret the fifteen years with the saxophone (but not the flute).
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  7. #27
    I chose to play the tuba in 7th grade but in our district you play baritone horn (reading tuba music) the first year then switch over to the larger instrument the second year. I think its a good strategy and I was able to quickly acclimate.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    I started on the recorder when I was 7. After a year on that we got to choose which brass instrument or saxophone we wanted to play (Dutch fanfare band). When i got home from school a few days later I saw a instrument case in the hall and asked my father what was in it. It was a baritone. After playing for rougly four to five years on it i was given a 3 valve euph bsy my new second band (because we quit with the band the baritone was from). after 2 years on that i was given a 4 valve euph and since last december i play on my own 4 valve compensating euph. Still miss that baritone though...

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    NYC metro area
    Gary referred to the NY program to start students on Tonette. That was my first instrument, in 2nd grade. My school let 4th graders rent instruments and take music lessons from the band director. I intended to select trombone, because I liked the slide, but mistakenly said trumpet when they asked me what I wanted. After a few months, the teacher decided that with lips as big as mine I'd be a good candidate for baritone horn, and I became the school's sole baritone horn player. I had an affinity for the instrument, and was featured as a soloist in the elementary school concerts.

    Then I discovered that baritone horn could read treble clef and bass clef, and they were in different keys! This piqued my interest in music theory, and I started doing arrangements for my fellow musicians. Spurred by my interest in music theory, I wound up beginning piano in 6th grade.

    By age 15, I played my first professional gig on organ in a rock band, and I continued playing professionally for the next 15 years.

    So should I choose trumpet or baritone horn for my first instrument? I guess I'll choose trumpet, since I continued playing it on and off until I gave my trumpet to my nephew in the 1980s.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  10. #30
    I started on piano at the age of 8 or 9-- can't exactly remember. My teacher was an older woman who was one of the local church organists. She was a very good teacher-- had studied at a conservatory in Chicago-- I grew up in NW Indiana, just across the border. My siblings and I all thought she was very odd because she wore heavy sweaters even in summer that smelled like moth balls.

    I began my brass playing on trombone when I was 10 in the Highland, IN public school system, playing a new Conn 6h trombone which unfortunately I was very hard on. Only later did I come to understand that this horn was professional level and is today highly sought after by jazz trombonists. I traded that horn in when I was 16 for a Conn 48h Constellation model, which I still have and can report that I have kept it in very good shape. I also recently added a good used large bore trombone-- a Blessing B88. My main trombone teacher was Jaroslav Cimera, who was retired from Northwestern University. He was a very fine teacher who had taught numerous professionals, including Tommy Dorsey, whenever he stopped in Chicago. He had played in Sousa's band as a young man and was also a bit of a character.

    I didn't begin playing the euphonium until I was in my late 30s- in the late 1980s. I had borrowed older American style baritone horns on occasion from friends and learned the fingerings. The British style brass band that I was playing trombone in at that time-- the Eastern Iowa Brass Band-- suddenly needed a euphonium player and I had the opportunity to purchase a decent used Yamaha 321. I was thrown into a sink or swim situation because my valve skills were still very limited and we were preparing for NABBA competitions with some tough charts to play. Somehow I managed.

    I played euphonium in the EIBB for about 5 years until work responsibilities became too demanding. I continued to play in church some, but gradually that somewhat dwindled and essentially put the horn down for about 10 years.

    A couple of years ago, I missed playing and picked my horns up, joining a jazz band on trombone and playing euphonium occasionally in a couple of community concert bands. I added a large bore trombone and a new Mack Brass euphonium to my instrument collection, selling the Yamaha to finance the new euph.

    I'm currently enjoying playing and this forum and will have the privilege of meeting Dave Werden tonight when he performs his recital at the University of Iowa tonight.
    Last edited by John the Theologian; 03-27-2015 at 02:09 PM. Reason: corrected incorrect dates, misspelled word

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