• Matching Students to Instruments: The Instrument Selection Process

    Adapted from: Bruce Pearson, Matching Students to Instruments: The Instrument Selection Process

    The following considerations should be taken when selecting an instrument:
    Musical Aptitude
    Ideally, we base recommendations and decisions on data. Having knowledge and understanding of each student’s musical aptitude provides such data.  Students will take a musical aptitude test. While high marks on an aptitude test are an asset for any instrument, certain instruments require that a student receive high marks in order to be successful on that instrument.
    Instrument requiring a high degree of pitch sensitivity: Trombone
    Instrument requiring a high degree of meter/rhythm sensitivity/beat steadiness: Percussion
    Instrument Timbre Preference
    Students preferences for specific timbres can easily be determined. Mrs. Kemerer will demonstrate the instruments to students during the school day. Students are also encouraged to explore the YouTube videos of instrument demonstrations that are available here.

    Academic Achievement Results
    There is a substantial correlation between a student’s past academic achievement and successful performance on the more difficult band instruments.

    Student’s Physical Characteristics
    Some pertinent physical characteristics include arm and finger size, lip and teeth structure, and stature.

    Finger size is similarly important. Clarinet players must have finger pads large enough to completely cover the tone holes and rings.  To test for this, have the prospective clarinet player firmly press their fingers on the tone holes of the clarinet and see if there is a complete circle of indentation on their finger pads.

    Student’s Eye-Hand Coordination Skills
    Instruments requiring high degree of eye-hand coordination: Flute, clarinet, percussion

    Student Personality Type
    Some instruments require a student to have a more confident or outgoing personality.  Those instruments include trumpet and percussion.


    Adapted from an article originally published in Kjos Band News, Vol 11. Copyright © 2005 Neil A. Kjos Music Company

    Dr. Bruce Pearson is an internationally recognized music educator, author, composer, clinician, and conductor. His newest band method, Tradition of Excellence, offers the most advanced interactive curriculum that is second-to-none. His best-selling band method, Standard of Excellence, has provided a solid foundation for scores of music education programs around the world. His extensive correlated repertoire has helped music educators expand their programs to reinforce learning through performance.