As you continue to progress as musicians, you will eventually outgrow the equipment you are using. Even if you feel like you aren’t ready to jump into an upgraded instrument, I highly encourage you to play test a step up or professional level instrument if you get the chance. Play testing a new instrument is a skill on par to sight reading: you might not necessarily do it every day, but the more you do it, the easier it will get!
The best way to test a new instrument is to come in and make an appointment to work with Trevor! When you set up an appointment, you’ll be able to try out ALL the instruments we have available. Looking for a new instrument is like buying a car; you do a lot of research on what you think you’d like, and then test it out to make sure it’s exactly what you want! Having an extra set of ears never hurts, so feel free to bring a friend you trust, a parent, or even your private teacher to come and give you feedback. If you need more advice on testing new instruments, check out this video on how I test new Saxophones.
One unorthodox way to practice this skill is to request a loaner when you bring your instrument in for repair. While it may not necessarily be a step-up instrument, we can provide you with a loaner so you are never without an instrument. Since this maybe the first time you are playing an instrument that isn’t your own, it’s okay if things feel a bit uncomfortable at first. While instrument manufacturing has come a long way, even instruments that are the same make and model can play differently. For Saxophone specifically, different manufacturers will have slight differences on the ergonomics of the key work.
My final piece of advice is to bring in any music you have with you. There is nothing worse than being in a practice room with a shiny, new, professional level instrument and not having anything to play! If memorizing music isn’t your forte (get it?), bring along some music that you know well. Here is a full checklist of what I’d bring with me:
- Reed case (ideally with a few good reeds)
- Mouthpiece and Ligature
- Neck strap
Whether you are looking to purchase a new instrument or are just wanting to see what you might be missing out on, play testing should always be part of that journey. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your Woodwind needs!