Decisions, Decisions! Choosing a Brass Instrument

img_7152Upon entering the world of music may find you in a situation where you feel like your brain might explode with all the new information. One of the many questions I receive includes: what are the different types of brass instruments?

I’m Hannah Kerchner, founder of Hannah’s Musical Hope and I’m here to help you begin your journey in music. When it comes to playing brass, I can help you out.


First you have to understand what makes a brass instrument. A wind instrument is an instrument that requires you to blow air through a mouthpiece to make a sound. A brass instrument is a wind instrument made of brass, and brass is made of zinc and copper. Brass instruments can also be distinguished by their mouthpiece which is round, made of metal and has a cup shape.

For the most part all brass instruments have the same general design. They all have a bell at the end which projects sound. They also have a series of tubes for the sound to travel through. Brass instruments commonly have a valve system to change the notes though some, like trombones, use only slides.


The most common brass instruments include trumpet, trombone, tuba, baritone, and french horn. Less well-known brass instruments in bands include flugelhorn, soprano trombone, piccolo trumpet, euphonium, and sousaphone. Another variation you may see as a beginner is cornet. A cornet works the same as a trumpet but is a little smaller.


Of the above list of brass instruments trumpet, trombone, tuba, and baritone are the best for beginner musicians. French horn is a cool instrument, but without any earlier music knowledge it may be a bit more challenging. There are many factors that come into play when learning a French Horn so it becomes far more difficult than learning music needs when starting out. If your aspire to play French Horn someday, starting out on a trumpet or cornet is a good idea, since the fingerings used to play notes are the same on these instruments.

Brass instruments came onto the scene hundreds of years ago. Trumpets are the oldest played, since 1500 B.C., and are the inspiration for all other brass instruments. The trombone was initially made as a modified trumpet. Rather than changing the notes with valves, a slide was added. The slide of the trombone gives us the original name, sackbut, meaning “push-pull,” in French. Tubas were also inspired by the trumpet, the word tuba actually means trumpet in Latin.


Brass instruments are fun to play and fun to learn. I know from experience. On the outside they might look complicated but once you get the hang of it, brass instruments open up opportunities to explore and play musical styles including concert, orchestra, marching band, drum & bugle corps, and of course, jazz. If you have any questions about what a brass instrument is, where to buy one, or a question specifically about your instrument feel free to comment below. If you have any tips about brass instruments or stories about your instrument please leave us a comment!

“You are the music while the music lasts!” -T.S. Eliot Happy playing!

Hannah’s Musical Hope now has trombones and trumpets available to students hoping to learn. Individuals or band directors, contact us today for more information on how you can qualify to own or borrow a HMH instrument.

What We Do


At Hannah’s Musical Hope we are working to Keep The Music Playing!

We collect, fix, and donate musical instruments so that every kid can be in band.

We also promote #leadership & #socialresponsibility in our community.

We are run by kids. Someday, we hope to grow the #music programs and #youth #leadership in your community, too.

Hannah’s Musical Hope is a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2015.

Meet our founder, Hannah. Without her passion for helping other kids find music, we would not be doing what we do.

Founder Hannah & Youth Board VP Cece

Founder Hannah & Youth Board VP Cece work @ play @ work

What’s the big deal?

When kids learn to play an instrument not only do they rock, but other things start to happen, too.

Things like:

• Better grades & Higher test scores: 22% higher in English & 20% higher in math
• Improved attendance & fewer drop-outs
• Higher self-esteem & less depression

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HMH 2016/2017 Youth Advisory Board

HMH 2016/2017 Youth Advisory Board

Fine arts #education budgets are being cut and the number of low income households is on the rise.
This means not all students are given the opportunity to participate in #music programs like band.
Hannah says, “That’s just not cool.”

According to the latest census,
44% of the United States households are low income (less than $47,248/year) or living below the poverty line (less than $23,624/year).
Things seem to be getting worse instead of better.

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2016 HMH Talent Show #RisingStar

2016 HMH Talent Show #RisingStar

Kids may not be able to afford things like joining band.
Stars cannot rise if they aren’t given a chance to shine.

Budget cuts in schools, particularly in #art and #music departments are a growing problem.
Without funding, schools can’t afford to continue their music programs.

Schools cut the amount of money teachers need to support their programs or worse, eliminate music programs completely, like they did in Atlanta, GA.

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What many school administrators do not seem to understand is that when they cut music from the curriculum, they decrease kids chances to excel in math & reading.



It was like that time Hannah’s superintendent told her, “band doesn’t have homework.”

(Just ask Hannah’s younger sister if #band has #homework.)

Music makes these connections in a child’s developing brain. My mom says it’s called #neuroplasticity
It is something that makes it easier for kids to succeed in school and throughout life.

Music uses all parts of the brain allowing it to develop spatially, emotionally, and mentally.
Just like learning a language, learning music is easier for kids than adults, so starting young is really important.

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So we think it’s a pretty big deal to Keep the Music Playing.

We know musical instruments are expensive, and a big reason kids are not in band.

That’s why we’re recycling all the ones sitting in attics & closets across the country.

We refurbish them and get them to kids & schools who need them.

Check out our instrument inventory, and grab an application.

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Dance Party Finale HMH Talent 2016

Dance Party Finale HMH Talent 2016

You probably want to follow us on social media too, because we post some cool stuff.

Help Hannah #KeepTheMusicPlaying