Most students start on beginner-level instruments that are built with materials selected for durability and affordability. Step-up instruments use higher quality materials and feature additional mechanisms for improved playability and sound. The bore of student instruments are smaller and easier to manage for the beginner developing their air support, while the larger bore of step-up instruments creates a wider range of color and dynamics for advancing musicians. A step-up instrument is an investment in furthering your child’s music education and developing a lifelong skill.
Beginner flutes have plateau (closed-hole) keys that are easier for small hands to manage, while step-up flutes have french (open-hole) keys and a longer foot joint to play down to low B. More advanced flute models also offer higher quality mechanisms, so that the keys move faster and more easily, making fast passages easier to execute. While beginner flutes are nickel with silver plating, most step-up flutes have a solid silver head joint, which creates a more resonant sound, and more advanced models also feature a solid silver body and keywork. In general, the more silver, the better the sound!
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Beginner clarinets are made from plastic resin and a small bore and require less effort to play for beginners. Step-up clarinets have a larger bore and are made from grenadilla wood, allowing for a bigger sound and darker, richer tone. Keep in mind that wood clarinets must be protected from moisture and temperature changes – we recommend keeping your plastic clarinet for marching season!
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Beginner saxophones are made to be durable and affordable. After playing the saxophone for a few years, a player can advance their sound with a step-up instrument designed for better response sound quality. Double-braced keys add more stability on the lowest notes and additional keys extend the range of the instrument. Different finish options also make it possible to customize both the look and sound of the saxophone.
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Beginner trumpets have a smaller bore so they are easier for beginners to play and are finished with clear lacquer, which is easier to clean and more durable. Step-up trumpets feature a larger bore and silver-plating, which allow the student to create a bigger, more resonant sound with clearer tone.
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Beginner trombones are designed to be durable, affordable, and easy to play. Step-up trombones have a larger bore to create a larger, more resonant sound – these larger bore instruments fit a wider variety of large bore step-up mouthpieces as well. Step-up trombones also include extra tubing called an F-attachment that extends the lower register and allows the player to use a thumb trigger to avoid difficult slide positions.
Explore our step-up trombones.