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7 Hardest Instruments to Learn to Play in a Marching Band

In 7 hardest instruments to learn to play in a marching band, we ranked the most popular instruments used in marching bands for you.

Some may ask “is the violin the hardest instrument to play?” or wonder if instruments not played in marching bands are more difficult. Though the violin may be what is the hardest instrument to play in an orchestra, let’s face it, playing any instrument in a marching band is no easy task. For those of us who have trouble not tripping over our own feet, just imagine what it would be like to march in time with a group while balancing and playing an instrument to the right beat and tune. Woodwind and brass band members additionally have to control their breathing well so they’re not worn out after the first song. While percussion players, as the foundation of the band, must keep a steady rhythm lest the entire song and band go kaput.

Some of us can no doubt picture ourselves accidentally stopping to concentrate on our instrument leading to a domino effect of all the marching band members behind us crashing to the ground. That wouldn’t go over too well.

7 Hardest Instruments to Learn to Play in a Marching Band

Pixabay/Public Domain

So we’re helping you avoid such disasters by showing you musical instrument difficulty ranking. To rank instruments, we used a points system which measures instrument difficulty level (how hard it is to play well and march while doing so), instrument weight (how heavy or awkward it is to hold and play while marching) and instrument demand (flute is popular therefore it’s harder to land a spot as a flute player in a marching band due to competition).

For each variable, instruments receive a points possible amount of 2 meaning very difficult, heavy or in low demand. Scores of 1 mean in between, and scores of 0 mean low difficulty, lightness of the instrument and in high demand. (All of this is also spelled out next to each item’s score.)

The total points possible (what is the hardest instrument to learn) would receive a 6, but since the highest score our instruments received was a 4, we listed all of those instruments below. So what is the hardest instrument to play in a school band or other type of marching band? These are, according to our research. Their variable scores are also listed which can help determine why it received a 4. Our sources include articles from Spindity and Music at Hopkins.

But with lists like this, it’s important to keep in mind that the easiest and hardest instrument to play depends on the skill level of the musician. For example, strong saxophone players may not think a tenor saxophone is heavy at all, or experienced musicians may consider playing oboe no sweat. Some things can even come more naturally to beginners with no experience, so just because one person doesn’t agree with these stats doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

The success of certain marching band instruments also depends greatly on the type of musician. Most good clarinet players have a wide finger reach, while many flute players have thin lips. So if you want to play in a marching band, it’s best to find the instrument that best works for you. Experiment and try a new instrument if the first one doesn’t work out. (Reading about 6 Easiest Brass Instruments to Play in a Band might help too.)

Without further adieu, here’s our list of 7 hardest instruments to learn to play in a marching band. Enjoy!

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