Students explain why they like their instruments

The Magnet Tribune: courtesy of Michelle Dueñas
Michelle Dueñas practices her French horn in the Martin High band hall.

Claudia Lara, Staff Writer

An instrument that sounds like the human voice is what attracted senior Enrique Alcorta to the trombone.

Alcorta explains what he likes about the trombone.

“Well, what I like about playing the trombone is that it is an instrument that sounds within the range of the human voice going from A to as high as someone can play or sing. I also like the fact that it has a lot of opportunities. For example, there’s a trombone in salsa groups, jazz groups, orchestras and bands. Unlike other instruments like tuba or euphonium who don’t have the same opportunities as a trombone,” Alcorta said.

The euphonium (another word for baritone) is an instrument that has a sound between the trombone and the tuba. The sound cannot be mimicked because of the size and how it is constructed. It is able to get a nice full sound without sounding ugly unlike the trombone.”

— Elizabeth Perez

He is part of the Martin band where the trombone has a lot of movement (moving parts, a lot of notes, and phrases) in the pieces. Another group he is part of SoundTown here in VMT.

He explained the challenges of the Trombone.

“Playing trombone is somewhat hard, not really producing the sound, but building the range. The range is something that is hard to build because you need endurance in your playing and need to not put pressure but instead, make the embouchure smaller. Other than that, like slurs, long tones, and more are easy to do. But the high range is a beast to dominate,” he said.

Alcorta had the instrument chosen for him by the way he buzzed on a mouthpiece. At first he had his doubts about the instrument because he wanted to be a trumpet player or a saxophonist because they were the most recognized instrument around. He then fell in love with the instrument and the different sounds it produced.

He then said anyone can learn to play the trombone.

“Anyone can play the trombone. Of course everyone is different and for some people it may be easier to play because of their physique. For example, a person with long arms will have no trouble reaching the far notes, unlike a person with short arms and so. Not really a need for any skills,” he said.

Even though a person may not have long arms Alcorta states that with the right determination and dedication this will not get in the way of learning how to play this beautiful instrument.

Alcorta does not see himself majoring in music but in criminal justice. He would on the other hand like to buy a horn for himself and keep playing after high school.

Other than the trombone Alcorta would love to learn trumpet or saxophone because of what he described as the “splendid sounds” that can be created. The saxophone has such a full sound while the trumpet has such high range.

“I would like to be able to ‘scream’ in the trumpet,” Alcorta said.

Michelle Dueñas had a different path to her instrument, the French horn.

Dueñas likes playing the French horn because their music pieces have very interesting parts that seem simple but are actually very meaningful, she said.

“I’d say that the hardest part is probably the tuning, but if you know it enough and push the air you’ll get it,” Dueñas said.

“Ear tuning is well needed while playing French horn but if you’re not good at that then all you need to do is push the air and use a manual tuner,” Dueñas explained.

She later explained on how music is her passion but does not plan to get a degree out of it because there are many low income jobs with that degree.

I would like to be able to ‘scream’ in the trumpet.”

— Enrique Alcorta

Another instrument Dueñas would like to try is the clarinet because its sound fills up the whole room, she said.

The instrument sound that cannot be mimicked by any other is what senior Elizabeth Perez enjoys the most about the baritone.

“The euphonium (another word for baritone) is an instrument that has a sound between the trombone and the tuba. The sound cannot be mimicked because of the size and how it is constructed. It is able to get a nice full sound without sounding ugly unlike the trombone,” Perez explained.

With patience it is very easy to learn the basics of the baritone which would be buzzing on a mouthpiece and pushing the right amount of air through, she said.

“I was first a trombone, but they switched me to baritone which was easy to adjust to because of the very similar size of mouthpiece,” Perez said.

Perez will not continue pursuing music after high school but does take teaching music to others who wish to learn anything about music or the baritone because of how passionate she is about music.

Another instrument Perez will like to learn about would be the piano because it has a lot of major and minor chords which will make other instruments easier to learn once those chords are learned.