An introduction to the Baritone/Euphonium

Tools for Success

Music Stand Shop Now >

A music stand puts the music at a comfortable position that allows the student to sit with the best posture and hand position. This encourages good breath support and efficient practice.

Valve Oil Shop Now >

Valve oil is necessary in keeping the valve pistons ready for use. It is best to make sure the valves are oiled every day. Just like oil for cars, there are regular and synthetic types of oils. Whichever you want to use is your own preference, but don’t ever let them mix.

Slide Grease Shop Now >

Slide grease is an important tool for making sure the tuning slides can move freely when they need to be adjusted. It needs to only be used around once a month, and one container should last quite a while.

Mouthpiece Brush Shop Now >

This is necessary for keeping the mouthpiece clean of any build-up. The mouthpiece should be brushed out every week and one brush should last for a long time.

Cleaning Snake Shop Now >

The cleaning snake is used for cleaning the twists and turns inside the instrument. One is necessary for in-home cleaning which is recommended once every six months.

Metronome/Tuner Shop Now >

A metronome is an essential tool for helping students stay in rhythm. Many metronomes you can find are also coupled with a chromatic tuner, which helps students keep their instruments in tune and to develop a sense of pitch. These are not included in the starter pack.

About the Baritone and Euphonium

Baritone vs. Euphonium

The baritone and the euphonium are very similar instruments and you will often hear their names used interchangeably. The euphonium has a conical bore (meaning it gradually gets bigger throughout the length of the instrument) and has a more mellow sound, while the baritone has a cylindrical bore (meaning it stays the same size until the bell) which gives it a brighter sound. In general, both the baritone and the euphonium play the same parts, so whichever one you choose will be just fine!





Treble vs. Bass Clef:

Baritone and euphonium sheet music is unique in that you’ll find it written in either bass clef (like the music of a trombone) or in treble clef (like the music of a trumpet.) Advanced players will know how to read both, but when just starting out, it usually depends on the instructor which type the students will start with. Please be sure to ask the teacher which type you will be using before buying a method book!

Maintaining Your Instrument

Daily Maintenance

Valves MUST be oiled every day before the baritone or euphonium is played. This involves removing each valve to apply oil to all surfaces. Spit should be let out before putting the instrument back in its case. Fingerprints should be wiped off the exterior before putting the instrument away.

Weekly Maintenance

The bottom valve caps must be removed and the interior of the valve casings are cleaned with a finger or a Q-tip swab during weekly maintenance. The caps themselves are cleaned with a Q-tip swab. The mouthpiece is cleaned inside, using the small thin brush found in the Starter Pack with running water. Soap is NOT needed or recommended.

Monthly Maintenance

The four slides are removed, wiped clean with a paper towel and fresh slide grease is applied to all the sliding surfaces. After reinserting the slides, wipe away all excess grease. The lead pipe (the tube into which the mouthpiece is inserted) is cleaned inside using the “snake” brush found in the Starter Pack and running water. Soap is NOT needed or recommended.

3 Times per year cleaning

A full interior cleaning is needed periodically. My usual recommended schedule for students is Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer. While most students are comfortable performing a full cleaning at home, a full cleaning service is also offered (for a fee) by the Music & Arts repair team.

Practice Time and Good Practice Habits

Scheduling The Right Amount Of Time

For beginning students, it’s recommended to spend about 20 minutes a day playing to build up the embouchure strength required for brass instruments. As students become more advanced, it becomes necessary to spend more time perfecting skills as well as staying in shape. As a rule, I recommend 20 minutes for 6th grade, 30 minutes for 7th and 8th and 45 minutes to an hour for high school students.

Using your time efficiently

Proper practice technique is key to successful practice and mastery of music. Always sit down with a specific goal in mind rather than practicing aimlessly and without direction. Decide what you’d like to accomplish before you begin the session and work toward that goal. Focus on specific areas that give you the most trouble and slowly add more. Once you have your goals written down, write down a practice schedule and decide how much time you want to spend on each section. Be sure to check off what you have worked on to see how far you have come!

Where to Practice

Always use a music stand and supportive chair when practicing. This will ensure proper hand and body position as well as proper air support. Find a quiet spot where you can focus easily and avoid distractions. I’d also recommend turning your phone off or leaving it in a separate room.

What to Practice

It is always best to start with fundamentals. I recommend starting with breathing exercises to make sure you are using your air as best as possible, then long-tones to find the best sound, and lastly, lip slurs to build strength.

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