Do you want or need to play in a marching band? If so, you need to look for the best piccolo for marching band.
The right option can depend on you and your needs. So I’m sharing a few popular models that can work well for beginners.
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When I was in college, I used an Armstrong 204 for marching band. It was a great piccolo for that purpose. I was able to learn how to play the piccolo well, and it helped me transition between piccolo and flute.
This piccolo is an excellent choice for students, regardless of if you’ll play in a marching band. But band is the perfect place to start playing the piccolo because you won’t be alone.
The model has some amazing advantages, such as the following.
I haven’t had any personal experience with this, but I’ve heard that some marching bands require piccolo players to use an all metal instrument. You can’t use the standard plastic or combo piccolo.
The reason for that requirement is to have the piccolos match the appearance of the flutes and each other. While I don’t believe you can see that from the audience, it does kind of make sense.
If you want to play piccolo in marching band, you may need a metal model. Be sure to ask your prospective band director if they require a metal piccolo so that you can get the right model.
Another benefit of a metal piccolo (even if it’s not required) is that it can be pretty durable. You have to put your marching piccolo through a lot, and you may need to march in heat, cold, and even rain.
I had to play for part of a football game during rain. They canceled the game at half-time, but it was nice knowing that I didn’t have to ruin a “better” piccolo.
You may also have to set your piccolo down for a dance routine. The turf grass isn’t exactly the best place to rest a piccolo. So having a durable instrument can come in handy.
The Armstrong 204 is also a great piccolo for beginners. It has a lip plate like a regular flute, which can make it easier to learn the basics. You don’t need a lip plate, but it helps.
Metal piccolos are also a bit more beginner-friendly because they have a cylindrical bore. This can help you figure out how to adjust your lips to get the different notes.
If you’ve never played the piccolo before, a metal option is the best piccolo for marching band. It suits your needs, and it can help you get a jumpstart on playing the piccolo.
The Yamaha YPC-32 is a pretty popular marching piccolo. While I haven’t played this model, it was the main model that my college owned and lent out for marching band.
This model has a metal headjoint and a plastic body. That combination is common among student piccolos. It’s relatively affordable, and it can help new players in marching band.
Consider some of the things that make the Yamaha piccolo a fantastic choice for marching.
As I mentioned, this piccolo is very popular among beginners. That makes it easy to find new or used when shopping. You may also have an easy time finding one to borrow.
That’s a good option if you just need to play in marching band during college. If you’re tight on money, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on an instrument.
Renting through your college or a music store is easy. Odds are, at least one of the options will be the Yamaha 32. If you want to try out marching band, renting is great.
Good for Beginners
Like the Armstrong piccolo, this one is nice for beginners. It’s easy to get a sound on thanks to the lip plate. Plus, the model has a plastic body that is a bit more comfortable to hold.
A lot of people start playing the piccolo in marching band. It’s a great place to play the instrument and experiment. You can get a good foundation on this piccolo in and out of band.
I’ve heard a lot of people sound great on this model. The piccolo is pretty standard, and it’s perfect for students.
Another advantage of the Yamaha piccolo is the plastic body. It may not work in an all-metal section. But the plastic body is durable and easy to hold.
Metal bodies tend to have hand rests, which can be awkward. If you don’t want to squeeze your hands, a plastic body is great.
Of course, it’s not going to crack like wood. That makes it a great choice for playing in any outside group. You can even play it inside if necessary.
The Pearl 105 is another fantastic model to consider for marching band. While I haven’t played it in marching band, I have played it outside.
I’ve also know other players who have marched using this model. It’s easy to play, and it sounds great during a group performance.
If you want a more versatile piccolo, consider some of the benefits of getting this one.
The Pearl piccolo is a composite instrument, which means it’s a combination of plastic and wood. That helps give it the sound of wood without all of the extra maintenance.
It’s a great piccolo to play outside in band or in another type of ensemble. You can use it as a marching piccolo but also for orchestra, flute choir, or wind ensemble.
Plus, you can buy a wooden headjoint to use with it inside. Don’t use the wood headjoint outside because it can crack. But it’s still a good option, and the case can fit both headjoints.
This piccolo is easy to tune and keep in tune. When you’re playing with other piccolo players, intonation is essential. You still need to practice intonation.
However, tuning is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. If you play a lot, you’ll get even better at intonation.
Once you learn how to tune your piccolo, it will be easier to play elsewhere. Then, you’ll be able to use the piccolo in other scenarios and not struggle to play in tune.
How to Choose the Best Piccolo for Marching Band
To decide which marching piccolo is best for you, consider the following factors.
Consider Your Goals
First, you should think about your goals are with piccolo playing. If you will stick to marching band, a metal piccolo is best. However, you might want to jump straight to a plastic model.
That way, you’ll have one piccolo to use inside and outside. If you don’t have a ton of money, it makes sense to get one more versatile piccolo.
On the other hand, if you’re serious about the piccolo, it helps to get one piccolo for marching. Then, you can get a better model to use for solos and other performances.
Look at Your Budget
As I mentioned, you don’t want to spend more than necessary on a piccolo. Take a look at your current finances and see how much you can afford to spend.
You may be able to finance a piccolo, so you can pay it off over time. And you’ll have more options without having to save up more for a while.
If you have more money, you may want to get two piccolos. On the other hand, you can look for a cheaper model. Then, you’ll be able to get started without paying a ton upfront.
Try Used Models
One of the best things to do when getting the best piccolo for marching band is to look at used models. I bought my Armstrong piccolo used, and it was a great deal.
Used piccolos (especially those for marching band) don’t tend to hold their value. While that’s not great for sellers, it pretty useful for buyers.
So you could save quite a bit of money by looking for a used piccolo. And you’ll have access to more models than if you just shopped for new instruments.
Which Piccolo Will You Play in Marching Band?
The best piccolo for marching band depends on the person. You have to consider your goals and budget. Then, test out a few new and used piccolos.
I’d recommend the Armstrong 204, Yamaha YPC-32, or Pearl 105. Each has pros and cons, so test them all to see which you like.