Do you want to expand your piccolo skills and get more experience? You may want to play piccolo outside, but you should know what to do before your first gig.
Playing outside takes a few special preparations, especially if you have a wood piccolo. Read on to learn what you need to know before you start playing outdoors.
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Why Play Piccolo Outside
Being able to play the piccolo outside offers multiple benefits. Whether you’re a beginner, professional, or somewhere in between, you don’t want to limit yourself.
Only playing the piccolo inside can keep you from reaching your fullest potential. Here are a few reasons you should at least consider playing your piccolo outdoors.
Get More Opportunities
First, being willing to play music outside can help you get more performance opportunities. Maybe you play in a community group, but that group does some outside concerts.
You wouldn’t be able to play in all potential events if you’re only willing to play inside. And if you’re a professional, you might miss out on paying gigs if you refuse to take your music outdoors.
Of course, you don’t have to play piccolo outside all of the time. If you’re a professional, you can even charge a premium for gigs that will be outside versus inside to compensate for extra maintenance or repairs.
Have New Experiences
Another advantage of playing the piccolo outside is that you can get new experiences. If you’ve never played outside, you won’t know how to do your best in a different environment.
Gaining that experience can help you as a musician. You’ll have to learn how to adjust your music if it’s windy, and you may need to account for the sun’s glare when reading your music.
All of that can be challenging and downright annoying. However, it can make you a better musician, even for the next time you want to perform indoors.
Why Not Play Piccolo Outside
Of course, playing the piccolo outdoors isn’t perfect. Before you jump at the chance of getting an outside gig, consider why you might not want to do so.
Here are a couple of drawbacks that come along with outdoor playing.
Lack of Climate Control
Most indoor venues have some sort of climate control, such as heating or air condition. When you take your piccolo outside, you lose all of that, and that might not matter in the spring or fall.
However, it can get quite hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I’ve performed in both extremes, and it wasn’t fun for me or my flute and piccolo.
You may also have to play in a very humid or wet environment. I had to play for a bit in the rain during a football game in college, and I’m pretty sure my piccolo needed professional maintenance after that.
Possibility of Wood Cracking
I’ve never had to play a wood piccolo outdoors, and I’d do my best to avoid that for the rest of time. The wood can be very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes.
So if all you have access to is a wood piccolo, you might not want to take on any outdoor gigs. You could risk your instrument cracking, which can cost you hundreds in repairs.
Sure, you might get lucky, and your piccolo could do just fine. But think about the alternative, and consider if you’re willing to take on that risk.
Best Piccolos for Playing Outside
If you want to play piccolo outside, you should have a good model on hand. It’s good to have multiple piccolos in your inventory anyway, but it’s even more important for outdoor gigs.
Here are some of the best piccolo models that you can play outside. None of them are wood, so you don’t have to worry about them developing cracks.
I’ve played some of the models or have seen other people play the models. So give them all a try to see what meets your needs.
When I was in college, I played an Armstrong 204 as my marching band piccolo. It worked well at the time, and I enjoyed getting to play the piccolo instead of the flute in a big marching band.
This model is all silver-plated, so you can project your sound well. It’s also pretty durable, which makes it perfect for use outside, either as a student or advanced player.
Now, I wouldn’t use this piccolo for most inside performances since it is a bit shrill. However, I still love having one on hand in case I ever need a reliable outdoor instrument.
- Easy to play
- Good sound
- Projects well
- Works for most players
- Expensive for what it is
- Not for indoor use
Read More: Armstrong 204 Review
The Pearl 105 is what I upgraded to after playing the Armstrong for a while. It’s a composite piccolo, which means that it uses plastic and wood that are fused together to make grenaditte.
Wood offers a warmer sound, but the plastic stabilizes the wood to prevent cracks. I used this piccolo for an outside concert a few years ago, and it went great.
Now, I still took the piccolo inside as soon as possible. However, I was able to get a fantastic sound without worrying about ruining the piccolo.
- Different headjoint cuts
- Good sound
- Nice intonation
- Easy to play
- A bit expensive
- Not for beginners
Read More: Pearl 105 Review
The Yamaha YPC-32 is another fantastic piccolo to play outdoors. I’ve never played this model myself, but my fellow marching band piccolo players used the model.
They sounded great on it, and it was able to fit into the section nicely. That’s useful when your marching band section has a lot of piccolo players since tuning and blending aren’t always easy.
It features a plastic body with a silver-plated headjoint. That allows you to get a lip plate to help learn the piccolo, but you don’t have to get as shrill of a sound as on a metal instrument.
- Blends well
- Easy to play
- Perfect for students
- Good quality
- Somewhat expensive
- Not as warm as some
Read More: Yamaha YPC-32 Guide
How Do You Play Piccolo Outside?
You can play piccolo outside using many of the same techniques as you would inside. However, you’ll have to consider things like the wind or the sun.
If it’s windy, you’ll want to use some clothespins to secure your music, or you can use an iPad. I’d also recommend asking to wear sunglasses if you’ll face the sun.
Is It Safe to Play Piccolo Outside?
It can be safe to play piccolo outside if you take the right precautions. You should try not to play outside if it’s too hot or cold because that’s dangerous for you and your instruments.
As long as you use a durable instrument (ideally not made of wood), you can make it work. Just make sure you have some water to keep yourself hydrated, especially during the warmer months.
Can You Play Your Good Piccolo Outside?
You can play your good piccolo outside, but I wouldn’t always recommend it. For example, when I played my Pearl outdoors, it was my good piccolo.
Now that I have a Hammig wood model as my good piccolo, I wouldn’t play it outside. But I plan on keeping my Pearl piccolo for any future outdoor gigs I might have.
Will You Play Piccolo Outside?
If you want to play piccolo outside, you can access more opportunities and gain experience. However, you need to make sure it’s the right choice for you, and you need a good instrument.
That way, you can enjoy playing and keep from ruining a wood piccolo. Head to the resources page for more piccolos to consider for outdoor use!