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A trombone? Sax? Kids get help choosing the right instrument

Jun 10, 2015

An entire generation of  fifth graders is contemplating a big decision as the school year comes to an end: "What instrument should I play next year in band?"

Fifth-grader Ryan Mayer at Edison Elementary tries to figure out his musical destiny.

But plenty of kids don't even know what instruments they can choose from. They may have seen Kenny G jamming on a saxophone on TV, or heard about an instrument they think might be called the "ter-bon," but they've never had the chance to actually hold one (a trombone, that is) and try blowing into it.

That's where "instrument fittings" come in.

The Port Huron Music Center has been doing instrument fittings for years. The idea is to let every child get a hands-on experience with every wind instrument they are curious about. So that means a lot of honking, squeaks, and other colorful sounds. At the end of the school year, the music center ends up visiting several schools each day to do instrument fittings.

In fact, store owner Pete Kruse says they are his best marketing strategy. "It's kind of like if you were a company that sold sodas, and you had the ability to let everyone who was thirsty actually taste your product."

He also says he needs every marketing advantage he can get, especially as kids have less and less time in their schedules for elective classes such as band.