Step up instruments are for students who are ready to play at the next level. For most instruments, there is a beginner level, intermediate level, and professional level of instrument to play on.
A big indication that a student is ready to get a step up instrument is that he/she is wanting to continue on in band through high school. All students would benefit from playing on a nicer horn, but if parents are wanting to invest in such a nice horn, students must be willing to invest themselves and commit to playing in band through high school.
We do not recommend going with an intermediate level of instrument. The main reason is for resale value. You will get the most bang for your buck if you will go from beginner level to professional level. The horns will last the test of time, and the value will hold over time as well.
We encourage you to explore every avenue in getting these instruments. New or used is just fine. Sometimes you can find wonderful deals on used professional quality instruments! Places to try include asking band directors, private teachers, eBay (check seller feedback), Music Go Round (on I-45 near Fuqua), Greensheet, Craigslist, friends at church or in the neighborhood, etc.
At Brookside, we would like our students to have these instruments as early as possible, with the understanding that some instruments take longer to save for than others. We encourage our students to help with the purchase of their instruments through extra chores, lawn mowing, babysitting, etc. That way, they have some real ownership in this purchase.
Instruments that need step up horns include Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Trumpet, and Trombone. The other instruments are school owned, and the only thing that may need an upgrade is a mouthpiece or something of that nature.
Below is a list of our high school band director preferred instruments: