Musonix Publishing

Wind instrument practice software

Wind instrument practice software

Trumpet, Tuba, Horn, Saxophone, Clarinet, Trombone, Flute, Recorder and Euphonium apps that give feedback on your practice. Cheapest first. Then ideas for where to buy instruments secondhand linked so you can click-through for each instrument. Most of the other links are suggested rather than linked, because the precise links change too quickly, but they give an idea. A P2P site that works for instrument hire and a cashback site for ebay  Musicroom, Instruments4Music & Bax-shop are the only links that help pay for this site. There is no temptation to leave-out cheap or free software just because it provides no paid link.

Play Perfect: Music Practice Software free with other trial software such as Crescendo music typography. For guitar/ piano / violin / cello / bass / flute / clarinet / saxophone / trumpet / trombone 

for windows 64 bit, XP to Windows 10 from nchsoftware.com/practice/index.html

Instant feedback on a moving stave; a score and MP3 recording at the end of the practice, variable speed.
No moving fingering diagrams.

Tools > Options > Instrument > Concert Pitch  and Octave Difference ...
...allows you to adapt for "any tonal instrument, including transposing instruments such as clarinets and trumpets".

The Crescendo program is bundled with the same download, and you can use it to import midi files.“ For best results, try to select music with one instrumental part.” … “maximum two staves”. If you can find midi 1-stave or 2-stave files, open in Crescendo then save in its own format, then open in Practice. I know next to nothing about editing music files but Songs2see, for wind strings and voice, has an editor for a similar purpose. Crescendo can also be used for typing music, and is free for personal use. NCH software hopes you try some of their freemium music software as well as Play Perfect.


Take7music.com for cello / recorder /flute / trombone / clarinet / saxophone  / trumpet / violin / timing /technicalight  skills. Freemium with a free app and some free music to get you hooked into paying for more.

For Mac PC and IOS tablets, but not android and IOS smartphones.
There is no way of importing music from other sources than the Take7music shop; music you play-in yourself might be allowed in future editions.
The app records as you rehearse and then plays-back with assessment (rather like the Xtractor 5 version of Gigajamonline.com for drums keyboard and bass).
The home market is UK school pupils and music examples include Associated Board set pieces.


Songs2see.com/en/ for Saxophone / Clarinet / Piano/ Guitar / Ukulele/ Mandolin / Trumpet / Recorder / Viola / Voice @ €39.90 ONCE

For Windows 10. The price is €14.90 if you don't buy the editor functions that can import and tidy-up music XML scores to practice on your own choice of music. 60 exercises included. The editor can be bought separately for €29.90. If you wait long enough, there might be a discount code on the order page.

Correct notes are highlighted in green on a karaoke stave, with "super" written at the top

Fingering is shown in diagrams for each instrument as you play

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpdF8RdTVDpgF9SCXmpGpfQ - the songs2see video channel -  shows some detail.   

Tonestro.com for flute/ recorder / violin / saxophone / trumpet / clarinet / euphonium / trumpet / horn / brass and woodwind ? freemium / paid personal online lessons optional / premium version available. Apple store prices are "1 Month Premium $17.49 Welcome offer $64.99 1 Year Premium $119.99 Energy Refill $0.99 Unlimited Energy for 30 Days $4.99". The shortest personal lessons are under €19.

An app with exercises for whichever wind instrument you choose, that gives instant feedback on your practice. The app for Android and Ios is free. There's a catalog of songs and most are probably charged-for; they don't put a price list on their web site so it's hard to tell at a glance.

The firm is also a job agency for personal teachers and can offer online lessons very cheaply. In English and German. This came out in 2021 & doesn't have many reviews, but they look positive. I haven't tested it and so have left the information vague, for example what "unlimited energy for 30 days" is and whether it is worth $4.99



drumming | fretboards and stings | keyboards | singing | blowing ... are other pages in the same series



Renting Wind Instruments in the UK

Fat Lama lets you try to rent-out your stuff or hire from someone willing to put their stuff on the site, which pays for new introductions. There might be someone near you on the rent scene already, although business is very slow. Music shops often hire as a sideline and Music Hubs, if you can find your local one, often list hire services or advise by email and hire-out instruments themselves to schools - possibly to individuals as well.

Buying Wind Instruments in the UK : some brands

A cashback site offers about 1% off ebay and similar offers at a few UK music shops including Musicroom, Instruments4Music & Bax-shop 

Musicroom.com/woodwind-instruments-and-accessories/ ...
 is a good place to check the cheapest online price for a new instrument with UK delivery. If the instruments last long enough to sell on ebay when you have finished with them, they are better value. If you see them on ebay, you might as well buy them there; it's better the environment, better for other musicians who want to sell, and saves sending money to China. Gear4music is an easier site to use with more variety but slightly more expensive and without a cashback link.

Ebay.co.uk...Dolmetsch  lists Dolmetsch instruments. As I understand it, an upmarket UK producer survived till about 2010 while sharing a trademark with the Dolmetsch Foundation and plastic Dolmetsch-brand instruments which a lot of people will remember from school, still made at Aafab.nl . The Saunders Recorders site, below, says that the earliest bakelite models are interesting curios but more recent types of plastic sound better. Some were branded "EMI" and some with other Aafab trademarks.

Ebay.co.uk...Aulos or Aulos.jp/en/ have made plastic woodwind instruments in Japan - a democracy - since the 1970s which are good value second-hand. They survive travel and dishwashers while staying in tune, ready to sell again on ebay without complaint, or my parents' collection did anyway. The big instruments sound much less shrill than the descant recorder. Lathed connecting parts fit together without cork padding.

Ebay.co.uk..Yamaha lists Yamaha wind and woodwind instruments which are a safe bet but might be more expensive than Dolmetsch or Aulos because people know the Yamaha brand.

John Everingham trading as Saundersrecorders.com is a semi-retired dealer. He still buys Aulos products wholesale and sells them with whatever else he has left in stock, while giving plenty of free detailed advice on his website or by email. He's even interested in the changes of mold that Aulos and Yamaha have used over the years and what to recommend for a school bulk-purchase. Most parents would probably ask for the largest and least shrill recorder that a child's fingers can use. Most head teachers want the smallest, shrillest but cheapest recorders because head teachers are out of ear-shot.

Saundersrecorders.com/rec2.htm lists brands in on the secondhand market or still in production, and other pages show how to fix a spring pulled-out of place when cleaning, or how to fix a lathed plastic joint that has become too tight. Flutes have a page.

Reviews are harder to interpret for plastic trumpets, tubas, clarinets, saxophones and such. That's why this middle "brands" section is here and so long: it doesn't have a clear answer.

There are Anglo-Chinese firms based in Hong Kong or the UK, who get the things made in China. In their defence, they may not know that what they are doing is wrong: it just happened that way. If anyone wanted to study how to make a plastic mould in the UK a few decades ago, it was not easy to find a course. I tried. Industrial design courses tended did not include mould-making, or even include mass-production if they were run at art colleges. People hoped that developing countries like China would develop into democratic welfare states with a decent human rights record without being pushed by tariffs and sanctions.

Search engines find things to say about maintaining brass wind instruments. A report for the Arts Council in the UK said that they're difficult to keep going. Metal instruments corrode. Woodwind keys break. Googling, I found few neat answers. Metal instruments are usually steel, plated with an anti-sceptic metal: brass or nickel. They are imported and sold on price and appearance, always varnished as though that helps. From what I remember of varnished brass door-handles, that used to be common, the varnish chipped and people gave-up using them. Varnished plated metal is another thing again, when guessing how it will respond to spittle, rain, scrubbing, scratching, denting, and repair. As for valves and slides, I only know that silicone spray works on bicycles so it may help on musical instruments. Removing the chipped varnish in some way like dipping in solvent, and then letting the metal tarnish, could be better than trying to polish.

pBone.co.uk also known as Warickmusicgroup.com have a supply manager who "started his career studying mould design and manufacturing at the Nanjing Institute of Mechanical Technology". He didn't get the trumpet valves right first time according to Amazon reviews, but maybe better now. https://blog.pbone.co.uk/from-brass-to-recyclable-plastic-reinvention-of-musical-instruments is a page about the process of becoming a plastic trombone supplier, as you do, after selling sheet music. The range now includes cornets and two qualities of trumpet and a thing called a "pBuzz", which is the only instrument made in the UK rather than China.
pbone.co.uk/faq is the page about cleaning and maintenance; their online shop has a section for "accessories and spares"
pbone.co.uk/how-to-play offers downloads called "learn to play...", and pop-ups offer a download called "how to play..." in exchange for an email address. I haven't checked whether these are different. Either way, a cheap-to-run printer helps.
The first few videos of £20 MusicGurus video courses are free on the pBone site which offers a small discount for the rest.

Nuvoinstrumental.com have a shameless motto: "British innovation. Expertly made in China.", and there is a picture of British tariff policies being made in China below. I don't know why the politician on the left didn't go and stand for parliament in China, if he was so keen on the place. Another method that's helped autocracies for years is to fund universities like London School of Economics and try to make sure their courses are rather dull on subjects like tariffs against invasive states with terrible human rights records or UK government fiddling the exchange rate upwards. Autocratic governments don't even have to do it deliberately. Their own universities employ staff who, sadly, have to make their subjects boring and avoid mentioning things like human rights in order to avoid the chop. This effects the textbooks that are sold to these countries as well as the research and journal articles coming out of them. Then academics in democracies repeat the same boring syllabus and use the same boring economics textbook, oblivious, and politicians like the one on the left  come-out of college more ignorant than the rest of us but feeling more educated.

George Osborne in China.jpg


Novoinstrumental.com > Resources > Repairs and Maintenance cleaning and repairs
Novoinstrumental.com > Resources > Learning Materials such as e-books and the odd video or backing track.
The Jsax goes for just over £50 secondhand on ebay.

https://www.for-sale.co.uk/f/search?query=ecotank - Epson ecotank printers - with ink from Premium-Inks.com are a good bet if you want to print a downloaded e-book. Ink costs are next to nothing. The cheapest supermarket A4 is a penny a sheet or more; some of the ebooks are 60 pages plus the ones that get messed-up if you try to print double-sided. I know nothing about other free or affordable stuff for learning woodwind instruments.

A firm called Oswal Band of India, a democracy, crops-up on Ebay and Amazon where reviews would put anyone off buying them for practice. There are more suppliers in the USA and maybe one of them - I'm not sure which - is sold in the UK by Gear4Music as PlayLITE.

Buying Wind Instruments in the UK : second hand links like Ebay

For those who have never bought on ebay, it's good for finding private sellers willing to post. That makes it worse for sorting adverts, because they vary more."Distance | nearest first" is good if someone local allows you to collect, rather than pay postage. "Price + Postage | lowest first" is the main one to use. (Amazon has something similar, rather hidden, as an alternative to "featured"). The lowest prices are often for things you're not looking for, like an instrument case when you're looking for an instrument. It may help to search only for used instruments, and try to include some similar search options like "reconditioned", just to make the search more accurate. There is no obvious way to rule out ads like "buyer collects: Rockall (300 miles)", which are also cheap. You can opt to search only for "buy it now" prices, rather than look at the items that are cheap because the auction hasn't reached the end yet. Another way of treating auctions is to look-up what similar instruments went for under the "sold" category, decide the maximum you want to pay, and set a maximum bid for that amount. Sites like Auctionstealer, called Sniping sites, set your maximum bid independently of ebay, and reveal it only in the last ten seconds of the auction. That saves you bidding against people who keep bidding till your maximum bid is reached; your bid comes as a "snipe" or surprise. Oh and there is the cashback site that gives you about 1% cashback on most types of purchase if you click-through from them to ebay before purchasing.


There are several sub-divisions of each type of instrument. Some discussion with a teacher could help avoid buying the worst possible instrument, like one that plays a high note when the school orchestra requires a low note, but a bit of too-and-fro and learning from experience helps both sides. If the teacher insists that only a brand new Yamaha instrument will do, maybe some online forum like Mumsnet has a section that gives a second opinion.

Musical Instruments & DJ Equipment > Wind and Woodwind > Band and Orchestral

Cashconverters.co.uk/shop/music-tv--video/musical-instruments/wind-instruments
has directories for /trumpet /trombone /cornet /brass-horn /flute /clarinet /recorder /oboe /harmonica /saxophone /bagpipes /french-horn /bassoon /mouth-organ /accordion /tuba
Some of the directories are empty, but prices can be lower than ebay when something is for sale and most instruments are sold with a quote for postage. Rival franchise Cash Generator is more random in price and less good at quoting postage, but they have a similar web site and you could look up your nearest branch.

Music shops that sell secondhand near you, charity shops, and pawnbrokers are hard to link-to from here, but there is a way to link to some local classified ads.
https://www.for-sale.co.uk/ tries to search, and search by distance, on ebay amazon gumtree and sometimes a couple more
https://www.gumtree.com/woodwind-brass-instruments
https://www.preloved.co.uk/classifieds/making-music/saxophones
https://www.preloved.co.uk/classifieds/making-music/other-wind-instruments
https://www.shpock.com/en-gb/c/sport-leisure_musical_instruments which had nothing at the last look and
https://reverb.com/uk/c/ below
You can log-on to for-sale.co.uk and tell it where you live to sort by distance or search UK-wide in case sellers will post (usually not). Another idea is to add the word "classifieds" to a search on a search engine, which doesn't search by distance but gives some ideas about where else to look. There are some other odd basic web sites for buying and selling instruments free. A search engine might find your nearest drum shop as well, and whether it sells secondhand.


Reverb is a rather upmarket version of ebay, just for musical instruments. It is rather hard to sell on, but looks OK for buying.

Schools and music hubs in the UK that buy several instruments at once have some different choices and a separate page. It's not based on first hand experience but might prompt some ideas. 

Upmarket
Take it Away with an interest -free loan is a scheme run at some music shops for parents of school children; the scheme has a web site that can help your find your nearest music shop that takes part. 

A search for specialised charitable trusts to fund musical instruments will find some lists. Options vary by postcode, the age of the applicant, type of instrument, and time of year - some trustees meet quarterly to decide and will not fund past purchases. A typical aim would be to help students of classical music performance get instruments to use at a specialised music college. This is not something to encourage without a warning. There is not much money nor courting potential in playing classical music, even if you get a rare job in an orchestra. Not even if people hang-around the school gates trying to lure you into the world of Associated Board music exams and careers in orchestras. There is a lot of hobby potential, even alone. Edward Heath used to play the piano to himself to relax in his employer-provided flat after a day being Prime Minister.

I should add links from Sounders recorders, a recorder information site, and the Dolmetch foundation here but you can find them yourself meanwhile.

Specialist wind instrument shops and the odd manufacturer survive, particularly for mouthpieces.
https://www.goldstarbamboosax.com/ is a UK workshop; I don't know what can be done with the instrument.
https://heritagecrafts.org.uk/woodwind-instrument-making-reed-instruments/ .lists some more expensive workshops
https://www.smithwatkins.com/ don't have a price list online but sell to the military.
https://www.dawkes.co.uk/diy-instrument-repairs is a one page guide to putting new cork sheet on some of the joins and the firm has spare parts, including Flugelhorn spares. Dawkes have been known to make the odd saxophone at the top of the range.


Musonix.co.uk publications are written in a different style by expert authors - you can check free sample pages as .pdf


The Music History Handbook


The Music History Handbook is available online from https://musonix.co.uk/the-music-history-handbook-978-0951721469 .  It is not yet available via book wholesale and retail: you can only get it here online. It is in a different style than this web site - much more expert and neutral, with original research and explanations, as well as links to videos of most of the pieces described, so you can listen to the pieces and read about them.

Rehearse Direct and Play

Software and apps don't help you play or jam or rehearse with other people: a band or "ensemble"as some people call it. A piece of UK legislation in the 1990s (if I have got this right) suggested that pupils should learn to "rehearse direct and play" in an "ensemble", but didn't say where the teaching money would come from! This booklet was printed and re-printed as a cheap pocket guide to read when you are on a bus to a rehearsal and unable to read your tablet or smartphone. It uses a technology called print on paper, but is still only £3.50+ postage: cheaper than a lot of apps.