The tuba is an instrument that belongs in the brass family. It is the largest instrument and has the lowest pitch compared to other instruments. Some people mistake the tuba for the trumpet. Most tuba players are known as tubaists or tubists, but in different groups and places tubaists are named differently. A person who plays the tuba in an orchestra in the the United Kingdom is simply known as a tuba player, but in a military band or a brass band a tuba player is known as a bass player.
In marching bands and orchestras tuba players don’t really get the limelight and are sometimes the butt of the joke in the group. But what people don’t really understand is that the tuba is the most essential part of the symphony. The tuba is the backbone of the symphony, without it the music would fall apart. If you have strong arms and a great pair of lungs, the tuba might be the right instrument for you.
Tuba sizes and types are determined by the pitch it plays. BBb and CC tubas are commonly used in large ensembles such as a band or an orchestra. Amateur tuba players use BBb tubas. BBb tubas are commonly used in high school marching bands and amateur adult tuba players. Professional orchestras use the CC tuba. In the U.S. professional tuba players use CC tubas together with BBb tubas.
A common mistake most amateur tuba players commit is buying tubas that have mouthpieces that are a size too large or too small for their mouths. Consulting a professional tubaist with regards to knowing the right mouthpiece size is essential. Different mouthpiece sizes suit the embouchure of different tuba players. It also helps produce a certain timbre or to optimize different playing styles. If you are planning to rent or buy a used tuba, make sure you buy a new mouthpiece that is best suited for you.
Mouthpieces are sometimes made of fiberglass or metal. A fiberglass mouthpiece is sometimes used as a substitute instead of metal because the temperature change does not affect its intonation as much as a metal mouthpiece. Fiberglass mouthpieces may work and are relatively inexpensive but over time you may some quality overtones and sound.
The tuba is a relatively large instrument and its weight is not to be taken lightly. Unless you are playing a sousaphone, you must find the appropriate chair for you. A good sturdy chair must be used when practising the tuba for the first time. It maintains the proper balance and posture to build the skills that will help keep your notes pure. A basic hard-backed chair without arm rests is appropriate when practicing the tuba.
When playing the tuba for the first time, you must sit on the edge of the chair and relax. Your back should be kept straight with the head held comfortably lifted. Your back should not lean on the back of the chair so as to avoid slouching, and lastly your feet must be flat on the ground.
Like most beginners playing other instruments, lessons are definitely recommended. Learning to play the tuba requires an in-person instruction. Whether you are in a school band or getting private lessons, acquiring a one-on-one lesson is a good way to keep you from developing bad habits and moving forward with your playing abilities.