At Nolan Ryan Junior High, we recommend instruments that we feel offer the best available combination of quality and value. The instruments that we recommend are chosen based on yearly evaluations of currently available instruments and accessories. There are many, many brands and models of instruments and accessories available for purchase, all with different standards and specifications. If you have a question about an instrument or accessory on this list, or if you have a question about a comparable instrument or accessory, please let us know.
Please do not purchase any instrument or accessory other than those listed without contacting us first.
After the first year of playing, some students will start to notice that they have "outgrown" their instrument. What that means is that they will reach a level where they won't be able to greatly improve their sound or technical ability without using a better-made instrument.
Instruments designed to be played by a beginner are typically mostly machine-made, and designed for easy initial playing and easy repairing should that be necessary. Beginner instruments are typically made from less expensive materials, with lower standards of craftsmanship. After a year or so, some students will reach a point where they need a better-made instrument to move their playing to the next level. There is a higher level of hand craftsmanship to a step-up instrument. The instrument is designed to be played by a more advanced player; it may be easier to play in tune, play with a more resonant sound, or easier to use more air. The key or valve system may be better made as well, allowing the player to continue developing their technical ability.
Like beginner instruments, there is great variety in the brands and models of step-up instruments. Some companies will label their instruments with terms like "intermediate," even though it is essentially a beginner instrument with one nice feature. To avoid this, again please do not purchase any instrument other than those listed without contacting us first.
NRJH Recommended Instrument Step Up List