The sousaphone is basically a tuba, with the biggest difference being that the instrument will fit around the body of the musician. This makes it easier for someone in a marching band to carry the instrument and focus more on playing it rather than how to hold and balance it properly for a longer period of time. The fact that this particular instrument is most often seen in marching bands has earned it the name, “marching tuba”. One might wonder why this instrument is called the sousaphone when it is basically a tuba. The instrument is named after John Sousa, who was a well-known composer and conductor.
The sousaphone is a fairly young instrument, only being created in the late 1900s. John Sousa wanted to replace the helicon with the tuba, but the tuba was too big and awkward to use; the sousaphone developed was the answer to his problem. It was an instrument that gave what he wanted out of the tuba, but also offered the convenience and the ease with its special design. This brass instrument has the same length of tubing as other tubas; the main difference is in its sap so that it easily fits around the musician and the bell is over the head so the sound carries better. Another convenience built into this instrument is the ability to remove the bell when the instrument is put into storage or transported somewhere.
People who are not familiar with their instruments will sometimes mistake the tuba and the sousaphone for being completely different instruments when they are, in fact, the same instrument, just designed differently. Someone who is familiar with playing the tuba or a brass instrument will have little difficulty getting used to the sousaphone. The instrument is not overly difficult for people to learn how to play, even if they are completely new to wind instruments.
One will need to learn how to control their breathing and controlling the pitch through their lips, but many will enjoy the ease of playing the sousaphone that many will miss out on when playing the traditional tuba. This could very well be the reason why more people will consider the sousaphone over the tuba. It is quite easy to integrate the sousaphone as a result. The music will not differ from that of the tuba much, so having the opportunity to play this instrument in school bands is quite possible.
The cost of the sousaphone will vary, depending on the material it is made out of and whether or not it was bought new. It is often recommended that new students purchase a used instrument, or one that is made out of fiberglass before upgrading to a more expensive model. This way, a person is not spending a large sum of money on something that the person will have little use for after they have lost interest in the instrument. Many, however, will remain with this particular instrument because they enjoy playing it, as well as the warm sound it has when played right.