Whether you’re a middle school, high school, or college-aged musician, heading back to school can be difficult. Not only do you need to get back into the swing of things mentally but, if you’re part of a marching band or school orchestra, the extra practicing can take a toll on your body. To help prepare yourself for the hustle and bustle of the school year, here’s a list of back-to-school accessories that are essential for any musician. Plus, if you hit the sale racks early or purchase online at just the right time, you can save yourself some extra cash in the process.
Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer
This might seem like an odd choice, but when your hands are covered in something sticky and you’re heading to band practice you’ll thank yourself for tossing wet wipes or hand sanitizer in your gig bag. Although this is an essential for student musicians, it should be an essential for students in general. After all, according to the CDC, elementary school kids get eight to 12 cold or flu cases each school year. Although the number is about half that for older kids, it’s easy for viruses and bacteria to spread through schools. Protect yourself (and your instrument) by always having antibacterial wet wipes or hand sanitizer on hand at all times. If you come across a great sale, pick up a bottle for the classroom- in addition to protecting your classmates, you’ll win brownie points with your teacher!
Metronome and Tuner
Depending on the instrument you play, you’ll need a metronome or tuner. In most cases you’ll need both. Whether you prefer old-school analog metronomes or state-of-the-art digital tuners, the Music & Arts store has a variety of options for you to choose from. For added convenience, choose a two-in-one tuner and metronome combo so you can use the same accessory to stay in tune and play in time. If you’d truly like to take your musicianship into the 21st century, download some helpful apps directly to your cell phone. From tuners to songwriting tabs, here are some of our favorite apps for musicians.
Although sun protection is recommended for everyone and is never a bad idea, this one is on the list especially for musicians in marching bands. Since you’ll be spending most of your time practicing and performing outdoors, protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is key. After all, marching in a parade or at a football game with a heavy uniform and heavy equipment rubbing against your sunburn is as painful as it gets. Whether it’s in the form of hats, protective clothing, or SPF, anything you can do to protect yourself is recommended. When applying sunscreen of any type, make sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before picking up or touching your instrument.
Reusable Water Bottle
Whether you’re breaking a sweat running from class to class or marching on the football field, staying hydrated is key. The National Weather Service estimates that 175 Americans die from heat-related illnesses each year, including dehydration, sunstroke, and heat exhaustion. Although marching band teachers are encouraged to watch their students for signs of heat fatigue and dehydration, it’s a tough job for anybody to handle- especially those who may be “in charge” of dozens of students. Studies show that students who are well hydrated report feeling better, improved mental acuity, and more productive rehearsals. If you have trouble drinking enough water, try purchasing a water bottle that speaks to you. Whether it’s Hello Kitty or your favorite sports team, studies show that if you like the way your water bottle looks you’ll be more inclined to drink from it.
A Sturdy Case
If you aren’t making the effort to protect your instrument from harm, then why bother purchasing it in the first place? Would you buy a brand new car and never take it in for an oil change or regularly scheduled maintenance? If you answered “no”, why would an expensive saxophone or violin be any different? An instrument is an investment in your future, so treat it well. Although the size and price of durable cases will range from instrument to instrument, there are some general things to keep in mind. The harder the case the more protection, so purchase accordingly. If your child is concerned about not being able to carry the case, cases for most instruments are manufactured with wheels. For tips and advice that’s specific to your instrument, browse our blog or speak with your music teacher.
The Right Accessories
In addition to cases, metronomes, and tuners, there are a variety of essential accessories that are specific to certain instruments. For example, violinists and cellists will need spare strings and rosin, while trombonists and tubists will need mouthpieces and mutes. Not to mention everything you’ll need to take care of and maintain your instrument. For a full list of essential accessories for your instrument, enter your instrument in the search bar of our blog or talk to your music teacher. Even better, head into one of our retail stores for expert advice on everything music: products, rentals, lessons, and repairs.
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