Whether you’re joining your school orchestra or band or are taking private music lessons on your own, your first day of music class is something to be excited about. After all, you’ll learn everything from music theory and how to play your instrument to responsibility and confidence. Through all that excitement it can be hard to focus on what’s really important: showing up to your first lesson as prepared as you can possibly be. From your instrument to a case, here’s everything you’ll need on your first day of music class.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but some students assume they won’t need their instrument on their first day of music class. While this may be true for some instruments (i.e., some teachers prefer to focus on posture and breathing on the first day for students of larger instruments like the cello or tuba), it’s always best to bring your instrument just in case. If you aren’t sure how to purchase an instrument, you can always rent an instrument until you’re ready for one of your own. Once you’re ready, check out our Buying Guides for more information. We have a Buying Guide for pretty much every instrument, including the Electric Guitar, Viola, Tuba, Saxophone, Trombone, Flute, Cello, Violin, Trumpet, and Clarinet.
A Sturdy Case
You may think you can get away with carrying your instrument around without a case, at least for a little bit. Think again. All responsible musicians keep their instruments in their cases, as it only takes a second for your instrument to be damaged beyond repair. Even if your instrument is insured, avoid the hassle by preventing damage in the first place. When it comes to cases, there are a few different varieties, including hard cases and soft cases, sometimes referred to as gig bags. Gig bags are okay for short trips, but hardshell cases are recommended in almost every instance. Similar to Instrument Buying Guides, we have an entire series of articles that focus on buying cases. Simply select your instrument from the drop-down menu and find the correct guide.
On your very first day (and beyond!) your music teacher is expecting questions and should be prepared to answer them. In the days and weeks leading up to your first lesson, you’ll probably have quite a few questions about your instrument, how it works, how to keep it clean, and what to expect from lessons. To make it easier to remember your questions, write them down as they come to mind. If you think you’re being annoying with all your questions, relax. It’s totally normal to be curious about your lessons, your instrument, and music in general. When getting to know your teacher, see if he or she has any questions for you–after all, the success of music lessons is just as dependent on your teacher getting to know you as it is on you getting to know your teacher.
Even if you don’t touch your metronome on the first day of music class, it’s something you’ll be using consistently for the rest of the time you spend learning music. The metronome is essential to learning music, and it’s something that virtually every music teacher swears by. Some metronomes have built-in tuners, which are recommended for students of instruments which need to be tuned often. There may be a few other accessories (including strings, listed below) your teacher may want you to bring, so feel free to reach out to them before lessons. Since there’s so much variance from instrument to instrument, it’s tough for us to be comprehensive.
Spare Strings (If Needed)
Like the metronome, you may not need spare strings on your first day of music class, but they’re good to have nonetheless. If you purchased a used instrument, you should change out the strings either way, since there’s no telling how old the strings from the previous owner may be. Some teachers even recommend switching out strings on brand new instruments, as many manufacturers ship out their instruments with cheap strings. If you aren’t sure how to change your strings, don’t worry–your teacher probably already has this lesson in mind. If they haven’t gotten there yet, you can check out these articles in the meantime: How to Change Electric Guitar Strings, Choosing Acoustic Guitar Strings, How to Choose the Right Violin Strings, and How to Choose the Right Viola Strings.
A Positive Attitude
Last but not least, a positive attitude and an open mind are essential to learning music successfully. It isn’t always easy to stay motivated, especially when playing outside with friends seems more interesting than sitting down and practicing your instrument, but staying focused is key. Plus, studies show that there’s a positive correlation between a pupil’s attitude towards music and their achievement. Looking for some tips on how to motivate your child? Check out How to Motivate Your Child to Practice.