September 03, 2020
Back-to-School Buying Guide for Musicians
Going back to school can be a stressful prospect for students at any age, but for musicians, there’s a lot more to take care of after all the pens, pencils, paper, and other essentials are purchased. If your child is joining the school band or another music program, or even just returning to lessons after a break, there are a few more things you’ll need to head over to the music store to get. Instead of waiting for the band or music teacher to provide a list, we thought we’d put together a buying guide to help you get you started.
What Band Essentials Can I Get Before School Starts?
Members of the school band are often required to keep their instruments in proper working order. To ensure that your child’s instrument is band-ready ahead of the start of the school year, you should head over to the music store to buy extra reeds, neck straps, ligatures, swabs, etc. In other words, whatever is necessary for your child’s instrument to play, they should already have when classes start.
Exactly what you need to buy depends on the instrument that your child plays or will be playing. If you and your child are new to that instrument, you should speak with someone at the music store. Around this time of year, music store employees often know to expect parents with children in band and music classes and are familiar with the local schools’ requirements. If not, however, they should still be familiar enough with the instrument in question to be able to tell you exactly what you’ll need to have.
What Items Does My Child Definitely Need?
Some items are typically recommended for all students to own, regardless of which instrument they play.
Many band programs require every member to have a music stand that is kept at home. It’s incredibly important that a child has a good music stand so that they can practice effectively and improve over the course of the year. When a child has to play while reading music that’s lying flat on their bed, propped up on a nearby table, or held up by some other means, they aren’t able to focus all of their attention on the music that they are trying to play. Ensure that your child has the best possible practice experience by picking up a good quality music stand ahead of the new school year.
Something else that’s recommended (and often required) for every member of the band regardless of which instrument they play is cleaning supplies. As we’ve discussed before, keeping an instrument clean and properly maintained keeps it sounding its best, so it’s a good idea no matter what. When your child is joining a school band program, keeping the instrument properly maintained is generally required.
Band teachers will check to make sure that your child is taking good care of whatever instrument they play. Some teachers even assume that if a student is neglecting their instrument, they may be neglecting their practice. Help your child show that she or he is serious by making all the tools necessary for cleaning her or his instrument are ready and available on day one. For students playing brass or woodwind instruments, a care kit is usually an great option There are many different kinds of care kits, swabs and even pad-savers that’ll keep their instruments sounding great throughout the school year.
Tuner and Metronome
While many instruments in a school band do not require a tuner, string players can always benefit from having one. If your child is going to be playing a string instrument in the school band, make sure that they have a tuner and are already familiar with how to use it, if possible, before the start of the school year. Many band programs also require students to have a metronome. Since keeping time is important in a school band, having a metronome at home to practice with is a great idea even if the school doesn’t require it. A metronome is an item you can purchase before your child starts school.
What Should I Wait to Get?
There are also a couple of items that you’ll need to get, but should probably wait to buy until you know exactly what the band or music teacher requires. A good example of this is a method book. Sometimes, teachers or schools will mail parents ahead of the start of the school year about what’s required for a student in band. If your child’s school does this, you should know before they start which method books the teacher requires.
If your child is returning to band or a music program that they took part in the last school year, they’ll probably advance to the next method book in the same series. For example, if they started with Book 1 last year, it’s probably safe to assume that they’ll need to get Book 2 for their second year. Getting a method book early is good because you’re giving your child a chance to start practicing early. For students who are brand new to an instrument, it’s still a good idea to buy the method book early, though it’s best to wait to use it until they have a teacher to guide them.
When Should I Buy or Rent an Instrument?
Music & Arts shares a commitment with band directors and music educators everywhere to help aspiring musicians realize their dream of playing and creating music. Together we work to break down the barriers to learning an instrument and living a life of participation in the arts. Just two of the ways we do that is by providing easy financing and rental options.
Competitive rates and great special promotions enable the musician at any level to purchase or rent the instrument that is right for them. Well-qualified customers receive quick approval and the process is simplified with automatic payments through our EZ-Pay system. It’s just part of our goal to ensure that our 200+ convenient store locations offer music instruments for every budget.
Learn More about Financing with Music & Arts
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