New Musician Must-Haves: Essential Accessories for Your Instrument

If you’re the parent of a budding musician, or a budding musician yourself, you’ll need to stock up on strings, cleaning supplies, slide grease, rosin, and whatever else your child needs to keep their instrument in tip-top shape right away. Whether it’s your child’s first year in band or orchestra or you misplaced your list from last year, we’ll break down the essential items your child will need.

Just look up their school supply list, find their instrument, and head to your local Music & Arts. We’re a one-stop shop for everything you need, from flute reeds to tuba slide grease and everything in between.

Essential Accessories for all Students 

Whether you play a string instrument or a brass instrument (or something truly unique like the accordion!) there are a few accessories that pretty much any new musician will need to stock up on. Without further ado, here are a few things you should add to your shopping list right away:

  • Method books– Method books vary from instrument to instrument, so make sure you’re purchasing one that’s “made” for your instrument of choice.
  • Sheet music– When purchasing sheet music, purchase something that you’ll actually want to play–this will make learning your new instrument even more fun.
  • Music stand– Another essential, a sturdy music stand will hold your music while you play. (& can help prevent sore necks, too!)
  • Tuner– How can you play an instrument if it’s not in tune? This is not essential for each and every instrument, so check with your teacher before purchasing!
  • Metronome– A necessary skill any musician must have is playing in time, and a metronome will help you keep time. If you need a tuner, too, consider purchasing a metronome/tuner combo.
  • Care kits– Whether you purchase cleaning accessories one by one or as part of a kit, you should be wiping down your instrument every time you play (at minimum!)
  • Gig bag/case–  Gig bags and cases are made to fit specific instruments, so make sure you’re purchasing a case that will fit yours.

Essential String Accessories (Viola, Violin, Cello, or Bass)

In addition to the instrument itself (pretty obvious!), there are a variety of must-have accessories that are intended to keep your child’s instrument in good playing shape. Other on this list (shoulder rest/sponge) are intended to improve their comfort and overall enjoyability while practicing. In addition to the must-have accessories for all musicians (we’ll get to that at the end), your child will also need to pick up the below before their first day of school:

  • Rock stop Also called an “endpin”, this accessory is intended to prevent slippage. 
  • Shoulder rest/sponge The goal of a shoulder rest is to allow a more comfortable attitude while playing by adding height to the shoulder and preventing the instrument from slipping
  • RosinPlayers of bowed string instruments rub cakes or blocks of rosin on their bow hair so it can grip the strings and make them speak, or vibrate clearly.
  • Replacement strings– You never know when one is going to break! Having a backup set of replacement string is a must for every string instrument musician.
  • Starter Pack-These all-in-one kits usually have everything a new string musician will need, including rosin, spare strings, and cleaning supplies.

Check out our complete list of Essential Orchestral String Accessories.

Essential Woodwind Accessories (Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, Bassoon)

Woodwinds are delicate instruments, and have lots of different parts your child will need to protect–that’s where the “guards” on this list come into play. If your child plays the flute, piccolo, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, or bassoon, you’ll need to make sure they have these items in their case before their first lesson. 

  • Instrument swab- Typically made of high-quality fiber, instrument swabs will thoroughly clean your child’s instrument while protecting its finish; they’re often described as having a magnetic attraction to dirt and dust.
  • ReedsA thin strip of material which vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument.
  • Reed guardAn effective way to keep reeds safe and secure during transport and storage.
  • Pad guard Designed to dry flutes after playing and protect the pads from damage caused by moisture.
  • Neck strap Intended to hold the instrument securely, and in a good position to play.
  • Cork greaseA lip balm-like grease used on the corks to make putting the instrument together possible without damaging the cork
  • Starter packThese all-in-one kits usually have everything a new woodwind musician will need, including reeds, cork grease, and cleaning supplies.

Check out When to Upgrade Your Reeds, Strings, and Mouthpieces.

Essential Brass Accessories (Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Baritone)

Brass accessories have many different uses – all of which contribute to the sound and playability of the brass instrument they are designed for. Brass mouthpieces and mutes play a major role in an instruments sound production, while slide grease and valve, slide, and key oil will keep your child’s brass instrument in tip-top shape. If your child plays the trumpet, trombone, French horn, or baritone, you’ll need to pick up these accessories before they step foot in the classroom:


  • Valve, Slide & Key Oil- Valve, slide, and key oil are lubricants for the valves, slides, and keys of your child’s instrument.
  • Slide GreaseOdorless grease for lubing the tuning slides of your child’s brass instrument.
  • MouthpieceThe part of your child’s musical instrument that’s placed between or against the lips.
  • MuteA pad or cone placed in the opening of a brass instrument intended to deaden the volume.
  • Starter Pack These all-in-one kits usually have everything a new brass musician will need, including slide grease, valve oil, and various cleaning supplies.

Check out our list of Essential Cleaning Supplies for Brass Instruments.

Essential Percussion & Marching Band Accessories

The percussion section of a marching band is what keeps the ensemble ticking (literally), meaning it’s important to make sure your percussionist has the tools they need to do perform. In addition to the drums themselves, here are a few accessories your child will need before the school year:

  • Drum Pads– An electronic device with one or more flat pads that imitate the sounds of a drum kit when struck.
  • Drum sticks-A stick, typically with a shaped or padded head, used for beating a drum
  • Mallets– A wooden or plastic stick with a rounded head, used to play certain percussion instruments such as xylophone and marimba.

Check out Pads, Stools and Sticks: Beyond the Drum Set.

All Musicians

In addition to the method books, ID tags, and recruited school texts required/requested by your child’s teacher, you’ll also need to pick up these must-have accessories for all musicians. Whether your child plays the violin or the baritone horn, these accessories are absolutely essential:

  • Metronome- A device used by musicians that marks time at a selected rate by giving a regular tick
  • Tuner An electronic device for tuning a guitar or other instrument.
  • Music StandA rack or light frame on which written or printed music is supported.
  • Cleaning SuppliesThis varies from instrument to instrument, but usually includes cleaning cloths, cleaning sprays, oils, and polishes.


Buy Accessories at Music & Arts

With hundreds of stores across 25 states, and thousands of products available online, you’ll find one of the largest selections of gear, accessories, and instruments on our website–including all of the accessories on this list! If you have a specific question about a particular product, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. With one of the largest product offerings in the world, we offer educator-approved instruments and accessories from some of the most trusted brands in the industry. Find your local store today!


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