July 06, 2015
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 keep their instrument in tip-top shape. We’ll break down some essential band accessories your child will need. If your band director has provided us with their preferred items, 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 clarinet reeds to tuba slide grease and everything in between.
Essential Accessories for all Students
Whether you play a string instrument or a brass instrument, there are band accessories any new musician will need to stock up on. 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
In addition to the instrument itself, there are a variety of must-have strings accessories that are intended to keep your child’s instrument in good playing shape. Others on this list are intended to improve their comfort while practicing.
- Rock stop – Also called an “endpin”, this accessory is for cello and helps prevent slippage.
- Shoulder rest/sponge – Prevents violas and violins from slipping.
- Rosin– Players 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! Keep a backup set of replacement string in that case.
- 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
Woodwinds are delicate instruments, and have lots of different parts your child will need to protect. That’s where “guards” come into play. If your child plays a woodwind instrument, you’ll want to make sure they have these items in their case.
- Instrument swab – Typically made of high-quality fiber, instrument swabs will thoroughly clean your child’s instrument while protecting its finish.
- Reeds– A thin strip of material which vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument.
- Reed guard– An 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 grease – A lip balm-like grease used on the corks to make putting the instrument together possible without damaging the cork
- Starter pack– These all-in-one kits usually have everything a new woodwind musician will need, including reeds, cork grease, and cleaning supplies.
Essential Brass Accessories
Brass accessories have many different uses – all of which contribute to the sound and playability of the brass instrument. Brass mouthpieces and mutes play a major role in an instruments sound production. 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:
- Valve, Slide & Key Oil – Valve, slide, and key oil are lubricants for the valves, slides, and keys of your child’s instrument.
- Slide Grease – Odorless grease for lubing the tuning slides of your child’s brass instrument.
- Mouthpiece – The part of your child’s musical instrument that’s placed between or against the lips.
- Mute –A 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. 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.
Buy Accessories at Music & Arts
You’ll find one of the largest selections instrument accessories on our website. If you have a specific question about a particular product, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. We offer educator-approved instruments and accessories from some of the most trusted brands in the industry.