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A Back to School Guide for the Panicking Band Student/Parent

Judging by the depressed faces of the children I see all around me and the anxious, angry faces of the parents accompanying their depressed children, I get the sense back-to-school is just around the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "NOT AGAIN!!"

If you're a band student (or the parent of a band student) getting everything organized and ready to go can be a bit daunting. Here at the shop, we try to make sure we can make it as easy on you, your wallet, and your attention span as possible...which is why I slapped together this quick shopping guide for those of you who are just getting started. Here are some tips for most band instruments that we rent out here at the shop: 

Getting Started with…Clarinet!

If you’ve chosen or have been assigned to the clarinet this year, you will need the following things to get you started:

-        Reeds: the single most important accessory for the clarinet, reeds are essential for actually making sound. Fancy that! If you’re just starting out on the clarinet, we recommend either a 2 or a 2.5 reed.

-        Cleaning Supplies: Since you’ll be spending a significant portion of your time spitting into this instrument, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of hygiene. We have pre-made cleaning kits that come with most everything you need here at the shop, as well as pad-savers to keep your clarinet dry and clean and decidedly un-moldy.

-        Cork grease: With a clarinet, there will always be some assembly required. To make sure all the parts fit together correctly, you’ll want to keep ‘em greased. Stock up on a couple tubes of cork grease before the start of the year.

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

Getting Started with…Flute!

Luckily, flutes are generally one of the more low-maintenance instruments . They do not require any reeds or straps or anything of that kind and they are pretty simple to keep clean and organized. The things you’ll definitely need are:

-        Cleaning Supplies: pad savers are typically the way to go with flutes and we have a bunch. We also have pre-made cleaning kits for the flute as well. Be sure to pick up a polishing cloth, too!

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

Getting Started with…Trumpet!

Now here’s a fun instrument to play: a nice, loud trumpet to announce your awesomeness to the world. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

-        Valve oil: since the human mouth is capable of supplying an amazing amount of goopy, sticky stuff, you’ll need to make sure your valves are in tip-top shape. Get stocked up on valve oil so you don’t end up getting sticky, disgusting valves.

-        Cleaning supplies: though it isn’t too difficult to clean a trumpet (about every two weeks, it’s a good idea to give it a warm water bath), it’ll save you some grief to pick up a cleaning kit for the instrument’s daily grind.

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

Getting Started with…Trombone!

Always a crowd favorite, the trombone is a fun instrument to get into. Also, a pretty easy instrument to maintain and take care of…as long as you don’t smack it around too much. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

-        Valve oil & Slide Grease: that big ol’ slide on the end of your trombone won’t work all that well without the proper lubricant. Slide grease is one of the most essential accessories for trombone, as well as valve oil to keep all your mechanisms operating smoothly.

-        Cleaning supplies: a bath every couple weeks is usually the best way to clean a trombone, but you should always be prepared with some extra accessories to keep things shiny and running smoothly. We have pre-made kits here at the shop for you!

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

Getting Started with…Saxophone!

Probably one of the most popular band instruments out there, saxophones get to have a lot of fun. However, they can be pretty heavy-duty rigs and may need some extra TLC now and again. Here’s what you’ll need to started jamming:

-        Reeds: again, without reeds no one can hear ya! If you’re just a beginner, we recommend starting with a 2 or 2.5 reed.

-        Cleaning supplies: we have pre-made gets for saxophone as well as pad savers.

-        Neck strap: saxophones are pretty hefty and the best way to play them comfortably is to get a neck strap. We have cool padded ones for both alto and tenor sax.

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

 

Getting Started with…Snare Drum!

If you’re starting out as a drummer, you have my personal blessing! Get ready to pursue a lifetime of being pretty much the coolest instrument in the band ever…not that I’m biased…ahem. Anyhow, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

-        Sticks:  it’s seriously no fun trying to drum on something with just a pencil or a fork that you stole from cafeteria. Drum sticks are essential for playing in the drum line, and if you’re playing the snare, a good place to start is with a pair of nylon-tipped 5A’s or 5B’s. However, unless specifically told by your teacher, there are no hard and fast rules with drum sticks so don’t be afraid to try different kinds and see what works best for you.

-        Snare stand & hardware: most people get their snare stand with them when they get their gets, but if you’re bringing your own drum to the party, be sure you have something to mount it on.

-        Practice pads: this is to do your neighbors and parents a favor: practicing your snare at home can be super obnoxious and loud. Not to mention, having to schlep your drum to and from school everyday can be pretty monotonous. We recommend having a handy practice pad to keep at home to do your homework there…quietly.

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

Getting Started with…Bell Kit!

Often if you’re placed in the percussion section of the band, you’ll start off learning to read music on a bell kit before you upgrade to drums and other percussion instruments. To get started, you’ll need the following:

-        Mallets: most kits come equipped with mallets, but in case you don’t have a pre-made kit, we have mallets for you here at the shop.

-        Books: Most teachers assign the class a specific book. The book you are looking for is dependent on the school you attend and the grade you’re in so be sure to check with your teacher about which book is for you. We have most of ‘em!

 

Also, keep in mind: if you are in marching band, you will need to get flip folders for your music and lyres in order to the mount them to your instrument. And as far as our rental program goes here, feel free to come in and get the 411 from any of us. But be sure to come in ASAP if you want to beat the rush that will inevitably be bursting in...oh...in about...a week. I better go put on a helment and take some aspirin...

 

Stay excellent and have a good week! 


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