Meri’s Musical Musings

Basic equipment necessary for home practice for band and orchestra students

Posted on: March 25, 2012

Besides the instrument, there are a few items that are necessary for beginning band and orchestra students. Here are my top 8 items.

A Music Stand. Without a music stand to practice, many beginning band and orchestra students will prop their music on a dresser or chair, which causes problems with posture and often the tone suffers, especially in wind players.

A full length mirror. This will be helpful in having students check their posture, bow-hold, bow movement, embouchure,and  finger shape and their positions.

A good-quality mouthpiece. Especially with clarinets and saxophones, the mouthpiece that comes with those instruments are mainly useful as doorstops. A quality mouthpiece makes it much easier to produce a good tone, especially in the higher registers of the instrument.

An extra box of reeds or strings. For those moments when a reed chips or just won’t play, or a string snaps in the middle of the practice session.

High quality lighting. If necessary, consider getting the student a music stand light, such as the types used by musicians who play in pit orchestras for musicals.

An electronic tuner. For students to develop an accurate sense of intonation (tuning) of the instrument.

A metronome. This can help students make sure they play their pieces and technical exercises at the correct speed. It is especially helpful when the student auditions for special ensembles, as many will require a minimum speed for scales.

A keyboard or piano, with some basic instruction on how it relates to music theory. So that students can learn the relationship between the notes printed on the page, and how they correspond to the keyboard.

If the student is a percussionist, there are a couple of other items you should seriously consider:

A snare drum with drum sticks, or at least a drummer’s practice pad. Since they are not allowed to take their instruments home, you will have to supply them with one. The drummer’s practice pad is often around $20-$30 and may come with a pair of sticks.

A 2-octave glockenspiel. A basic one that will probably be suitable for the first 2-3 years of most school music programs, is called Angel Glockenspiel, and sells for $30-$40 depending on where you purchase one.


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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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