Instrument Buying Tips & Maintenance
Band/Orchestra Instrument Buying & Renting Tips
Purchase or rent the best possible instrument you can reasonably afford for your student. Help your student to remember to take their instrument and music home every day. Insist on proper care and maintenance of your student’s instrument. Please do not be afraid to reach out if you need extra help acquiring an instrument – Lone Star Middle School has a very limited supply of instruments to rent for this purpose
Many manufacturers create instruments of such poor quality that it harms students’ abilities to learn, resulting in poor or even damaging muscle development. In other words, do not buy an instrument from an online retailer that doesn't specialize in musical instruments. The deal may seam too good to be true and it always is. The following brands are well-trusted:
Required Instrument Materials
Each student needs to have a cleaning kit, regardless of instrument.
Woodwinds – You will need swabs, reeds, and cork grease for reed instruments. Purchase a reed guard to help them last longer. Double reeds should have a small container with a stand holder for their reeds.
Brass – You will need a cleaning snake and mouthpiece brush, valve oil, slide grease, and for trombones, slide oil or slide cream with a fine water mister.
Percussion – Every percussion student needs a snare (or hard rubber practice pad) and bell kit (no note names written on bars), and a pair of SD1 General sticks (or equivalent). Maintenance: Be cautious with the snare mechanism. Drum heads will need re-tuned on occasion, and cleaned with a soft, lightly damp cloth. Sticks and mallets may need replaced from time to time – take care of them.
String Instruments – Regardless of which string instrument your student chooses, you will need a quality bow, rosin, cleaning cloth, extra strings, and a Korg tuner.
Cello – In addition to the items above, you will need a rockstop or an endpin anchor.
Double Bass – In addition to the items above, you will need a rockstop and a French bow, not a German bow.
Why do we do instrument placements?
Instrument placements is one of the most important things we do all year. It sets the balance for bands and orchestras all the way through middle school, high school, college, and beyond! Each year, we place a certain number of students on each instrument, and that number depends on what the instrument and ensemble is. Some instruments (saxophone, percussion, bass) are louder and we need fewer of them. Some instruments (flute, clarinet, viola) are quieter and we need more of them. An orchestra full of violinists is not an orchestra. A band full of drummers is not a band. Regardless of the instrument, each has an important role to play (pun intended) and we need representation on each.