6 Must-Haves for Back to School Music Lessons

Back to School Music Lessons


It’s time for parents and teachers to shop for back to school supplies. If your child is a musician, it’s also time to make sure she (or he) has everything she needs to get started with this year’s school music program. Feeling prepared, confident, and ready for music lessons can keep students focused and interested in their music lessons.

Buying the right back to school accessories can help students stay motivated. Here’s a quick list of some items to help students achieve success and remain enthusiastic about learning their instruments.


1) Instrument Care Kits

Proper instrument care and cleaning should be established from the start, no matter if your child rents or owns his (or her) instrument. Instruments that are properly cared for sound better and are easier to play. Poorly maintained instruments discourage students because they make it harder to get a pleasant tone. Even if you rent, you will want to make sure your child develops a habit of caring for his instrument.

  • To avoid the possibility of damage, look for cleaning and maintenance products designed specifically for your instrument.

  • Proper humidity is particularly important for wooden instruments. Having an instrument humidifier is essential in the winter months when heating dries out our homes and schools.

  • Never leave an instrument in a vehicle or anywhere that it will be exposed to extreme hot and cold environments.

  • Woodwinds require swabbing to remove excess moisture after playing.

  • Instrument corks should be lubricated to prevent damage to the corks and make assembly and disassembly easier.

  • Brass valves and slides require lubrication. Also, in between “baths,” a specially designed polishing cloth can maintain the shine.

  • Instrument mouthpieces should be consistently cleaned. If not, they could become a breeding ground for bacteria and even cause illnesses.

Click here to browse the care kits.


2) Music Stand

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your child could just put his music down on the table or counter and play that way. Not having the music on a stand that can be adjusted to eye level and allowsmusic stand for upright viewing encourages poor playing posture. It is critical that children establish proper playing form when they are young to avoid repetitive strain injuries when they are older. Your child’s teacher should be able to give you some posture pointers so you can monitor the child’s form during practice time at home.

Selection considerations:

  • Fold up stands allow easy transport to festivals and performances outside of school. Try folding the stand yourself to assess if it’s easy enough for your child to fold.

  • Make sure it’s sturdy enough so it won’t flop over with the weight of books, nor be easily tipped by dogs, cats, or siblings.

  • Colors are fun, but the teacher may prefer the more formal look of a black stand in case it needs to be used occasionally in a performance situation.

  • For most instruments, you will want enough height adjustment so it could be used in sitting or standing positions.

  • The angle of the desk should be adjustable.

  • Look for folding stands that come with a carrying case.

Click here to browse the music stands.


3) Tuner/Metronome Combo

Invest in a combined tuner/metronome to help students with at-home practice. Along with keeping time, it’s a great way to develop and refine sense of accurate pitch. New single unit models are metronomeall that’s needed for both pitch and rhythm training.

  • Look for extended frequency range for tuning all instruments.

  • Backlighting enhances the visibility of the LCD display in classroom or dim room setting.

  • Save on batteries by finding one that will turn off automatically after period of nonuse.

  • Advanced models also include recording/playback ability.

Click here to browse the tuners and metronomes.


4) Name Tag

Whether you rent or buy an instrument there is not a lot of differentiation in case models on the market. Avoid mix-ups and protect your investment by making sure there is an ID tag on your child’s case. Requiring name tags on instruments can make any music teacher’s day go smoother.

  • Look for bright colors or a unique design so your child can quickly find the familiar tag, but remind them that they should always read their name as other students may have the similar tag.

  • Even if there’s a spot for it elsewhere, place the tag on the very top of the case, next to or attached to the handle. That makes it more difficult for a student to hurriedly grab the wrong instrument.

  • Write on the tag with a dark but bright-colored Sharpie. And don’t forget to include your cell phone number in case the instrument is left on the bus or misplaced.

  • If you think there are still too many look alike cases, tie an extra bright-colored ribbon on your child’s case to help make identification even easier.

Click here to browse name tags.


5) Method Books

Most music stores have an ongoing relationship with local school districts to stock adequate lesson books chosen by instrumental lesson teachers, as well as supplemental music required for band ormusic class orchestra. If you are a teacher, let your local music stores know which books you will be using this year. If you are parent, check with your local store to see if they have a list of your school district’s required books. Otherwise, e-mail your child’s music teacher before the school year begins to find out what book(s) are required. This way your child can begin browsing the book and warming up his (or her) playing chops before he goes back to school.

  • Remind your child to always bring a pencil to rehearsals and lessons in order to make notes in problem areas.

  • Discourage them from writing in music books or on sheet music in pen.

  • If there is no music store close by, or you can’t find the book you are looking for in a store, a huge selection of music books are available online.

Click here to browse the method books. 


6) Instrument Starter Packs

If your child is a beginner and you are unsure about exactly what accessories she will need, consider covering your bases by purchasing an instrument-specific starter kit. They are also available for instruments not associated with band and orchestra, such as guitar, ukulele, and banjo.

Click here to browse the starter packs.


Now that you are all set with your back to school music needs, make sure you check out these other educational articles about breaking down a score for sight-reading and 5 fun ways to practice scales.




Instead of being dedicated to one instrument, young musicians, or professionals, MakingMusicMag.com is a lifestyle resource for all music makers, regardless of age, instrument, or ability. We focus on providing educational articles teaching people how to play an instrument, but we also favor travel pieces, music related health articles, interesting news stories, and plenty more.

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