August 15, 2019

The school year is upon us once again! So while you soak in the last few long summer nights, let us ease your mind on the stress of sending your child off to start school and their new music program! We have ALL of the things that you need to set your child off to a successful start to the school year, and we've got your back to school band/orchestra essentials list here!

Essential #1: Instrument

Obviously if your student is in a music class at school, they are going to need an instrument. When it comes to getting that instrument for your student to use for the school year, you have a few different options. 

The first option is renting an instrument. We offer rentals through Veritas Instrument Rentals, their rental program is a rent to own program, so if your student falls in love with their instrument you can just keep making payments towards that instrument until it is paid off! We love Veritas rentals because they are very affordable, and they offer great programs for upgrading instruments or upsizing instruments that allow you to apply payments made towards your old instrument to the new instrument you are renting! They also have a great program that allows you to rent from home and have the instrument sent to your house! You can get more details on rentals by calling us at 801-399-1418 or visiting and using code 'riverdale'! Be sure to ask how you can get a free month of rent as well! 

The second option is purchasing an instrument! We offer many student instrument options that are both new and used! Often times it ends up being cheaper to outright purchase an instrument rather than rent, and if your student decides not to continue on with the instrument you can sell it to recoup some of your money!

All of our instruments, rental or those for purchase, have been thoroughly checked over by our in house technician to ensure that they are in perfect playing condition and are ready to go for the school year! 

Essential #2: Accessories & Care Supplies

So you have your instrument, but there are a few other things that your student will need to be able to play and care for their instrument. These items vary a little bit based on which type of instrument they are playing, so let's break it down a little.

If your student is playing a brass instrument cleaning their instrument is one of the most important things they can do as they are very prone to getting a bit disgusting inside. Thankfully there are supplies out there to help prevent the instrument getting disgusting. For one, they will want a mouthpiece brush to help prevent bacteria growth with can cause oxidation and lead to sores on the player's mouth. Just take one of these brushes and run it around and through the mouthpiece when done playing and it will make a huge difference! Then you want to clean the inside of the tubing of the instrument, this can be accomplished in a couple of different ways; you can use a snake (a flexible piece of wound wire with a brush and both ends) and feed it through the instrument, or you can take the slightly more fun route and use Herco Spitballs which are little balls soaked in cleaning agent that you insert in one end of the instrument and blow it through to the other end! Both options are great! Students will also need valve oil and slide grease to keep all parts of their instrument moving smoothly. We have all of these supplies individually as well in instrument specific care kits which will save you a little bit of money! 

If you have a student who is playing a woodwind instrument they will need to have a swab to clean the inside of their instrument with. They will also need cork grease to make it easier to put their instruments together/get their mouthpiece on and off. Key oil is another thing that woodwind players need to use to keep all of their keys moving smoothly. All of these items can be purchased individually or in care kit. The biggest thing that woodwind players need is reeds. Reeds are the things that allow their instrument to produce sound, they also come in various thicknesses. The thickness of the reed impacts the tone it produces but also the ease of play; thicker reeds produce a better tone but are a bit more difficult to play whereas thinner reeds are easier to play with but don't sound quite as nice. We recommend that beginning students use a size 2 reed because it finds the best middle ground between ease of play and quality of tone. Since reeds are thin pieces of reed (like the plant, they got really creative with the name didn't they), they are prone to warping and chipping. To prevent this from happening, we recommend using a reed guard to store reeds. Reed guards hold reeds flat and put pressure on them to prevent warping and they also protect reeds from chipping while bouncing around in the instrument case. 

For orchestra students, they will need to make sure they have a good rosin. Rosin is a refined, hardened tree sap which is rubbed on orchestra bows to make them have a slight sticky quality to them which produces sound when it is bowed across the strings by pulling the strings. Rosin comes in both light and dark varieties, for our dry climate in Utah we recommend using dark rosin as it is a bit tackier than light rosin. Those playing violin and viola will also need a shoulder rest to help hold their instrument in the proper place when playing, we love Everest shoulder rests because they are adjustable between sizes of instrument and are also height adjustable (plus they come in some fun colors). 

Percussion students will need to make sure that they have a set of drum sticks, snare drum sticks, rubber mallets, and yarn mallets. We offer bundles of all of these together with a convenient carrying bag to make it easier to keep them all together and save a little bit of money. They will also need a practice pad to help them learn stick control.

For all instruments we recommend getting a cleaning cloth and polish to keep the instrument looking its absolute best!

Essential #3: Books

Every student will need a book which they will take to class and then bring home to practice out of. There are so many different beginning band and orchestra method books out there, so your student's teacher will tell them which method they will be using for the year. We carry all of the most popularly used books in our area so you can pop by and grab a book for your student any time! If you don't know which book your student needs, we also keep a list of which books each school is using to help you out a little bit! 

Those are the back to school essentials for band and orchestra students! We are always here to help you find the things you need for your student! This year we are even offering a Classroom Rewards program where you can earn money for your school band and orchestra program by shopping with us!