Single Reed Advice (clarinet, saxophone)
Please consult with your child before buying reeds - the strength (number) and brand make a big difference! I advise not purchasing more than 10 reeds at a time because students may "outgrow" them quickly. Most students can get by on 2 reeds per month (20 reeds per school year), but it can vary.
Double Reed Advice (oboe, bassoon)
Please consult with your child before buying reeds - the strength (thickness) and brand make a big difference! I advise not purchasing more than 3-4 reeds at a time because students may "outgrow" them quickly. Most reeds will last 1-2 months if properly cared for. Most students will use 6-8 reeds per year, but it can vary.
Hand-me-down and Bargain Instrument Advice
Hand-me-down saxophones, clarinets, and flutes that are older than 10-15 years often require so much repair work that a new or rental instrument would be less expensive and will play better. Hand-me-down trumpets and trombones will usually work fine after a $100 trip to the repair shop. I highly recommend against inexpensive "bargain" instruments available online or through big box stores. They break very easily and play poorly. Such an instrument will hold a student back significantly and cause a lot of frustration.
"Step-Up" Instrument Advice
The most common time parents purchase a "step-up" instrument is when their child enters high school. However, students can benefit from a step-up instrument in middle school if they are performing at an advanced level or auditioning for County/Region Bands. Please consult with me or a private lesson teacher first. Step-up recommendations can also be found on the chart underneath. A step-up mouthpiece can be a less expensive alternative and can make a big difference in sound quality.