Whether you are in your weekly lesson or practicing on your own, there are a lot of useful tools that you can be using to best prepare for your woodwind lessons. Below, I’ve compiled a list of useful accessories for your woodwind lessons in Seattle that I believe every student or player can benefit significantly from owning.
This one is huge. It is vitally important for every musician of every age group or skill level to own a metronome. Why? Nothing is more honest than a metronome. Metronomes help us see where we tend to play too slow or too fast. Using it often helps one establish a strong internal sense of rhythmic integrity when playing. When my students come back to a lesson after practicing with a metronome, I can immediately notice a positive difference. Learning how to use a metronome can be challenging, so ask your Seattle woodwinds teacher to help set you on the right path in your woodwind lessons in Seattle. And fortunately, there are many great free metronome applications available on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop!
Another very important tool is a tuner. Practicing with a tuner helps students play better in tune, as they begin to learn what their pitch tendencies are, such as learning that certain notes tend to lean too high or too low. Once they become more familiar with these tendencies, they can learn how to adjust when they play with others. This results in a better ensemble sound! They can also bring their tuner to rehearsals and tune their instrument before rehearsal begins or check themselves when they are unsure about their intonation (how in tune they are compared with those around them). As with metronomes, there are many tuner applications that are compatible with all of your devices.
If you or your student have ever examined your instrument closely, you are likely aware that woodwind instruments have a lot of tiny screws on many ball bearings. These help hold certain keys, rods, and other contraptions together on the instrument. If a screw falls out, it can cause a complete malfunction until it is put back in. They are also very annoying to put back once they fall off. You will notice that screws tend to loosen and stick out over time. Don’t worry this is completely normal. Owning a set of small screwdrivers can spare you some headache when this begins to happen. Eyeglass screwdriver sets tend to work perfectly here, as they use similarly sized screws. I recommend that parents help younger students fix any screws that are out of place. Keeping a close eye on these can save you a trip to the music store for repairs, and this will best prepare your student for their woodwind lessons in Seattle.
Most woodwind instruments use cork to help the various joints of the instrument stay together. Sometimes these corks can make it difficult to put the instrument together and take it apart. Instead of forcing one way or the other and risk breaking parts of the instrument (this is a top reason for woodwind instruments breaking), I recommend having some cork grease on hand to help out. They come in what looks like chapstick containers. Apply a small amount of cork grease around the entire cork whenever you notice a tough cork between the joints. Never apply too much grease in one sitting or apply grease multiple times in the same day. This may have to be done several times over a couple weeks for lasting change to take place, but I guarantee that it will.
Reed cases are relatively inexpensive, yet they are a safe way to store your students’ reeds. Reeds often come in very small plastic containers, but I find that they do not protect the reed very well. In fact, I have a theory that they wear them down even quicker. Having a reed case avoids these issues, as they are built to store reeds in a much safer way.
I always recommend that students have extra reeds, ligatures, and even an extra inexpensive mouthpiece on hand. You never know when you will need any of these items due to accidentally stepping on or breaking anything. Mistakes happen with these small items often, so I strongly believe that it is always worth having backups on hand!
Aside from accessories, it will be helpful for students to do more research about their woodwind instruments. There are plenty of online resources for learning music.
If you don’t have a woodwinds teacher yet, consider hiring one of our tutors at Lessons In Your Home. All of our instructors are professional musicians and gifted instructors. Our teachers will come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are being taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your child! Contact us today to learn more.
By Brian Schappals