Equipment Suggestions

Instrument selection is extremely important for musicians, and we always recommend that students do their research, seek out recommendations and play test instruments and mouthpieces before purchasing.

However, there are also many accessories and smaller items that we recommend students have, as detailed below.  Parents: these are great gift items for the young musician, as a back-to-school item, for the holidays or, really, any time!  Please note: these are only recommendations; in the end, the choice is yours about models, brands, sizes and so forth.

NOTE: All of the following links are to the Woodwind/Brasswind store, but these items can be purchased through most music retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. Woodwind/Brasswind is an iGive affiliate, though, so if you’re planning on making any purchases through their online store, consider creating or signing into your account at iGive so that a percentage of the money you spend at WWBW goes to the Norwell Scholastic Arts Society!


  • Vic Firth Double Sided Practice Pad: Because you’d practice at home more if it didn’t make so much noise.  Everyone wins!
  • Dr. Beat DB-30 Metronome: Metronomes are an absolute must, and if you don’t have a metronome app on a smartphone, this is the way to go.
  • Innovative Percussion FP2 Intermediate Mallet Pack: Two solid sets of keyboard mallets, a set of timpani mallets and concert sticks, with a stick bag for keeping track of it all.  Sticks and mallets are largely a matter of personal preference, but these are an excellent kit at a pretty affordable price.
  • Vic Firth Jazz Brushes (jazz only): Nice all-around brushes, for more sensitive playing.


  • Piston Valve Oil (for piston-valved trumpets, euphoniums/tubas) or Rotor Oil (for rotary valved French Horns and tubas).
  • Slide Grease: For all brass instruments’ tuning and valve slides.
  • Trombotine: For making your trombone slide fast.  Apply a small amount on the stocking of the inner slide.  One tube will quite literally last you twenty years.
  • Trombone Spray Bottle: For making your slide even faster–and it’s quicker, for easy upkeep during rehearsals and gigs.
  • Care Kits: For basic maintenance and cleaning, available for trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba.
  • Trumpet Straight Mute: Indispensible for trumpeters, for both symphonic and jazz.
  • Trombone Straight Mute: Very common accessory in a lot of symphonic music–and occasionally in jazz.
  • Korg TM-40 Digital Tuner/Metronome: Probably the most important practice tools you’ll ever own.  If you don’t have a smartphone with tuner and metronome apps on them, this is the way to go.


  • Mouthpiece: Mouthpieces can make or break your sound, and it’s worth investing in a high-quality one.  While play-testing mouthpieces is always the best option, for concert playing, we generally recommend the Selmer S80 (C*) for alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, and the Vandoren M13 Lyre for Bb Clarinet.  A very good intermediate saxophone mouthpiece is the Rousseau 5 (alto, tenor and bari).  If you’re looking into a jazz-specific saxophone mouthpiece, see me – these are a different issue entirely.
  • Ligature: This holds the reed in place on the mouthpiece–again, they’re largely a matter of personal preference.  Because of their cost and quality, though, we loan out Rovner Mark III ligatures with our school-owned instruments.
  • Reeds: Personal preference here, but we tend to use Vandorens for their general consistency.  Reeds come in stiffnesses, on a scale of 1-5: the higher the number, the thicker the reed.  High schoolers should generally use reeds between 3 and 4, since softer reeds, while easier to play at first, produce a thinner sound as well as more intonation issues and squeaks.  Harder reeds tend to make playing higher notes easier, as well.  (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto, Tenor, Bari)
  • Korg TM-40 Digital Tuner/Metronome: Probably the most important practice tools you’ll ever own.  If you don’t have a smartphone with tuner and metronome apps on them, this is the way to go.
  • Cleaning Rod and cloth (flute) or swab (clarinet, saxophone): Must-haves, for removing moisture from your instrument.
  • Key oil (all woodwinds): For keeping key mechanisms moving easily.
  • Screwdriver and awl set (all woodwinds): For those screws that always back out.
  • Cork grease (clarinet/saxophone): For keeping your corks conditioned and smooth.

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