Every new and returning student needs some basic school supplies. But music majors need a few unique gadgets as well.
Whether you’re a freshman or a graduate student, you need to prepare for the semester. If you’re going shopping for school supplies, consider a few things on this list.
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Now, on to the school supplies!
Regular School Supplies
While music majors need some special school supplies, they also need regular school supplies. If you’re going to or back to school as a music major keep these things in mind.
Binders, Notebooks, etc.
Like with any other major, you’re going to need somewhere to organize your course materials. A binder is great if you have a lot of handouts or if you have a binder-ready textbook.
Notebooks are nice for classes where you take most of the notes. You may need to take the first few days to determine which classes will need what supplies.
But you should also consider what works best for you. If you prefer using a binder, go with that. Or if you like separate notebooks, then use those to organize your work.
Sure, you can use pens in your music history classes or your non-music classes. But pencils are best for most music-related subjects. In music theory, you may need to erase something that you wrote down.
For your private lessons, you may need to mark something temporarily. I prefer pencils for most things in case I spell something wrong.
That way, I can easily correct it without using white-out or crossing the word off. But if you like pens for certain classes, that’s okay, too.
iPad and Apple Pencil
If you don’t like using technology for your classes, skip this one. But an iPad and Apple Pencil can be a great alternative to a pencil and paper.
I have been using my iPad for sheet music for almost a year, but I haven’t used it much for classes. But I’ll at least give it a try for my flute literature class this semester.
I plan on using my Apple Pencil to take notes using a note-taking app. That way, I can still hand-write, but I won’t have to carry around yet another notebook or folder.
Music School Supplies
When you do have music classes, there are some special school supplies that you’ll need. Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s good to repeat them.
If you’re an instrumental music major, you need to have access to your instrument. It should be in good condition so that you won’t struggle to play it.
As a flute player, I also play piccolo and alto flute. A lot of woodwind players have multiple instruments to worry about, so make sure you keep on top of all of yours.
If you’re a music education major, you may also have different instruments to play in a methods class. And if you have to do marching band, you may have a secondary instrument to use for that, too.
Almost every instrument requires some sort of accessory. Be it for maintenance or amplifying your sound, you need something to help your instrument.
As a flute and piccolo player, I need a swab for both instruments, and I also need a cleaning cloth for the outside. And since I often tend to play both in one lesson or rehearsal, I also like to have a stand for both.
Some people like to use a LeFreque to improve their sound quality, but others hate the device. If you like how it affects your playing, use it.
And when it comes to COVID-related accessories, the evidence is mixed. I wouldn’t recommend using anything to contain aerosols that doesn’t have strong scientific evidence backing it up. But that’s just me.
If you’re in any sort of music theory or analysis course, you should have some blank notation paper. Even music history classes may require you to do some notation, and same with lessons or methods courses.
You can find and print blank notation paper online, or you can buy a notebook of it at a music store. If you use an iPad, you can download notation paper on to it.
Then, you can use an annotation app to add and edit notes.
Even if you can’t think of a class where you will need it, having some notation paper can come in handy. You never know when you’ll need to notate something for a class or your personal practice.
This one is especially important for piccolo playing, but it applies to anyone. Even with social distancing, a lot of schools will be having some sort of group playing.
Being in a large group of musicians means that it can get loud. Earplugs help you protect your hearing. And you can find musicians’ earplugs that won’t completely block the sound.
Instead, the earplugs will lower the volume of the notes. You’ll still be able to hear yourself and other players. But you won’t have to worry about blowing your ears out.
Are you ready for music school? Do you have any other essential music school supplies? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!