Music School Necessities: What to Buy

Are you ready for your first or next year of college as a music student? Consider if you should stock up on some music school necessities.

Music School Necessities | Hannah B Flute

The right supplies can help you get through music theory, algebra, and everything in between. Read on to learn what you should buy before you head back to college!

General School Necessities

Even as a music major, you have to take some general classes. I had to take everything from English composition to environmental science.

Some of my more academic music classes even required more general supplies. Here are some things you should buy for the upcoming school year.

Pencils and Pens

If you plan to do any writing on physical paper, you’ll want some pencils and pens. I know a lot of college students prefer to use pens. However, music majors need pencils in case they have to erase marks on their music.

You can keep some of both in your bag. Then, you can use pens in your academic classes and pencils in your lessons and ensembles.

Paper and Notebooks

Next, make sure you have some paper or notebooks. I liked having notebooks because they were easy to keep organized. But some loose leaf paper is nice, especially if you aren’t sure how a class will work.

You can also combine the two, so you can start with a notebook. If you run out of paper or need to do a homework assignment, you can use the loose paper.


Another more basic school necessity is one or more binders. I found binders work well for classes with a lot of handouts since folders can fill up fast.

A binder can also come in handy for your music stuff. My flute professor in undergrad had us all compile our performance programs, repertoire lists, and other details into a music notebook.

When I use a binder, I like to use sheet protectors. But if you don’t mind, you can punch holes in the paper with a three-hole punch.

Computer and/or Tablet

Of course, you’ll also probably need some sort of computer. I recommend a laptop since you can take it to class or the library. But if all you can get is a desktop, you can still use it in your dorm.

You might also want to get a tablet for taking notes or reading sheet music. A tablet also comes in handy for watching movies or video-chatting with friends and family.

Planner or Calendar

Music majors can easily become very busy. To help manage all of your classes and ensembles, you should use a calendar or planner. It could be as simple as the app on your phone.

Or you could get a physical planner and write everything down. Either way, it’s nice to have somewhere to note recitals and other events you have to attend. Then, you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Music School Necessities

Of course, there are some music school necessities for music majors, minors, and anyone who wants to play in an ensemble. As you shop for supplies, make sure you have some items.

Then, you can start off on the right foot. And you can enjoy playing music in college.

Good Instruments

It may be obvious, but you need your instrument(s). If you’re a pianist, you might want to bring an electronic keyboard in case all of the piano rooms are full when you want to practice.

Otherwise, make sure you bring your instrument and that it’s in good condition. Take your instrument to a professional tech before school starts. They can make any repairs or do basic maintenance.

If you’re a singer, consider seeing a vocal health specialist. Then, you can make sure you aren’t at risk of developing vocal nodules or other problems.

Instrument Accessories

Next, you’ll want to bring some accessories, whatever that means for you. As a flute player, I made sure to have cleaning cloths and rods. I also had a flute stand and piccolo stand to use when switching instruments.

Other woodwind players will need to bring plenty of reeds. Double reed players might want to bring reed-making supplies. String players should have some extra strings and rosin.

If you’re a percussionist, make sure you bring a variety of mallets. And if you’ll be in conducting class, you might want to buy a baton or ask your professor if they’ll help you buy one.

Sheet Music

Of course, you’ll want to bring some sheet music. You can bring the physical copy or digital versions of your pieces.

I’d recommend asking your professor what they want you to focus on for the next semester. Then, you can buy the sheet music for the repertoire and etudes you’ll be studying.

If you have some choice in what you’ll play, you can shop around. Then, you can listen to potential pieces to see what music you like.

Music Stand

Not all music majors will need their own music stand. I lived on campus for a couple of years in undergrad, so I just practiced in the practice rooms.

But if you’ll be living off-campus, you should bring a stand for your apartment. Then, you can still practice if you can’t get to your school.

Having a stand can also come in handy if you need to perform off-campus. You might need to provide your own stand in those settings.


I’d also recommend buying and bringing a pair of earplugs. This is particularly important for piccolo players or anyone who plays a loud instrument.

However, it can come in handy if you play in large ensembles. You can find earplugs that don’t block the sound completely.

Then, you can still hear yourself a bit, but the earplugs can help protect your hearing a bit.

Where Can You Buy Music School Necessities?

You can find a lot of music school necessities at stores like Target. That’s a great place to shop for more basic school supplies.

For music-specific items, look online or at your local music store. If you need a new instrument, be sure to try a few so that you select the best one for you.

Which Music School Necessities Will You Buy?

If you’re going into music school or are returning, you need to buy some music school necessities. That way, you’ll have everything you need to tackle the semester.

Be sure to consider general and music items. And if you need help with the time aspect of music school, download Time Management for Busy Musicians for a comprehensive guide!

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