Instrument Upgrades/Gift Ideas
Do NOT purchase a new instrument without first contacting Mr. Serbic!
My favorite places to browse/shop for almost all of these things.
- vicfirth.com (percussion)
Apps and Technology
- Tonal Energy Tuner- An Ios app that costs a $3.95 one-time fee. It includes a metronome, tuner with drone pitches that can be customized/transposed for any wind instrument as well as a way for them to record and listen to themselves.
- Pro-Metronome- A free app that helps students keep a steady beat. Works best with headphones so that students can hear it while they are playing.
- Smart Music Subscription- A student Smart Music subscription costs $40 for a year and gives students access to a nearly infinite supply of different music that they can play along with, including most of our band music, many different beginner method books, high school level band music, solos, and several things that can challenge even college students and professials. Requires either a computer or a Tablet to use with.
For Any Instrument
- A wire music stand- These usually range for $7-$20 and are great for practicing at home. They help students keep correct playing posture, hold their music and can help motivate them to practice more often!
- Korg CA1 Tuner- A tuner that students can use at home to calibrate their instruments and to measure their individual pitch tendencies. Tonal Energy does everything this does and much more for a lower cost, but this one doesn't require access to an apple device. Runs about $15
Clarinets and Saxophones Only
- Good reeds- Some quality brands are Vandoren, DiAddario, and Michael Lurie
- A good reed case to make those reeds live a good long life! I recommend the cheap ~$5 plastic ones that hold 2 reeds on each side.
- A nice ligature- There are so many of these… don’t spend through the nose. These make a marginally lower impact on sound quality compared to reeds and mouthpieces.
- A nice swab- If it’s yellow don’t buy it. The long silk ones are best
- A comfy neck strap- The leather ones are actually way more comfortable than the ones with padding. Compare some different ones before choosing.
- A mouthpiece upgrade! These run a bit pricier, but for a small fraction of the price of purchasing a full instrument upgrade and often make a HUGE difference in sound quality by themselves. These are professional quality mouthpieces that can be used throughout high school and college and can also be used with upgraded instruments.
- Saxophone- Selmer C-Star.
- Clarinet- Vandoren Black Diamond
- A mouthpiece upgrade! These run a bit pricier, but can make a large difference in sound quality for a small fraction of the price of an instrument upgrade.
- Trumpet- Bach 5c
- Horn- Holton Farkas MDC
- Euphonium/Trombone- Bach 6 ½ AL
- Tuba- Schilke 67
- A B.E.R.P- These are small plastic attachments that allow the mouthpiece to attach to the lead pipe without actually going into it. It allows the student to practice buzzing while holding their instrument (without playing)
- A practice mute-This allows brass players to practice without disturbing others!
- A straight mute- Trumpet only. Dennis Wick recommended brand
- A cleaning kit- A snake, oils, tuning slide grease, brushes etc.
Percussion- Put names on everything!
- New sticks, Vic Firth SD1 recommended
- A home practice pad
- A starter set of their own mallets/mallet bag