What practical supplies can I buy for my child that will help he/she progress?
If you are like me, you might be a last-minute shopper for gifts. Or, you are the savvy shopper that scouts for deals online and stalks the local stores. In either case, this is a list of ideas for you that pertain to your child's involvement in orchestra. (links are in red)
Students who keep an instrument at home and use a different one at school could benefit from a tuner that clips on to the instrument. There are many brands out there, but I find the ones that work best are the ones that clip onto either the scroll (violin/viola) or the tail piece (cello and bass).
Believe it or not, strings do have an expiration date. There isn't an exact formula, but usually within one-three years or less, strings have gone false (plucks one pitch, while bows another, or has trouble tuning in fifths) or worn to the core (usually starts to unravel or develops nicks in the surface). All of the rental stores in town carry these items, or there are numerous places to order them online (here, here, and here). I recommend for violin or viola, the Red Label, Dominant, Pirastro, or D'Addario, but there are many price points. I also recommend purchasing them as a set (all four strings together).
Bow Re-hair or New Bow
Click the link above for an in-depth explanation about when to re-hair, but basically, bow hair wears out. Frequent breaking or shedding is usually an indicator. Or, maybe an upgrade is in order.
This is a great time to check in and make sure your child has rosin for the bow. There are SO MANY out there, but there are plenty of cheaper options that will do the trick. If the recipient is a high school student, I recommend some of the more refined options like this and this. If you are looking for something that works and is FUN, then check this out.
We are blessed to have a store in town that sells a wide variety of music, J.W. Pepper.
I hope this post gives you some ideas. :) You can always contact me as well if you have questions.