Instrument Considerations

Depending on your current instrument and your involvement in band, high school is a good time to consider a “step-up” instrument and/or accessories.  If you are interested in this talk to Mr. Neville or your private teacher first!!!  There are many gimmicky online vendors who will be happy to take lots of your money for a product that lacks in quality.  Even local vendors will sometimes sell you an instrument or accessory for nearly double the cost of what it’s actually worth.  Don’t waste your time or your money—talk to a teacher first, and they can get you pointed in the right direction.

Everything listed below can be purchased from local vendors or online.  Sometimes you will get a better deal in person at a music store–sometimes you will get a better deal ordering yourself.  It is important to keep an open line of communication with Mr. Neville and/or your private teacher when you need to purchase instrument accessories or a new instrument so that you know what you’re doing!


Recommended equipment:

  • Percussion
    • A pair of Cooperman snare sticks. Nick Patrella General’s, or Mike Rosen 9’s are excellent choices
  • Woodwinds (These recommendations are appropriate for students who do not take private lessons)
    • Clarinet and saxophone players should be playing on reeds of at least the following strength:
      • Clarinet: Rico 3 or Vanduren 2.5 or 3
      • Saxophone: Rico 3 or 3.5, or Vanduren 3
    • Clarinet and saxophone players could consider a step-up mouthpiece and/or ligature to improve tone production.  Selmer C-Star for clarinet and D-Star for saxophones are great all-purpose mouthpieces that will last a lifetime if cared for properly.  Rovner ligatures are easy to use and apply even clamping pressure to reeds.
    • All woodwinds should have the appropriate cork greases, key oils, and cleaning swabs for their particular instrument.  Woodwinds should be swabbed after every class to evenly distribute condensation inside the instrument and to prevent problems with cracking, bad pads and mold!
    • Saxophone neckstraps are necessary for proper balance and positioning of the instrument.  Neotech straps are very comfortable.
  • Brass
    • All brass players should have the appropriate oils and greases for their particular instrument
      • Valve oil is NEVER to be used on the rotary valves found on horn, trombone (with F attachment) and tuba.  Rotary oil is NEVER to be used on the piston valves found on trumpet, baritone and tuba.
      • All slides should be kept loose by applying a thin layer of valve grease.
      • Slide cream sprayed with a water mist is recommended for trombone players over slide oil.
    • Mouthpieces (These recommendations are appropriate for students who do not take private lessons)
      • Trumpets
        • Trumpets should be playing on at least a Bach 5C or equivalent-sized mouthpiece (mouthpiece size equivalency charts may be found online).  Juniors and Seniors should be playing on a Bach 3C.
      • Trombone/Euphonium
        • Bach 6 ½ AL or size equivalent is recommended.  A student who has been playing for at least 2-3 years on a 6 1/2 AL may consider moving to a Bach 5G.
      • Horn
        • Schilke 30 or size equivalent is recommended.
      • Tuba
        • Conn Helleburg is recommended.