Woodwind Accessories

WOODWIND ACCESSORIES

  • Reeds: These are probably the most important part of your instrument. Always have at least 3 reeds you know are in good working condition in your case at all times.  There are many different brands of reeds available. 
    • Most beginners start on a #2 or #2-1/2 reed, and progress to the next half-size by around December. 
    • Most second- and third-year players are using a #3. 
    • By high school, students tend to settle in on a #3, #3-1/2, or #4.  By this point, stronger is not always better.  The best reed for a student is the one that helps them to get their best sound with the mouthpiece and instrument they are using. 
    • Some brands of reeds are naturally stronger than others. 
    • It is usually cheaper and saves time to buy reeds in boxes of 10 rather than individually. When you find a brand that works well for you, stick with it.   
    • Rotate and properly break-in your reeds, and use a reed saver or a humidity-controlled reed case.  This alone will double the life of your reeds. 
  • Swab:  This is a vital, required, accessory for drying out your instrument to prolong the life of your pads.  Use the swab after every time you play your instrument. 
  • Cork Grease:  This is a small tub or tube of grease that will keep the corks on your instrument from prematurely tearing.  Brand new corks should be greased daily.  Broken-in corks should be greased at least weekly.  Torn corks that have dried out are a sign of poor maintenance.   
  • Pad savers: These will save you a great deal of money in the long run.  Using pad savers will easily double if not triple the life of the pads on your instrument and are much cheaper than the $250-600 cost of a full re-pad.  These aren't necessary for rented instruments.  ($10-25) 
  • Mouthpieces: As students grow and mature as musicians, many will begin to be held back by the quality of their instruments.  If buying a wooden clarinet or step-up model saxophone is not financially possible for your family, a good compromise is to add a professional quality mouthpiece and ligature to your current instrument.  All students will benefit greatly from this relatively simple addition.  Be sure to have your student try these mouthpieces at the store before you buy.  My recommendations are as follows:  

Clarinet: Van Doren #3 tip opening
Saxophone: Beechler or Brilhart #3 opening

As well as improving tone and making all aspects of playing easier, these mouthpieces are all made of hard rubber instead of plastic, so they are also much more durable.