Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble

All students in Symphonic Band (grades 10, 11 & 12) and Wind Ensemble (grades 11 & 12) must have a
tuner and a metronome  for band classes and home practicing.  There are many free or inexpensive tuner and metronome apps for smart phones and iPod Touch. A good brand for the tuner is the Korg CA-30 or the Korg TM-40 tuner/metronome combo.  See photos below. They cost around $40.00.  If you already have a tuner, you may also want a small clip-on tuner pick-up  (Matrix MPU - 2).  They are only $8.95 from most music stores.  They will allow you to tune while other noise is going on around you. Most band tests will be played with your metronome and there will be additional assignments and tests (such as scales) where you will need to demonstrate your ability to play in tune without your tuner.  These items are standard equipment for music students.  Please try to get this equipment over the summer or you may be able to buy one from a grade 12 student at the end of the year.

All woodwind and brass players in SB and WE should purchase quality mouthpieces for their instruments.  Most of the student model woodwind mouthpieces that come with student instruments are not very good.  That means the tone is poor, they don't play very well in tune and they don't blend well.  If you have been playing for 3 or more years and you are in a senior band class (SB or WE), you should step up to a decent mouthpiece and ligature.  Below are some recommendations. You can go to a music store with your instrument & reeds and try these out.  I have some mouthpieces at school you can try.  A private teacher can also make some recommendations.  Try to get one over the summer and get used to playing it.  If you are renting a school instrument, a good mouthpiece will be provided for you.


Reeds - Make sure you are using good reeds such as Vandoren or Rico Royale.  You should be using  3 or 3.5 strength Vandoren blue box reeds for concert band.  Your jazz reeds will depend on your mouthpiece.  If you have a mouthpiece with a large tip opening, you should use a softer reed: 2.5.  If your mouthpiece has a large tip opening, use a harder reed: 3 or 3.5.

Mouthpieces and Ligatures


Clarinet - Vandoren M13 Lyre, Vandoren 5RV Lyre (regular profile), Vandoren B45, and Vandoren M30.  Most students should be playing on Vandoren 3 or 3.5 strength reeds.


Saxophone - Alto: Selmer C*, Meyer 5 or Jody Jazz for jazz, Vandoren V5 A28.  Tenor: Selmer C*, Vandoren V5 T35 for classical.  Meyer, Otto Link, Jody Jazz hard rubber or metal for jazz.  There are many different choices available - try them out at your local music store.  Baritone saxes come with quality mouthpieces when they are rented from the school.  Reeds for mouthpieces will depend on the tip opening of the mouthpiece.  If your mouthpiece has a large tip opening (such as 6 or 7), use a lower number reed such as 2.5.  If your mouthpiece has a small tip opening (Selmer C*), use a higher strength reed such as 3 or 3.5.


Ligatures -  Ligatures are very important because they allow the reed to vibrate properly.  Best choices are: Rovner (rubber-so you can't destroy them) or you can buy the Faxx copies, Bonade - reverse-screw ligature, Vandoren Optimum.


Trumpet -  A larger cup mouthpieces such as Bach 3C or the equivalent in Yamaha, Schilke, or Stork.  No 7Cs please!

French Horn - Schilke 30, Stork C1 Custom, Holton Farkas Model MC (medium cup).  Most students use school instruments that have pro mouthpieces.


Trombone - Bach 6 1/2 AL for concert band.


Tuba - Miraphone C4, Bach 18, Conn Helleberg


Percussion - Each percussion student should own a pair of Vic Firth SD1 Generals & SD2 Boleros for snare drum. 
                Jazz drummers should own their own drum set sticks appropriate for big band and combo:
                ( 2 pairs in total), brushes, mallets for cymbals, and a stick bag.

String Bass - String bass students are responsible for providing their own bows and rosin for their bows.  Go for Pop's Rosin!!



All brass players must purchase mutes for their instruments.  Trumpet players must have a straight mute and a cup mute for concert band, and a Harmon mute and a plunger mute for jazz band.  Trombonists should have straight mutes and cup mutes for concert band and plunger mutes for jazz band.


Upgrading Instruments


Some students might also be considering upgrading their instruments.  The better quality instruments will enable the student to learn more quickly and play with greater ease.  The results will be greatly improved tone and tuning that improves the overall sound of the band, easier response, greater expression and more confidence.

Make sure you try out some instruments before you buy anything - don't just order something off EBay.  Try to go with a private teacher to a store and have them also try it out.  You can often find great deals on quality used instruments at music stores.  Below are some examples of quality, professional or intermediate instruments:


 Flute:  Haynes, Saynko, Altus, Yamaha models - 500 series or higher

 Oboe: Loree, Fox 300 or 330, Cabart, Yamaha YOB-411

 Clarinet:  Buffet R-13 (Festival model not recommended), Buffet E-11, Selmer Rhapsodie

 Alto Sax:  Selmer SA-80 or Yamaha Pro Model

 Tenor Sax:  Selmer Mark VI or Yamaha YTS-475 (Int. line)

 Trumpet:  Bach Stradivarius 180 (37 or 72 light weight bell)

 French Horn:  Conn 8D, Holton 179, Hoyer 802 and 6802

 Trombone:  Bach 36BO or 42BO with F trigger, Yamaha YSL-448G

 French Horn: Conn 8D, Holton 179, Hoyer 802 and 6802

Required Equipment for Senior Band Musicians