Choosing the right music gear when your child begins lessons can be a daunting task. There are so many options and choices – it’s easy for parents to feel overwhelmed!
Lots of parents opt to start their child off with a bargain instrument and see how their music lessons progress. This is wise – no one wants to invest in, say, an expensive drum kit only to watch their child fall in love with voice or ukulele (or football) six months later. However, those starter instruments and equipment only last so long before your child’s technique and musical growth begin to suffer.
That’s why we’ve brought you this list of the most essential upgrades for your young musician. After a year or so of lessons, our teachers recommend investing in these items so students with dedication can progress to the next level. Read below to find out the right tools to take your budding musician from beginner to intermediate and on to pro!
For Pianists and Keyboardists
Sustain Pedal and Keyboard Stand – Beginner pianists can get away with those square, plastic sustain pedals for a bit. However, they’ll eventually want to upgrade to this style of pedal to develop proper pedaling technique (plus, those square plastic pedals break really easily!). Also, do you have a proper keyboard stand? If your keyboard is still sitting on a desk or the floor, get a keyboard stand today! Stands are essential for proper hand position and are more comfortable on the wrists. Your budding pianist will progress twice as fast with these essential tools.
A Keyboard with 88 Weighted Keys – If you don’t have a traditional piano, you can still develop proper technique practicing on a digital keyboard/piano – if it has 88 weighted keys. Keyboards with 61 keys or less typically have unweighted keys and practicing on these instruments for an extended period of time makes it impossible to develop proper finger strength, hand position, and playing technique. We recommend the Casio CDP-130 pack sold in our Globalsound store as affordable upgrade.
Motorcycle-Style Drum Throne – Sure, those round drum stools are cheaper. But after a while, any serious drummer will need to upgrade to the more comfortable and durable motorcycle-style drum throne. For the price, you can’t beat this PDP drum throne.
New Drum Heads – Has your student been playing drums consistently for six months to a year? Then it’s probably time to replace the drum heads on their kit. Old heads lose tension, have greater potential to break, and sound duller in tone. Read more about when to replace drum heads here.
Additional Cymbals and Toms- There’s nothing wrong with starting off with a minimalist kit but at some point, your drummer needs to play with more than just a hi hat and ride cymbals. Drummers can expand their technique and vary their style by adding crash cymbals and additional toms to their kit.
For Guitarists and Bassists
Essential Pedals for a Beginner Pedal Board – If your young electric guitarist has been taking lessons for over a year, then it’s time to start building a pedal board. Pedals take your tone and technique to the next level and inspire creativity. Options are endless, but at the very least you should get a tuner, a distortion pedal, a delay or reverb, and a wah pedal.
New Strings (especially for bassists!) – Is your child still using the same strings that first came with their guitar? Then they’re probably overdue to be changed. Depending on use, strings should be changed every three months or so. This is an inexpensive fix for electric or acoustic guitars but a bit more of an investment for bassists. Don’t neglect changing those bass strings though – they should be replaced (or at least cleaned) every 6 months to a year. Your instrument will sound better and more in tune with a fresh set of strings.
A Moderately Priced Instrument – It’s fine to start off with an inexpensive Squire electric or bargain acoustic. However, a moderately priced guitar (between $300-$600) is a necessary upgrade to improve your playing. A higher quality guitar has better wood, better pickups, less fret buzz, and is easier to play. Your young guitarist’s tone and technique will vastly improve with a well-made instrument – Les Paul, Epiphone, and Mexican Stratocasters are all good options.
For Any Musician
Manhasset Model Music Stand – You might be making due with a flimsy metal stand, a stand that’s difficult to adjust, or no stand at all. We cannot recommend the Manhasset Model Sheet Music Stand enough. Easy to adjust, durable, and made to last, this bestselling stand is an essential tool for any musician.
Earplugs – EVERY musician needs a decent set of earplugs – and more than likely, they’ll need a backup pair or two! We recommend Westone TRU earplugs, sold right in our Globalsound store.