Orchestra SuppliesRequired orchestra suppliesView a list of our required supplies in our handbook or view the supply checklist belowInstrument quality and conditionAll students' instruments are expected to be in good working condition at all times. An instrument in good working condition is absolutely essential to the students' progress. The student should see Ms. Harvey whenever there is a question about repair or maintenance of an instrument. Before making any instrument purchase please contact Ms. Harvey or your private teacher for recommendations on brands, styles, sizes, stores, etc. so that the student can get the best quality instrument possible.Supply PurchaseWhen you are in need of an orchestra supply, please consult our recommended Music Store List link. Always check with Ms. Harvey for recommendation on brands or styles of certain supplies, such as strings. For small supplies, like strings, rosin, binders, shoulder rests, etc., Ms Harvey often has items in stock for sale in the orchestra room. Ask Ms. Harvey if she has the supply you need before taking the time to travel to a music store.String ReplacementMany rental companies replace broken strings for free if the student brings the instrument to their shop. Students renting from Music & Arts or Dallas Strings can have their string replaced at school. If you own your instrument and a string breaks, Ms. Harvey has an assortment of strings available for purchase. Strings range in price based on the instrument and the quality level of brand selected. There is no guarantee that Ms. Harvey will always have the correct string for your instrument. Violins and Violas break strings much more frequently than cellos or basses. Most professional violinists and violists carry a full set of extra strings in their case at all times. Violin/viola students are recommended to do so as well. You can easily order strings online from stores such as Shar and Southwest Strings (both listed on our Music Store List on our website). Rental companies may be willing to give you a free set if you ask. See Ms. Harvey for recommended brands appropriate for the student’s playing ability level and instrument quality. A good step-up level brand of string for most students is Dominant brand for Violin, and Helicore brand for Violas, Cellos and Basses.Instrument Repair:Whenever there is a problem with an instrument please first bring the instrument for Ms. Harvey to evaluate and never try to repair an instrument yourself! If Ms. Harvey cannot fix the problem she will refer you to a qualified repair shop. Most rental instruments include free repair. Some stores may even pick up the instrument on-site at your school. All students are asked to keep their instrument and bow in good working condition. Prompt attention to repair issues ensures the student's continued progress and saves the teacher and students time in class. Recommended instrument repair locations are listed on the music store list on this website.
Instrument MaintenanceMaintenance you can do yourself:
· Clean off the rosin dust from the strings and body of the instrument after every use
· Loosen the bow after every use and occasionally wipe the rosin dust from the underside of the stick
· If you cannot get all of the rosin off the strings with a cloth alone, rub it off with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth occasionally but do not let the alcohol touch the body of the instrument or fingerboard.
· If the body of the instrument has a lot of sticky spots of built-up rosin please bring the instrument to Ms. Harvey, who can provide you with some special instrument cleaner. This should be used rarely.
Things you should not do yourself:
· Never attempt to repair the instrument yourself
· Don’t attempt to tune the instrument if you have not learned how to do so yet
· Never allow anyone to repair your instrument other than Ms. Harvey or a trained professional
· Never leave your instrument outside its case when not in use
· Never leave your instrument in a very hot or cold place (such as a car) for more than a few minutes – it could be seriously damaged.Instrument Rental vs. Purchase
For all but the most advanced middle school student, the quality of most available rental instruments is sufficient. It is not usually recommended to consider purchasing an instrument when the student is not yet playing on a full size instrument. Most rental companies offer instrument insurance and free maintenance and repair. Many companies offer rent-to-own programs. If you are already on a rent-to-own program, please keep track of how close you are to paying off the instrument so that you can upgrade to a full size instrument before paying off and owning a smaller instrument.
If the student is on a full-size instrument and would benefit from playing on a higher quality of instrument it may be a good idea to look into instrument purchase. Students intending to play through all 4 years of high school and possibly beyond should seriously consider owning their own high quality instrument.
What should I be aware of when purchasing an instrument?
Many of the cheaper instruments are of a lower quality than the student would be given when renting from a reputable dealer. It is advisable to wait to purchase until you have saved enough or built up enough credit with a music store to get a very high quality instrument. Always deal with reputable companies recommended by your orchestra director or private teacher. There are numerous recommended vendors listed on our website.
It is not recommended for advanced students to purchase an instrument without trying it first. This does not completely eliminate internet shopping, as some reputable music companies without local shops, such as Shar Music, Southwest Strings, Robertson’s, and William Harris Lee, will ship instruments to you for a trial period.
Please do not purchase an instrument over the internet except from reputable dealers Ms. Harvey recommends - you never know what you will be getting! Many students lose their excitement about orchestra when they are playing on an instrument that doesn’t sound good or work properly. Always have a trained professional such as Ms. Harvey or your private teacher help you evaluate the instrument before making a final purchase.
In general, in the world of string instruments, you get what you pay for. Cheaper instruments are made with inferior materials, more machine assembly, less individual handmade craftsmanship and often break easily. Look in the highest price range you are reasonably able to afford and try out multiple instruments of different makers in that price range. Keep in mind that it’s not out of the ordinary for musicians to take out private loans or payment plans to pay off an instrument, just like with any other large purchase in life. High quality instruments usually hold their value or sometimes increase in value for resale, think of it as an investment!Instrument Insurance
If you purchase an instrument worth a substantial amount of money it is advisable to look into instrument insurance, which is offered at affordable rates by various companies. Some homeowners' insurance policies do not cover incidents that occur when the instrument is being used outside the home. Most musicians do not rely solely on homeowners insurance to protect the value of their instrument. Some have riders or "personal articles" policies added to existing homeowners policies, and some purchase separate plans from companies that specialize in instrument insurance. Not only can instruments be damaged beyond repair in many ways, high quality instruments and bows also cost more to repair because of the level of craftsmanship needed to keep the instrument or bow performing at a high level. The following article offers a good description of points to consider when choosing instrument insurance and insurance companies:Popular Instrument Insurance Companies: