Checklist: Packing for music jobs

In Part 1 of this post I shared my personal checklist of things to know before starting a new job. Part 2 below is just a chance for me to outlines the fun stuff – what I pack!

When it comes to the music life, I like to always think, expect the unexpected.

Stuff to take – from the blindingly obvious to nifty tricks

  1. The actual instrument (probably). Demonstrating is much easier on a physical instrument than without. However, it is also possible to teach sans instrument, especially if you’re teaching on a general theme of musicianship. The setting might also have a piano that you can use as well/instead, so I’ve found that it’s worth asking about that beforehand! A quick but important side note: I’m really happy that I invested in a cheap but cheerful ‘teaching-only’ instrument to protect my beloved main flute. Even with strictly applied no-touch rules and consequences, stuff happens. Particularly in primary schools.
  2. Music copies. The hope is always that your students will have their own main books, but it’s good to always have something at hand in case of forgotten folders: sight-reading, scales, or a copy of a book that many students are using at any time.
  3. Manuscript paper (print for free here) or a dry-wipe stave whiteboard. This is very useful for teaching basic theory concepts or for warm-up activities. They can also be used them in impromptu forgotten-instrument situations.
  4. Some theory and/or musicianship sheets (you can find loads for free in the Music Method Resources Library). If you’re teaching in a school setting, I think you can guarantee that instruments will be forgotten on a frustratingly regular basis. So I’m always sure to have a few worksheets at hand so that there is something productive for students to work on – this is especially important in group teaching lessons when an instrumentless child can cause real disruption when they’re not occupied.
  5. Any registers for the day (usually picked up from Reception).
  6. Pencils (plural – they will be lost).
  7. STICKERS, STICKERS AND MORE STICKERS. I once underestimated the power of stickers in promoting good behaviour, good practice, good effort. This applies especially well, of course, to primary school students.
  8. Any security passes or documentation needed to get into the building.
  9. Small essentials for instrument maintenance: screwdrivers for woodwind, valve oil for brass, cheap spare sticks for percussionists, or for strings a cheap rosin and maybe some cheap spare strings (unless, hopefully, the school is providing them).
  10. Water and hand sanitiser.

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