Beginning the Year

The first days of school are the most crucial to your success. It is during this time that the students find out what you expect of them. Listed below are ways to ensure that your year gets off to a great start:

Classroom Rules & Procedures
Be sure to explain, post, and practice the ways you expect students to behave and perform routine tasks (coming into the room, starting class, what to do if your instrument breaks, using the restroom, emergencies, etc.) in your room.

Learning Names
Learn student names quickly. Use yearbooks, class pictures, or digital photos to help in that task. Use nametags if necessary.

Setting Up the Room
Make sure the room is ready before the students arrive for class. Have the correct number of chairs and stands needed for the first day. Have folders labeled, stuffed, and ready to go. Greet students at the door on their way in.

Have Available on the First Day
Class lists, lesson plans, attendance book, demonstration instrument, handbooks or other handouts, pencils, CD or other playback device, player, instrument repair kit, music folders & music.

What should be in a basic instrument repair kit?

Must Have:

  • mouthpiece puller
  • set of small screwdrivers
  • small crochet hook (to reset woodwind springs)


  • valve oil
  • slide grease (for tuning slides)
  • slide cream and spray bottle of water (for trombone slides)
  • mouthpiece brush
  • nail punch (to straighten bent mouthpiece stems)
  • Accessories: valve springs, valve felts, water key cork, French Horn valve string


  • pad slick (for checking leaking pads)
  • prick punch (for seating new pads)
  • cork/ pad cement
  • lighter (to heat up existing glue and reseat pad)
  • cork grease
  • key oil
  • Accessories: lyre and ligature screws, variety of flute, clarinet, and saxophone pads

Other tools:

  • regular pliers
  • needle nose pliers
  • flathead and Phillips screwdrivers

What to Do
The first class is the most important. Students will know what to expect from your class based on their experience that first day. Some general things that can be done on the first day are:

  • Know your score/ Plan your lesson
  • Introduce yourself
  • Discuss goals and expectations
  • Teach and practice procedures
  • Do something musical – Since many students in an instrumental or choral classroom may not have their instruments yet or haven’t yet been seated by voice, some things that could be done are:
    • Work on breathing exercises
    • Do vocal exercises and warm-ups
    • Demonstrate proper embouchure/mouthpiece exercises
    • Work on steady beat/ rhythm exercises
    • Teach them how to pack and unpack their instruments
    • Demonstrate proper instrument assembly
    • Speak with students that didn’t have instruments so that you can contact their parents about getting one
  • Remind students of what they need for the next class

Marching Band
Marching band has its own set of priorities that should be done not only on the first day but prior to and during pre-season practices (if applicable). Some things that should be considered are: