Good-quality materials for beginners

As a beginning band teacher, I often heard people say that my students didn’t need instruments of good quality because the kids didn’t know how to play anyway.

That’s exactly why they need good quality. Because they don’t know what they’re doing, they have no skills to compensate for deficiencies in the instrument. They don’t need professional-level horns, but it’s critical to have solid instruments where all the moving and sealing parts work as intended and that produce sound appropriately easily.

Maybe kids quit because playing an instrument just isn’t their thing. Or maybe they quit because the instrument is harder than it ought to be to play. Learning to play an instrument is hard. We don’t need to make it harder.

This isn’t restricted to the realm of musical instruments and is completely applicable to learning any skill that has required Stuff.

If you’re painting and the bristles keep falling off into your painting, or you’re writing or drawing and your pencil point keeps breaking or your pen sometimes doesn’t write or sometimes leaks, it’s not going to be fun to write or draw, even if the activity itself is one that you enjoy.

This problem trickles deeper and deeper into everything with the cultural mindset of cheapest is best, together with the internet, where you can get a cheap, horrible version of anything

If you or your child or your students are pursuing a new interest and there are necessary tangible items involved, ask a few people who are good at the thing what to look for in the acquisition of the stuff, so you don’t end up with a bad experience just because you went cheap. 

(Likewise, if you’re buying stuff to donate to a school or church group or camp or something, please consider donating better-than-bottom-of-the-barrel materials.)

Buying used is often a possibility, and borrowing or renting are also sometimes possibilities.

Buying new and cheap is rarely the way to go.

100 Days of Art begins on Sunday. If you enjoy my photography, you’ll enjoy this project. The quick-and-dirty: every day for 100 days, I’ll email you a piece of visual art. Could be a photo I took that day, could be a photo I took in the past but am just playing with in Photoshop now, could be a snapshot of a sketch or painting I just did. It’s all current work, and it’s all going to be exclusively in the emails—none here on Sundays, none on social media.

Why? To add more good to the world. To share more of my work. To have a cohort to travel this 100-day journey with. You can change your life in 100 days.

Click the link and join now so you don’t forget later. Your inbox is full of retail and bills and receipts—why not have something in there to look forward to?

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