The Clarinetist’s College Packing List

It’s that time of year again – school bells are ringing, stores are advertising discounted school supplies, and college-bound musicians are preparing for their impending move.

I’m preparing for my own upcoming move to Montreal, so I thought it would be nice to share my packing list for all my fellow clarinetists (because we all know that I have a slight obsession with making lists). Keep in mind that this list is just music-related products and is not comprehensive, so don’t forget to pack the essentials (you know, like clothes and stuff).

  • clarinets – Bb, A, Eb, bass, plastic clarinet for marching band, or any other clarinets you may need for school
  • reeds – Now’s a good time to use that graduation money to stock up on reeds!
  • spare mouthpiece/ligature – Always be prepared for the untimely demise of equipment (aka your worst nightmare).
  • a variety of barrels – I keep 64mm, 65mm, and 66mm in my case.
  • extra clarinet case/gig case
  • reed cases
  • clarinet stands – For when you inevitably have to take a practice break
  • metronome/tuner
  • music stand
  • cork grease
  • mouthpiece patches
  • screwdriver set
  • swabs
  • polishing cloths
  • cigarette paper 
  • thumb cushions
  • neck straps
  • hygrometer – Because you better believe I’m going to be monitoring temperature and humidity levels in the Canadian winter tundra!
  • music – Bring any music that you plan on performing or working on during the school year

Here are some more items I plan on getting for my apartment to make practicing more efficient and appealing:

  • comfortable chair – Invest in a comfortable chair for all the hours you’ll sit here practicing.
  • area rug – Simultaneously spruces up your practice area and absorbs some of the sound so you stay in your neighbors’ good graces.
  • lamp – Dim lighting = poor practice environment
  • humidifier – My main goal in Canada? No cracked clarinets!
  • wall clock – Wall clocks make it easier to avoid the siren song of phones and social media.

Now that you’re all packed, make sure you have the name and contact information for all of the following in your new town:

  • clarinet repair person
  • music shop for reeds and other products (when Amazon isn’t an option)
  • qualified accompanists

Don’t worry if you haven’t found anyone before your move. Ask your clarinet professor or colleagues for their recommendations.

Safe travels and bon voyage to all of my college-bound clarinetists out there!

One Comment

  • Dan

    List of things I keep leaving for later.

    >clarinet stands
    Someone should just make me buy one. We have an enabling environment where people care for safety of everyone else’s instrument as much as their own and if you leave it on the floor and find it as you left it, or carefully moved to the nearest safe place. But I know it’s a disaster waiting to happen, even if with people like this it can wait ages.

    >spare mouthpiece/ligature
    I have a couple of decent mouthpieces, but still only one ligature, which is losing its silver plating. If you have recommendations for reliable ligatures, please share!

    >a variety of barrels
    I have pulled my only 65mm barrel out to almost any imagineable length, but still haven’t got any of different length.
    Which brings us to the question of cases, since my current one only has one barrel slot, but good cases are hard to find!

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