Now is the slowest time of year for many, but one way to counter it is to target those who are buying right now - parents...
The new school year means there's plenty of opportunity to sell to the next generation of music students...
Stentor (01737 240226)
Stentor Student II (£130) is the outfit used by most music services in the UK and is the ideal student instrument in sizes from 4/4 to 1/16. The violin is carved from solid tonewoods with ebony fittings and comes with a lightweight case and good student wood bow with ebony frog.
For a step-up instrument, the Stentor Conservatoire (£230) provides high quality at a reasonable cost. The instrument is carved from selected tonewoods and the outfit is complete with a professional style oblong case and good quality bow.
For the more experienced player, Stentor has its high-grade orchestral models: Messina, Elysia (pictured) and Arcadia, which are carved from selected and figured tonewoods. All models are workshop fitted and are available as an instrument only. Prices range from £370 to £1,100.
JHS (0113 286 5381)
The Odyssey range of brass and woodwind instruments, designed by master craftsman Peter Pollard, offers students the ideal way to learn and progress. With the Debut range – ideal for younger learners – and the Premiere range, which is suited to players of all standards, users have a choice of flutes, trumpets, cornets, saxophones, clarinets, horn, a euphonium and more.
Antoni offers a range of orchestral stringed instruments for beginners, progressing students and more accomplished players. Two violin outfits are available – the Symphonique (£369), and the Premiere (£229). There is also the Premiere Electralin Electric Violin Outfit (£299). Also ideal for new players is the Debut range. This includes violin outfits (£794.99), a Cello outfit (from £499) and a Double Bass outfit (£699).
Percussion Plus (01858 433124)
The supplier has added a new Colour & Play range to its catalogue – brightly coloured instruments designed as fun educational aids. ChromaPlay is a colour method in which colour-coded instruments correspond to specific musical notes, allowing children to play and make music together easily. The range includes Combi Bells, Wak! a Tubes (pictured), coloured hand chimes and a chime square. A songbook is also available.
The firm’s Sonix brand continues to be the brand leader in the UK for entry-level taiko drums. Currently available is a choice of Nagado, Okedo and Shimedaiko drums, together with stands to suit. The drums have been hailed by schools, teachers and drumming centres due to their quality of build, authentic sounds and competitive price points.
Barnes & Mullins (01691 668310)
The Admira Alba is a Far-Eastern made entry-level guitar, which captures the essence of a Spanish instrument, yet remains affordable. It is available in either 4/4 (£109.95) or ¾ (£99.95) size, with both featuring a pine soundtable, sapelli back and sides, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard.
Hidersine’s Vivente violins and cellos are available in 4/4, ¾ and ½ size outfits; double basses in ¾ and ½ size. Prices begin at £139 for the violin outfit (pictured), rising to £215 for the Wittner Finetune peg-equipped model. Cellos are £425 excluding case, and £525 including. Double basses represent great value at £1,250.
With a recently reduced retail price of £15.95, the Aulos Descant model 205A is an instrument that could remain the school recorder of choice for many years to
come. Each recorder features superb voicing, strong, high-class ABS resin construction, and excellent intonation.
Rosetti (01376 550033)
The Rosetti Series brass and woodwind range is designed with students in mind. The range consists of trumpets (from £165) cornets (from £215), flugel horns (from £300), trombones (from £173), horns (from £375), alto saxophones (from £415, pictured), tenor saxophones (from £499) and more.
Kelly Mouthpieces are available in a variety of colours, making them ideal for students. They are available for trumpet (£22.95), trombone (from £26.25), tuba (£34.70), French horn (£25.15), cornet (£23) flugel horn (£21.15), mellophone (£25.15) and euphonium (from £28.50).
Vandoren supplies a range of high quality reeds for clarinet and saxophone to suit all playing styles. Its best selling Traditional Series reeds are popular with students and start from £2.53 a reed.
Faber (020 7908 5310)
Ukulele Basics (£8.99, pictured) is a landmark ukulele method for beginners. From how to hold your ukulele, through basic chords and strumming patterns, to playing accompaniments and simple tunes, this carefully paced method provides a complete resource for aspiring players.
The Guitar Basics series consists of the Guitar Basics (£8.99), Guitar Basics Repertoire (£7.50) and Guitar Basics Workouts (£7.99) methods. Guitar Basics contains original pieces and traditional tunes in an array of styles, including classical, folk and world music, along with well-known film and TV themes. Guitar Basics Repertoire provides over 40 fun solos and ensemble pieces for both individual and group learning.
Mel Bay (020 8214 1222)
Mel Bay’s Complete Ukulele Set (£42.25) contains everything a starter needs: a high-quality wooden uke, the Total Ukulele Method book with CD and a pick. The instructional book makes learning the ukulele easy and fun and the companion CD features numerous exercises and eleven popular tunes.
Kid's Rock Drum Method (£10.99) is appropriate for older kids who are also beginning too. The book is moderately paced, introducing concepts one at a time for an easy learning process. Audio accompanies the book. The handy, compact Student’s Musical Dictionary (£3.95) provides the student with a wealth of information in an easily usable format. A concise dictionary of music terms is provided, as well as a comprehensive section of charts with additional information on the rudiments of music.
Alfred Publishing (01279 828960)
Rhythm Workshop (£29.95) is a reproducible book to help students develop solid rhythmic reading skills. It features 100 pages, containing 575 rhythm exercises in a variety of time signatures. New concepts are introduced and combined together to challenge and motivate students.
The Daisy Rock starter pack range is designed to help girls learn the guitar. Comprising quality instruments designed for smaller hands, the series consists of the £149.95 Junior Miss Acoustic Short Scale Packs, which come with tuner, guitar picks, and a strap, while the Rock Candy Electric Guitar Pack (£299.95, pictured) includes a gig bag, tuner, strap, picks, winder, polishing cloth, ten-Watt amp with cable and an instructional DVD.
Stagg (EMD - 01293 862612)
Stagg’s brass and woodwind range is now popular with entry-level and pro players. The Clarinet Outfit (£182) features a brushed bakelite body, nickel-plated keys and an ABS case, the Flute Outfit (£175) is a Standard C model with 16 covered keys and silver plated finish, its Alto Sax Outfit (£460) comes with a Rocker-style octave key mechanism and the Trumpet Outfit (£197) offers stainless steel pistons and a 125mm bell.
For string starters, there’s also the Violin Outfit (£89-95), featuring solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, maple neck and bridge and black metal tailpiece. The Cello Outfit (£393-455) is equipped with an ebonised hardwood fingerboard and tuning pegs.
Hohner (Sutherland – 02920 887333)
The harmonica, glockenspiel and melodica models in Hohner’s Children’s Series are all specially tailored for players of primary school age. Particular emphasis has been placed on accurate tuning and excellent playability in the creation of these
instruments. The Hohner Children’s Glockenspiel (pictured) retails at £29.99, the Melodica at £48.99 and the Harmonica is priced at £13.99.
SVM Percussion (0116 230 4926)
The company’s Bucara 30-player Key Stage Three Wood Djembe classroom pack (£3,892) is geared towards learning music rhythms within a group. The pack contains thirty authentic Tweneboa wood 11" hand-carved djembes from Ghana and the included book and CD presents easy starter rhythms to help the teacher bring the class together to create a rhythmic ensemble. A further pack discount will be applied to the standard trade price for this kit.
Freestyle (01924 455414)
The Gator GLBand range is a series of lightweight band and orchestra cases. First up is the GL-ALTOSAX-MPC (£72.95), an alto sax case with storage compartments for mouthpieces and other accessories. Available in Grey, Pink and Red, it features an interlocking comfort grip handle, non-slip rubber shoulder pad, nylon lightweight exterior with plush covered dense EPS foam interior and a removable shoulder strap with D-rings and clips. Offering similar features and available in Black, Pink, Purple and Red is the GLCLARINET-A (£35.95) for clarinet and GLFLUTE-A (£25.95) for flute, which comes in Black, Pink or Purple.
Beaumont Woodwind (01273 900250)
Beaumont Woodwind is bringing out its new innovative student clarinet in time for the new school year. Featuring a novel key design offering increased grip and response, the Beaumont Noble II is described by the firm as “a revolutionary addition to the clarinet market.” With an RRP of £249.99, the Noble II provides a lightweight and durable body, hardened silver plated keywork and a padded shoulder carry case – tailor-made for the student clarinettist.