Whether you’re playing in one of our groups or taking one-to-one lessons, one tool is essential: the pencil. Without it, how will you remember the valuable information your group leader or conductor has given you, or the suggestions your teacher has made? And in your own private practice sessions, when you work out the solution to a problem, do you make a note?
Whether it’s fingerings, bowings, breathing, or sticking, sometimes we just have to make our own marks on the printed music. Without them, you could earn the (dubious) distinction of being the person who plays that big chord as a solo — while everyone else is silent!
And if you need a pencil, you also need an eraser, because your first idea (or the conductor’s first idea) might not be the one that works. It’s much easier if that eraser is on the end of the pencil and not somewhere else (in your instrument case/music folder/coat pocket).
When it comes to the eternal question ‘2B or not 2B’, it probably doesn’t matter that much, but a soft dark pencil (which makes a legible mark without pressing hard and leaving an indentation) is better than a medium HB or hard pencil. Remember, unless it’s your own part, someone else might want to remove your markings when you’re finished with it.
We now have good quality 4B pencils, which are ideal for marking up music, for sale at our desk, with or without removable eraser caps.