A couple years ago my colleague and I were looking for the easiest way to organize reeds for those moments right before rehearsal or a concert when a student suddenly needs one. It turns out the best solution was under $20 at Home Depot.
Welcome to The Band Teacher's Bag of Tricks! This blog will be a space to share thoughts and tips that have worked for me in my 17+ years of teaching band.
For starters, here is a tip for organizing percussion storage. Percussionists (myself included) are not always great at putting things away where they belong. A few years ago I had had enough and came up with a solution. Since then I have never had to worry about missing instruments or equipment.
I outlined space for each instrument in the percussion cabinet using masking tape. Then I taped pictures to label each section. Even the most disorganized percussionist could figure out where things went. You could easily do this on storage shelves if you don't have a percussion cabinet.
I also used a paint marker to label each sleeve of our large stick bag ("yarn, hard plastic, suspended cymbal, brushes," etc.). Now we don't have to worry about missing mallets since they always go back in the same place. I recommend using separate bags or cases for timpani mallets and bass drum beaters.
Bonus tip: I highly recommend having a case for smaller percussion instruments like tambourine, triangle, and triangle beaters. It sends your students a message that they are instruments that need to be cared for. Just like a trumpet goes in its case after rehearsal, so does the tambourine, triangle, etc. If you don't have cases already Steve Weiss Music has good quality cases that are not expensive at all. They are totally worth a few $ to prolong the life of your percussion instruments.
Tips for Band Teachers
Practical ideas for your elementary and middle school band class.