Students need a properly sized instrument with a bow in good condition in a case which fits the instrument. If a violin or viola is being played, students need a shoulder rest or sponge rest, available at most music retailers. Soft, pliable (without being damp) sponges are also acceptable. These are held in place with a large rubber band, which the instructor can provide. Students also need the method book Essential Elements 2000 book 1. A music stand is a useful option but not mandatory (the music can be "propped up" where the student practices). Inexpensive folding metal music stands are also available at most music retailers.