Help for Parents of Beginning Band Students: to Rent or Buy Your Child's Instrument?
How to Purchase or Rent a Band Instrument for Your Child
Wow! Who knew band instruments cost so much? How can you manage during these tough economic times to get a quality instrument for your child but not break the bank?
Here are some tips for just how to do that.
1. Renting an instrument for your child to learn is a great use of your money. You will need to find a reputable band and orchestra music store in your area and obtain the terms of their rental contracts. Typically, an instrument has to be rented for a three month period initially. At the end of that time, you may continue to rent month by month or purchase the instrument. Get a referral from your child’s band director or from other parents in order to find a good music company to deal with. It pays to shop two or three stores if that’s an option. You may find some reputable dealers who will do online rental contracts.
2. Check to see if someone in your family or extended family has an instrument they are willing to loan you for a three to six month period of time. Some caveats with this:
a. Be sure your child wants to play this instrument. If your son doesn’t want to play Aunt Susie’s flute from high school but would rather play trumpet, he probably won’t lift a finger to learn to play that flute.
b. Make sure your band director agrees with this choice of instrument for your child. Uncle Bob’s old saxophone (or even a new one for that matter) is really too hard for your tiny 10 year old son or daughter to handle and haul around, at least the first year or so - the most critical years.
c. Take that instrument that’s been unplayed and in storage for several years to the music repair store and get an estimate on bringing it back “up to speed”. It may cost you more to get it ready for playing than a three month rental contract.
d. If it’s not pretty and shiny like “the other kid’s have”, kids lose interest really fast and you could just be wasting time.
e. If it’s got an old cruddy looking and smelling case, get a new case. Kids really hate opening a case like that, taking it to school. And the instrument smells like the case too so they don’t want to play it and I wouldn’t like it either! Besides the new cases weigh less too. I cannot overstate how much the weight of case, the look of the case and the instrument, and the smell of the case has to do with whether a child continues in band or not! What we as adults can justify because of money, children often just can’t deal with.
3. Do some comparison shopping on eBay to see what they have. You can find some pretty good deals on there. However, I would still suggest you buy from an eBay dealer who is really an on-the-street store because they generally will do any required repairs before they put it up for sale. You do pay more for that and perhaps some guarantee of their work.
4. Look in your local advertising boards or newspapers. Many times you can find good deals there as well. Be sure you treat those in the same manner as Item 2 above because often they are selling something that’s been stored for a while. Know your prices by doing the comparison shopping on eBay. Check brand names with your band director because if you don’t know the manufacturers, you can get some bad knock-offs.