Thursday, September 10, 2020

Finding a quality instrument

Welcome to Music!

Great news! Your child has decided that they want to learn how to play a musical instrument. This is fantastic news! Many studies have shown over and over again that learning to play music has a myriad of positive effects: children who play music do better in school, have alrger social groups, score better on standardized tests, and develop the skills that will serve them in all aspects of like as they grow up.

But wait, you already know all of that…that’s why you signed them up!

So now you need to come up with an instrument. Yikes. You’re not a musician yourself, but you want to make sure that your child has the best possible experience. But, holy cow, have you seen  the cost of musical instruments? Several hundred dollars!! I want my kid to have a great time, but this is a really high cost of entry! And what if they try it and decide they just don’t like it? I mean, that happens, right? I don’t want to be out that much cash on a whim.

Luckily, your local music store understands this problem, and is all set to help you out. They usually have multiple options to help you decide how to obtain an instrument for your budding musician!

Choose your dealer!

First, you need to choose a retailer that you can trust. Many local music stores have a history of working with the music teachers and schools in the area that they serve. Often, the owner and employees are musicians themselves. It’s important to locate a store that can provide you the proper type of instrument, and service it as well. Your child’s music teacher undoubtedly has a store or stores that they recommend, and you would be wise to go with their recommendations.

A word about instruments.

A quick internet search of any instrument type will turn up hundreds of instruments across a huge price range from $50 to well over $1000 (or much much more!). What’s a parent to do? They all look alike! Again, this is where you should follow the recommendations of your teacher and local store. In general, an instrument for a beginning band or orchestra student will cost between $400-$700. Large instruments like cello, bass, and saxophones will cost more, but this is a good starting point.

Rent or Buy?

You can, of course, purchase your instrument outright. This will be the least expensive option, but it also offers the least flexibility. If your student decides that music is not for them (it happens!) then you will still be the proud owner. Most educator-approved branded instruments depreciate in value, but not rapidly. If you decide to sell a gently used band or orchestra instrument, you will be able to recoup about half of its value. As an example, if you purchase a new violin outfit for $600, and resell it when it is about one year old, you could reasonably expect to sell it for about $300. Your monthly cost would then be about $25/month for the time that you owned it.

A more flexible option is renting. Nearly all music stores offer some type of “rent-to-own” program. Typically, these programs offer a trial period for a relatively small amount of money (3 months for $25 is typical), with larger monthly payments starting later, once a level of commitment has been achieved. A reputable rent-to-own program offers the following advantages:

  • You only pay as long as you have the instrument. If you return the instrument, the payments stop and the contract is cancelled.
  • Your payments apply towards the purchase of the instrument, which you can buy at any time.
  • Maintenance and repair of the instrument is included in the rental price, or available for a small fee.
  • If you decide to purchase the instrument early, a discount is usually offered.
  • If your student decides/needs to switch instruments, an exchange is easy to do. The payments that you have already made usually apply to the new instrument.

Most teachers recommend renting from a local music store, as it provides the most flexibility to beginning students.

A final word about costs

When it comes to purchasing anything, the faster that you purchase something, the less money you will spend. A cash purchase will always cost less than renting-to-own over several years. The higher overall cost of a rental provides you with the flexibility to change your mind and/or instrument that a cash purchase does not. The “extra” money that is spent on a rental is purchasing this flexibility and peace-of-mind. Many music stores will let you start with a rental, and sell the instrument for you at the “cash price” if you make that decision early. It’s the best of both worlds!

Welcome to music!

We are thrilled that you have decided to start this musical journey. Working closely with your music teacher and local music store, you will find the solution that works best for YOU!

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