Renting a Beginner Instrument is a Great Idea!
Music education changes lives for the better, and renting a beginner instrument for band or orchestra is a great way to support your student’s musical development.
We all get a taste of music education starting in elementary school where we learn how to sing and dance traditional folk dances. 100 years ago when I was a pup, we had to learn square dancing which was both fun and terrorizing. The square dancing unit always seemed to happen in the gym or cafeteria where we would be assigned to a square and run through the routines spinning and marching and figuring out doe-see-doe. It was fun once we got over the girl fright. Funny the girls didn’t seem to have a problem with it …
Somehow fifth grade came and went and the next step in our public school education was transitioning to the big kid programs at middle school. Choir, band and orchestra are music classes in which middle school students can choose to participate. All are great learning experiences which develop personal responsibility and teamwork. Music education in general is a great way to improve listening and reasoning skills as well as empathy for others. School band and orchestra offer the added responsibility of taking care of equipment and learning to work as part of a multi-level organization.
School band and orchestra also require an investment from parents to provide their music student with an instrument. Many parents discover musical instruments are not inexpensive and naturally wonder if their student is going to ‘stick with it’. On the one hand, we want Enrique to discover and develop hidden talent, but on the other hand we do not want to end up with an expensive instrument hidden in the closet if he decides he doesn’t want to play music anymore.
Before you decide to crush your student’s musical hope and dreams, consider your options. New and used musical instruments are available for sale and rent. You can purchase at a real or online garage sale, or you can do business with a local music store. As with any commitment, careful consideration often leads to a better decision.
A musical instrument is a crafted piece of machinery, and quality of materials and workmanship matter. A well made musical instrument will last for years. More importantly a well made instrument can be maintained and repaired to extend its useful life. I still play the cornet my parents started me on in 6th grade. Just like a used car, a well made machine can be a great investment.
Your local music store is staffed with musical people who are eager to help. A credible music store will provide service and repairs for its instruments, and most offer a rental plan specifically for beginners. You do not want to spend a lot of money on an instrument to have it sit in the closet after a few months. The music store also would rather have the instrument back to make it available to another beginner.
It is possible to find cheap new instruments online and have them shipped right to your door, but what happens when it does not work? Many cheap instruments are made with substandard materials which cannot be mended after they break. Most cheap instrument makers do not provide replacement parts for broken instruments. They would rather sell you another cheap new one which can sit next to the other broken one in the closet after it breaks and your kid quits band.
Besides the durability issue, cheap instruments do not sound the same as a well made instrument. There is a lot of math involved with making musical notes play in tune, and the difference is often measured in 3 decimal places. If your student cannot make her cheap instrument sound the same as the quality instrument the other musician plays, she will quickly be discouraged.
A smart investment would be to provide your student with a quality used instrument provided by a reputable local music store that will provide service and repairs as needed. You can rent your student a great sounding used instrument to enable them to be successful in music class. Their enthusiasm and success will guide your decision to continue renting or to purchase an upgraded model.
Renting a beginner instrument is a great idea and a great way to support and encourage your student’s musical journey!