Information On Buying/Renting Instruments
Renting vs buying an instrument can seem confusing when you realize how many options there are in terms of what and where to buy. Here are my opinions...
* I think it is best to begin by renting an instrument for your child for the 5 or 10 month rental periods offered by Music and Arts. This way, the student gets a chance to figure out if he or she loves the instrument and wants to continue before you commit to purchasing one. Sometimes, a student will decide they wish to try a different instrument, and it's an easy process to exchange one for another.
(Note: when filling out the rental form, I recommend purchasing a music stand- this makes practicing much easier for your child. The lesson book is required. All the other suggested purchases such as reeds and instrument care kits are optional. The school can provide reeds for students).
* After your child has played for a year or so, if they seem committed and want to continue playing, I recommend starting to think about purchasing an instrument. This will save you money in the long run and obviously be nice for the student. There are many different places you can buy from, and depending on the instrument they play, I can recommend where you might want to do so. The most important thing to keep in mind is that while a cheap instrument looks very tempting, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and durability. An instrument that costs $100 is made of cheap materials and typically performs badly and falls apart quickly. In this case, you may end up having to purchase another instrument after a year or two anyway. There are some ways to offset the problem of laying out a lot of money at once. For example, Music and Arts periodically offers 12-month financing with no interest, so you could pay off an instrument over the course of a year. For brass instruments, Dillon's carries their own brand of instruments that are cheaper but comparable in quality to some of the best brands. Feel free to ask me for more information.
* Instruments are available in student models, intermediate models and professional models. A GOOD QUALITY student model is perfectly fine for most elementary school students and may even last them through high school. If your child is particularly interested in music and you want to get them a slightly higher quality instrument, you can consider an intermediate model. There are some brands of instruments that are well known for being of consistent high quality. For example, every instrument manufactured by Yamaha is reliably well-made. I can direct you toward some good brands for the particular instrument you are looking for.
* For percussionists, there are many options for equipment to buy. Beginners should rent a combination snare and bell kit. When you decide to purchase instruments for your percussionist, I recommend having at least a set of bells and a snare drum OR drum pad. (Bells are basically a mini xylophone). Over time, if your drummer seems serious about playing, it is of course great to have a drum set. Again, I can help point you in the right direction if you wish to purchase one. Percussionists should ideally own a pair of sticks for concert band (5B), a pair of sticks for drum set (7A), and mallets for their bells.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I'll be happy to assist you.