Do you have all of your back-to-school shopping done? Sometimes that list can seem never-ending – books, pencils, highlighters, new uniforms, etc. – and the stress can get to the best of us, especially if you’re on a budget.
If you know your child will be starting a music program this year, or if you are thinking about signing up for private music lessons outside of school, a decision you’ll inevitably have to make is whether to buy or rent your instrument. So how do you make this decision? The right answer will depend on a few different factors.
A common path for new musicians (and children, in particular) is to rent the instrument for the first couple of months or even the first year, in order to get comfortable with playing it. Once the student is committed or gets to a more advanced level, then you might start shopping around to purchase. High school is a good time to upgrade to a new model, especially if your child is getting more serious about music.
The amount you pay, of course, will depend on the model, condition and type of instrument, so you’ll want to shop around and find one that suits your budget but is also still quality. If the decision is between renting a higher-end instrument, or buying a cheaper model, it may be better to begin with renting. A good instrument can save your child from a lot of frustration, as well as help you avoid repair costs on an older or used model. Many rental contracts will cover you for things like routine repairs and maintenance. Some may also allow you to switch your rental to another instrument with no penalty, in case your child wants to learn something different.
Of course, there are also advantages to buying your instrument, whether new or used. First, you’ll avoid costly monthly fees, which will save you money in the long-run. Second, owning an instrument can also be a source of pride for students, and drive home the fact that playing an instrument is a commitment. If you’re purchasing a used model, consider having your band director or music teacher take a look at the condition, to point out any potential defects or issues.
Take some time to think about your lifestyle, commitment level and budget as you decide which option is right for your family. Whether you end up buying or renting, make sure your child also knows the importance and basics of instrument maintenance, and you’ll set them on the path to musical success!
- Suzy S., TakeLessons staff member and blogger
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Photo by Lifesupercharger.