If your child wants to learn an instrument, your first instinct may be to purchase one. However, many kids will either not like it, or get bored of it fast, thus leaving the instrument to collect dust. Children tend to be fickle, and musical instruments can be very expensive, which is why so many parents choose to rent musical instruments for their school-aged children instead of buying them.
Borrow an instrument
Before you price out the cost of renting or purchasing, check to see if you can borrow an instrument. Some school music programs have instruments that beginners can borrow, though that is becoming increasingly rare as school arts budgets are reduced. Or maybe you have a family member or friend who used to play the instrument your child is interested in. If so, ask them if they would be willing to loan it to your child. If their trumpet or trombone has been sitting in a closet gathering dust, but they just can’t bring themselves to sell it, they may be happy to see it put to good use.
Rent an instrument
If borrowing is not an option, it may be cost-efficient to rent an instrument short-term so you can determine if your child likes it and wants to continue with it before deciding to spend the full amount on owning it. Services like Lendr let you see and compare various different rental items, including musical instruments.
Buy a new instrument
If your child already plays an instrument, practices regularly without nagging and really loves it, purchasing may be the best option for your family. Below are some of the cost factors to consider when buying:
Just like when you’re buying a car, the real price to buy an instrument is not the list price. In fact, music stores often sell instruments at steep discounts. For example, Westmusic.com offers a 30% discount for purchasers, and throws in a six-month service plan to boot.
You’ll probably want to insure the instrument. Talk to your insurance agent about adding it to your homeowner’s policy if your policy doesn’t already cover instruments.
If you are buying a new instrument from an online music retailer, make sure that it has a good return policy in case there is a problem with the instrument.
Many music stores have buyback programs, which can be a hedge against your child deciding after a year or two that they want to devote all their time to sports and drop band class.
Buy a used instrument
Even when your child loves the instrument he or she plays, buying a new one might be too expensive for your budget. A possible solution? Buy a used instrument.
Music stores with buy-back programs generally have lots of used instruments for sale.
You’ll find other parents offloading their child’s abandoned instruments via Ebay, Craigslist or other online resellers. You need to be careful here to avoid scammers and to ensure that the instrument is not damaged. It is safer to buy only locally if purchasing an instrument, so that you can see it and/or your child can test it out.
If these tips helped you out, or if you have anything else to add, let us know in the comments below!