Renting vs. Buying

 With all beginners, I recommend that you begin their studies by renting an instrument from a reputable stringed instrument shop, until they have expressed a strong interest in continuing with the instrument past the first year. Most establishments have a 3-month minimum lease costing between $20-$40/month, and often times that fee can be counted towards the final purchase cost of an instrument.

While there are dozens of music stores all over, not all of them offer the same products and services. The kind of store we recommend that you obtain an instrument at will have the following:

  1. Trained staff in instrument making and repair (of the appropriate craft, for example: violinmaking, woodwind repair), with an onsite workshop.
  2. Extensive selection of instruments and bows from beginner to advanced. Shops, general stores or big warehouses that only sell “rank beginner” models generally don’t have the expertise to help students move up from there and the instruments are a poor quality.

Some businesses do not really have the best interests of kids in mind, and exist solely to “dump” low-quality products on unsuspecting parents and students in the name of profit. Sadly, there are a number of students each year who quit playing a musical instrument because even after they have developed their skills in a program, the equipment which they play on does not function properly, and they become frustrated as they are unable to make satisfactory progress.

The quality of an instrument is important, but the “set-up” is the most critical aspect of any instrument: The bridge must be cut and fitted properly, fingerboard planed, strings at the correct height, pegs turning smoothly. All these contribute to a functioning musical instrument that will allow a student to be successful!