Choosing an Instrument

Instrument Purchase/Rental Information           Step-Up Instrument Recommendations

Choosing your student’s first musical instrument can prove to be a milestone in their life. Many accomplished musicians point back to that first instrument they had as the point in which they became enamored with the idea of playing beautiful music. There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing an instrument that is best for your student. The following factors may help you make the best choice that will encourage your student to continue on in instrumental music.

  • Student’s or parent’s interest in a specific instrument: If your student is captivated by a specific instrument, it is worthy of consideration because that may keep them interested in playing as long as the other factors mentioned below don’t overrule the instrument your child has chosen. If the parent has a specific interest because they play a specific instrument and the child doesn’t have a strong preference, the fact that the parent can help their child learn the instrument is also a strong consideration.

  • The family owns an instrument: If your child doesn’t have a strong preference and you own a good quality instrument, that is also a beginning band/orchestra instrument, the saving in your financial investment that comes with purchase or rental could be significant over a period of time.

  • Size and transportability: Instruments come in all sizes so it is important to consider the stature of your child and their ability to handle their instrument. (See the instrument description link on this page to view students playing all the instruments that are offered in the instrumental music program and also hear what the individual instrument sounds like.) Also consider the size and transportability of the instrument, which may affect your child’s ability to bring it home for practice or private lessons. Some parents whose children are very interested in daily practice and whose children play one of the larger instruments choose to rent an instrument for home and for school.

  • Starting on one instrument to ultimately end up on another instrument: Some students/parents goal is to have their child end up on an instrument that is not offered at the 6th grade level such as the oboe, bassoon, etc. Your band/orchestra instructor can recommend which instrument to start on that will result in the easiest transition to another instrument at a subsequent grade level.

  • Expense: There is an investment required in a child’s music education when they play an instrument. Instruments can be rented on a monthly basis, rent to own, or purchased. It is recommended that all students start by renting their instrument to first see if they maintain their interest. (Rental options are provided by the band instructor.) Students often will change instruments several times before they settle on one they want to commit serious effort to. Students who have a desire to pursue their music are encouraged to take private lessons. There is a private lesson teacher link on the homepage. Students who show a special talent and aptitude for their instrument may be encouraged to consider purchasing a better quality of instrument so their playing ability can develop quicker, but that decision is always up to the parent.

It is important for parents to understand that it is the director’s responsibility to maintain balanced instrumentation within their band for proper sound quality. That means there needs to be a certain number of all the various instruments. A band/orchestra can’t have a predominance of any one type of instrument even if the majority of students want to play that instrument. To achieve this, the director may ask students to consider playing an instrument different than their initial selection. We ask parents to be flexible in considering other options as the director evaluates what may be the best instrument not only for the individual student, but also for the overall band program.

If you have any questions or would like help in selecting an instrument for your student please contact any of the faculty.