If your son or daughter has decided they’d like to play a musical instrument in their elementary or middle school band, it’s a fun and educational activity that can last for years to come. But, as with any activity, there are decisions to be made- including how and where to rent a musical instrument. From researching the basics to finding a quality music store in your area, this guide is designed to help any parent seamlessly navigate through the sometimes complicated world of instrument rental.
Step 1: Research
Before you head to the music store down the street, it’s important to do some preliminary research. Sit down with your child and have an open conversation about which instrument they’d like to play and find out the reasons behind their decision. Explain to them that a musical instrument isn’t a toy, and that playing one is a commitment. Between practices and maintenance, there’s a lot more to playing an instrument than relishing in standing ovations at recitals. Whether you’re renting a violin or a trombone, spend time educating yourself about the instrument’s history, popular manufacturers, and price ranges.
Step 2: Find a Store
Now that you have a general idea about the size, price, and brand of musical instrument you’re interested in renting, it’s time to find a store that specializes in instrument rentals. Unfortunately, not all music stores rent instruments – you’ll have to make some phone calls before hopping in the car. While many stores carry quality educator-approved brands, some seek to maximize profit by carrying brands that are only slightly better quality than those you’d find on less reputable websites. If you’re concerned about the quality of a certain brand, contact your child’s instructor as they’ll be able to provide additional insight.
Step 3: Ask Questions
Once you find the instrument you need, inquire about what the instrument rental includes. In some instances, maintenance and insurance plans are included in the price of the instrument rental. Just remember that the final price will always be a bit higher than the quoted price, as the price the stores give you typically don’t include any federal or local sales tax. In most cases, a driver’s license and credit card are required for instrument rental. Depending on the rental fees, some music stores may refuse to rent to you if you have a substandard credit rating. If high rental fees or poor credit are causing concern, some schools have instruments they can provide for low to moderate income families.
Step 4: Complete the Rental
Now that you’re ready to rent an instrument, it’s time to head to the music store and complete the rental process. Generally, the rental process takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete, so be prepared to spend some time with the salesclerk in the store. Some music stores allow you to complete the application online, while others prefer for the instrument rental application to completed in-person. Once the instrument has been rented, make sure to keep the instrument in a safe place and properly instruct your child about how to clean and maintain their new musical instrument. While some instrument rentals include insurance, it’s still a good idea to keep the instrument in tip-top shape.
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