Renting a Violin vs. Purchasing: Which is Right for You?

Violin Rental vs. Purchase: Which is Right for You?

Many parents with a young, excited musician often struggle with one thing: does purchasing or renting a violin make more sense, at least initially? Many parents opt for renting a violin, with the logic being that their son or daughter may eventually lose interest in the instrument. Others are concerned that their child will grow out of the instrument, and that constantly upgrading to larger sizes will get expensive over time. Although purchasing a violin comes with a variety of benefits, renting a violin tends to be the better option for those who are new to the instrument. If you’re confused about whether you should considering buying your renting a violin for your child, this guide will help you make the best decision for that special violinist in your life.

When Does Buying Makes Sense?

If your child has been renting a violin for a few years and has proven their dedication to the instrument, purchasing them their own violin make sense. Purchasing an instrument is also a good investment. When properly cared for and maintained, a violin can last for several lifetimes and can be handed down from generation to generation. In some cases, violins can actually increase in value over time. Purchasing an instrument is also a great lesson in responsibility. If your child already demonstrates responsibility and you’re ready to take it to the next level, a violin will give your child something to be proud of and take care of on their own. If you think buying is the right choice for you, check out our Violin Buying Guide. Remember: purchasing any instrument, the violin included, is an investment in your child’s future, and the decision shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time and consult your child’s teacher for advice.

When Does Renting a Violin Makes Sense?

Typically, there are four instances where renting a violin makes more sense:

  • Your child is young/still growing and needs a violin that’s smaller than ¼
  • The manufacturer or seller provides credits for upgrades in size or on future purchases
  • Your child is uncertain about which instrument they want to play
  • The instrument retailer offers rent-to-own programs as a part of their offerings.

If you find yourself in the first situation and are thinking about purchasing a too large violin that your child can grow into- don’t. This is a huge mistake that can actually hinder your child’s progress and enjoyment of the instrument. Not only does it make playing difficult and uncomfortable, but playing a violin that’s too large can actually lead to dangerous physical injuries.In these cases, the best solution would be to rent a violin until your child is physically ready for a full-size violin. Similarly, if the seller provides discounts or other cost-saving initiatives for upgrades or future purchases, renting a violin and upgrading wouldn’t be as much of a financial risk as purchasing a student-sized instrument and upgrading later.

What Are Rent to Own Programs?

Rent to own programs are essentially that- programs where you rent your instrument until it’s paid in full. Once it’s paid in full, the instrument is yours to own and do as you please with. Many rent to own programs include maintenance plans and insurance, making them appealing to parents with young musicians who may just be starting out. For example, if your child breaks a string or drops it on the floor, you won’t have to pay a cent for repairs. Similarly, if your child needs to upgrade to a larger violin, that’s included, too. In most cases, the price of renting a violin stays the same and you still have access to all the same benefits. Plus, if you want to own the instrument before your “rent” has covered the cost in full, you can apply your rental credit to the total price of the violin and pay the rest out of your own pocket.

Is the Sound Quality of Violin Rentals Different?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including how well the instrument was cared for by the previous renter and whether coverage for accidental damage was included in their rental agreement. The violin, like many instruments, is highly susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature. Since it’s typically made from wood and other organic materials, changes in the above can cause the violin to expand and contract. If the change is significant, this can lead to costly damage. Unfortunately, rental property isn’t always cared for the way it should be. For this reason, some rental violins don’t provide the same sound quality as those available for purchase, which is why it’s important to only rent from a great dealer who offers well-maintained violins for rental, such as Music & Arts. To keep your violin in tip-top shape (and sounding great!) check out String Instrument Care: A Guide.

How Much Will Renting a Violin Save Me?

In many instances, parents decide to rent a violin due to the imagined expense of a brand new purchase. Frequently, this misconception regarding price will influence parents to rent instead of buy. If you’re new to the world of music and have never rented an instrument before, think of instrument rental like a car rental: once you add on insurance, rental fees, set-up costs, and other associated fees the total cost can add up quickly. Over the course of a year or two, the amount you invest in a violin rental will typically equal (or exceed!) what you’d spend if you purchased a quality violin that’s set-up by a professional luthier and ready to play. On the other hand, renting a violin is often the best choice for beginners, as younger children are prone to changing their minds. However, if your child is confident about playing the violin and is dedicated to properly cleaning and maintaining their instrument, a well-cared for violin can last for decades while retaining much of its original valu

Regardless of whether you choose to rent or buy, you’ll need to purchase some accessories for your new violin. From spare strings and a sturdy case to a violin bow and and rosin, check out some Essential Violin Accessories for Students.

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