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Why Parents Should Invest in Better Instruments for Their Kids (Even if they can't play yet)

You're a parent, and you have a son or daughter that wants to sign up for beginning band or beginning orchestra. You talk with the teacher, and they say you have to go out and get an instrument.

The first temptation might be to go online and find the cheapest instrument possible.

You might justify this by saying something like:

"I don't want to spend too much money on something they might not keep up with."

Or something else like...

"My kid doesn't know how to play anyway, so what difference does a more expensive instrument make?"

These are valid concerns. Why would you spend money on an instrument worth hundreds of dollars on a kid with no musical experience?

Here's the thing though: By going the cheap route, you inadvertently could be setting up your child to fail in music. This sounds like the most preposterous statement ever! But hear us out:

The lower price tag on some online instruments might be enticing at first, but with the reduced cost comes reduced quality which can actively discourage a student from playing. They might wonder why all their classmates are "getting it" and question their own musical ability when it's really no fault of their own.

In this article we'll address some concerns and explain the benefits of getting higher quality instruments to help your child succeed in their band or orchestra class.

Higher Quality Instruments Can Be Affordable

The price of a name-brand instrument might be your first cause for concern. At Summerhays Music Center we offer a rent-to-own option for student-level band and orchestra instruments. This includes standard instruments like flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, alto saxophone, violin, viola, and cello.

Most of these instruments cost between $20 and $30 per month to rent (or $30-$60 for sax and cello). All the monthly payments go toward the purchase price of your instrument, so after a certain amount of time has passed that instrument is yours to keep! This makes an otherwise costly instrument very affordable.

But what if my child doesn't stick with it?

That's fine. We understand that music isn't for everyone, which is why we offer rentals in the first place. Should your child decide they don't want to play anymore you can simply return the instrument and end monthly charges per the terms of your contract.

It's a low-risk way for them to try out an instrument without actually committing to a big purchase right away.

Better Instruments Will Be Easier to Play and Sound Better

Most educators recommend top brands such as Yamaha, Bach, and Selmer. From a blind survey commissioned by Yamaha in 2015.

A cheap, low-quality instrument can be very restrictive in how it sounds and plays, whereas a well-made instrument should do a lot of the heavy lifting for the player.

This is thanks in part to the quality of materials used to build the instrument, and the specifications the instrument is built to. The higher build quality means the instrument will be easier to play, have a better sound, and be more durable (more on that down below).

For band instruments this means that they are resonant and free-blowing enough to instantly produce a good sound, and each note will more easily "slot" into place without as much of the squeaking and squawking you'd expect to hear from beginners.

For string instruments like violin, viola, and cello, the quality of the wood and the set-up of the instrument will give the instrument a bigger, richer tone and reduce the amount of harsh, scratchy sounds. This includes obvious things like what strings they're using down to other things like the bow, pegs, and tailpiece.

This doesn't excuse anyone from practicing - nothing will ever be a substitute for hard work. But if the instrument isn't working against them, chances are your child will probably have more fun with it and maybe even discover a passion for music they otherwise might not have found.

Better Instruments Will Last Longer and Can Actually Save You Money

Have you ever bought a car that turned out to be a lemon? You know the kind: It's always breaking down and you're constantly sinking money into repairing the thing. Then at some point you realize that you'd be better off putting all that money towards purchasing a new car instead of keeping the old one on life support.

Musical instruments are a lot like this. Some brands produce really high-quality instruments that both sound good and are very durable. In the short-term this means that your instrument is less likely to have any maintenance issues and your kid will be able to play their instrument just fine without any worries. In the long-term your kid is more likely to stick with it and you'll save on repair costs.

On the other hand, cheap instruments from online stores are more likely to run into mechanical issues and have a higher failure rate than instruments made by reputable brands.

So while you think you might be saving money on a less expensive instrument, you might run into some hidden costs in the form of repair fees or even replacing the instrument altogether.

Some repair shops might not even work on these type of cheap, online instruments. Our repair shop here at Summerhays tends to avoid repairing them for a few different reasons:

  • The parts needed to repair them aren't available from suppliers.

  • The cost of the repair would exceed the value of the instrument itself.

  • There's a risk that the instrument will continue having issues despite any repair efforts.

If you already have an instrument like this, bring it to the repair shop at your own discretion.

Your Child Will Be More Successful In Music and In Life

You've probably heard the old adage, "Mozart makes babies smarter".

While that statement is a huge oversimplification, there are many studies showing a strong correlation to musical ability with good performance in academics. There are a number of other benefits kids can have from playing an instrument:

  • Their social circle expands and they develop friendships with other musicians.

  • Playing an instrument can be a source of joy and relieve stress.

  • It can build their confidence as they develop a new skill and overcome stage fright.

  • They can learn patience and improve their memorization skills.

  • It increases their discipline and time management skills.

  • Their creativity will expand.

These are all skills and benefits that easily transfer to other disciplines and professions later on in life. And if nothing else your child will simply have fun making music, and having a good instrument will help enrich their lives rather than being a stumbling block and point of frustration.

Find an Instrument Today

Summerhays Music Center of Orem is the best place in Utah to find beginning band and orchestra instruments like flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, violin, viola, and cello.

If you have a child who wants to learn an instrument (or you want to get one to learn yourself!) you can stop by our store or rent an instrument online and we'll take care of you!


Don't play inferior instruments. Perform with Confidence!

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