Should You Rent or Buy a Musical Instrument?

Should You Rent or Buy a Musical Instrument?

When you or your child expresses an interest in playing music, you need to decide whether you are going to buy or rent a musical instrument. 

An adult may not want to commit long-term to learning an instrument, and so may not want to spend a lot on an instrument straight away. A parent looking at an instrument for their child may be concerned that they won’t stick with it for long enough to warrant the purchase. A child may just want to join the school band for a little while, or emulate other musicians around them.

This decision is crucial to the learning experience. An incompatible instrument may lead to frustration and failure, but the right one can turn a hobby into a lifetime passion.

Pros and cons when you rent a musical instrument

The decision to rent a musical instrument or to consider only rent-to-own instruments is a done deal for most parents. Renting is a cost-effective solution to getting a high-quality instrument for a simple monthly fee.

What are the advantages when you hire a musical instrument?

Rental programs are a fixture in many schools and music stores, which makes them ideal for busy parents. Reputable places will include essential accessories, like cases and rosin for string instruments.

There are also these advantages: 

  • Insurance and repair services: Instruments need qualified repairers for maintenance and fixing. Many establishments offer these services along with your contract, for free or a small extra fee. This can be invaluable for beginners that can inadvertently damage their instrument while maintaining or assembling it.

  • The ability to easily move up an instrument size: If your child is learning an instrument with multiple sizes, you’ll be able to painlessly switch out instruments your child has outgrown. 

  • The luxury of changing your mind with no consequences: Rental contracts are typically on a monthly or quarterly basis. If you or your child have a change of heart and give up on learning an instrument, you can simply close the contract. 

What are instrument rental disadvantages you need to be prepared for?

Rental pitfalls may not concern you in the beginning, but you may run into problems once you’ve been renting for a while.

Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Ending up with a worn instrument: If old instruments are well-maintained, they won’t pose a problem. Simply for Strings instruments however, are professionally set up and come with quality strings and bows. Each instrument is inspected, played and tonally adjusted before being accepted into our rental program. If you’ve rented a used instrument from a less reputable supplier however, it may need to be serviced often which can disrupt your child’s routine and discourage them from learning.

  • Rental costs that may eventually exceed the price of a brand-new instrument: Renting is cost-effective until it’s not. Eventually the price of renting will outweigh the cost of a brand new instrument. Renting is great in the short-term, but if the musician thinks they will want to continue playing for a long time, it’s worth considering a purchase.

Should you consider rent-to-own instruments?

This method can seem like an attractive option to many, but what many don’t realise is that rent-to-own instruments work the same way as any rent-to-own offering, in that you end up paying more for convenience. 

Affordable instalment payments with additional rental-adjacent fees for insurance or repair can lead to paying more than full price for a used instrument that’s actually worth less.

Pros and cons of buying your own musical instrument

When purchasing a musical instrument, it may help to go into a music store. Deciding on an instrument is a personal choice, and you may find the instrument that looked right online, just doesn’t feel right in person.

If you must buy online, choose a shop with a brick and mortar location and/or a good reputation. Make sure the online retailer honours 30-day returns at the very least.

What are the advantages of having your own musical instrument? 

The best part about going to the store to get your own instrument is choosing it out of everything else that’s available. It is satisfying to know that an unblemished, shiny new instrument is yours to keep. This can be a formative moment for you or your child.  

There are other perks, as well:

  • A reinforced sense of responsibility and commitment: A child will be excited and motivated to learn and be responsible for a valuable instrument. You may also find yourself more supportive and eager to encourage your child to practice. 

  • The ability to recoup costs via reselling or passing it on: Buyers often balk at the cost of a brand new instrument. The truth is that they often have a good resale value if kept in good condition. For parents, you can choose to wait until a younger child takes an interest, and pass on the instrument to them.

A good music store may also offer trade-in programs, which you should look into in the future if your child is young enough to eventually outgrow their new instrument. 

What are the drawbacks of purchasing an instrument?

The only real disadvantage of buying a musical instrument is the cost. Orchestral instruments, in particular, are not easy on the budget, but worth it if your child is determined to learn. 

Your child may not pick the one that’s best for them, especially as a beginner. To avoid this, you can ask their music teacher to come along and help your child choose an appropriate instrument, or talk to the specialists at Simply for Strings.

Should you consider buying a second-hand musical instrument?

A quality second-hand instrument is an excellent and cost-effective compromise if you want the best, but don’t have the funds for a brand-new item. Buy only from licensed dealers selling fully repaired and inspected instruments.

Consult the Simply for Strings team and buy or rent a musical instrument today! 

Simply for Strings is an online music store with a brick and mortar shop in Red Hill, Brisbane. Talk to our team about our rental program or browse our collection of instruments for sale. 

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