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Pros & Cons of Renting an Instrument

Having a child begin in band is an exciting and time. It can also be confusing, with so many different aspects to think about: Renting versus purchasing, brand preferences and ”what to do I do if the instrument breaks?!” Having a student join band is a learning experience for both the student and parent. I have listed some pros and cons to renting an instrument:

The Pros

1. Flexibility

Rental programs make it easy to return and exchange instruments so that as students explore, parents are not required to purchase new instruments their children may not decide to continue using. 

2. Maintenance & Repair Coverage

Coverage for instrument loss or maintenance is included in most instrument rental plans, which ensures your child will always have a working instrument. The repair shop also assists with the learning curve as students learn to take care of their instrument. 

3. High Quality Instruments

There's no sense in putting an instrument on a maintenance plan if the repair shop can't get parts to fix these instruments. Therefore, most rental programs only offer high quality instruments made by manufacturers that also provide repair shops with parts. Band directors like seeing reputable brands in their classroom, therefore, we don't rent an instrument they wouldn't want their students to play. 

4. You Can SAVE Money!

There are rent-to-rent programs and rent-to-own programs. Most rental programs are rent-to-own programs, so you are not paying eternally on an instrument you could have paid off a long time ago. 

The rent-to-own program is handy both for short-term and long-term instrument usage. If your child starts band and quits after one month, just return the instrument. You've only invested $20 instead of the $100 or $200+ you would have paid for a used instrument on Craigslist. 

The most successful rental programs are designed to graduate students from their beginning instrument to intermediate or professional instruments, allowing parents to use what has already been paid into the student instrument as a discount toward the step-up. This allows the parent to continue investing into their student's musical journey without having to re-start a rental of a more expensive instrument.

The Cons

In pretty much all cases, renting is more expensive long-term than purchasing outright due to the maintenance coverage fees. So if the student knows from the beginning he/she is going to play that instrument through both middle and high school, purchasing might be a better option. Also, rental applications can be subject to credit approval so, depending on the financial situation, renting might not be available to everyone.

Conclusion

Getting an instrument through a rental program is a safe and cost-effective way to introduce a student to band. Rental programs are the most meaningful when they are utilized to help ease the student into their musical career.