Should I purchase an instrument from the Internet?
Why are internet instruments so inexpensive?
The blessing of the internet in modern day is not lost on me. However, purchasing an inexpensive instrument from the site is not a practical investment. A new student instrument created with the standards to be successful in a beginning student school curriculum can range from $600 on up. Many parents are worried about making such an investment early in their band student’s musical career (“I don’t know if this is their ‘thing’ yet.”) This is why most places have rental programs, which make these quality instruments accessible while also, over time, affordable. For families who may struggle to have the means, talk to your band director. There are many programs to help provide your student with a quality instrument despite difficult financial situations.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is and, as with most things, you usually get what you pay for. Through my experience, I have concluded that these value instruments may look and feel like the real deal, but they are not necessarily conducive to creating a quality sound or proper intonation. In music, everything is about creating the best possible sound. These ‘value’ instruments may be appealing pricewise but are counterproductive to the point of playing an instrument and participating in an ensemble. Furthermore, if and when the value instrument breaks in any way, surprise surprise, manufacturers don’t make spare parts or them. Also, local repair shops refuse to work on them since they are cheap to begin with and prone to break again.
Purchasing an internet ‘value’ instrument for a student is like purchasing crayons for your student to write an essay. I mean, they do the same thing as a pencil or pen, right? And who knows, maybe writing isn’t your student’s “thing.” But if you don’t give your student the tools to be successful with, they might as well be wearing flip flops during a track race.
Give your student a shot at band. An honest-to-god, all-in kind of commitment to help your student be successful in band. If band isn’t their thing, that is fine, it’s not for everyone, just return your rental instrument. But please, if they are going to try it out, put a quality instrument in their hands, an instrument that they can learn to make a beautiful sound on, uplift their ensemble with, and use to help expand their ears and minds.