How to Save Money on Musical Instruments

Glam horn & kid
[This is a Guest Post from Donna Korzun – a long time reader of Budgets Are Sexy, and someone I admire very much :)]

Every parent to sit in a sixth grade band or orchestra concert knows the pride of seeing their child demonstrate a new skill – but you don’t have to break the piggy bank to do it!  Following are some tips to help fund your budding musician’s dreams:

  1. Buy used. eBay, Craigslist, auctions and garage sales often have great deals.  I once obtained a famous maker cornet for $75.00!  But a few words of caution:  Check with your child’s band director for a list of approved instruments.  Know your prices and stick with your mentally set price.
  2. Buy new. New instruments can be had a local music stores as well as on E-Bay.  But another strong word of caution here:  Many salespeople are encouraged to sell certain lines and brands that may not be suitable for your child.  Stick with the list from your band/orchestra director.  There are many new instruments on eBay and in stores made in China and or India.  Beware.  These are often inferior instruments that may not play or be unable to play in tune.  Many music repair shops will not work on these particular instruments.  Also, do not be talked into going the next step up into an intermediate or pro horn.  These instruments require an advanced level of skill to play and will only serve to frustrate the beginner.
  3. Know your prices before you shop.
  4. Rent. This may not sound like a way to save money but it can for the following reasons:  The horn may need repair, the parents do not have access to the needed funds or the student may be less enthused than the parents and/or may want to switch to another horn/instruments.
  5. Check with the band/orchestra director to see if the school has any instruments your student could use. Often tubas, baritones, bass clarinets, drums and others are provided by the school.
  6. Save on repairs by making sure you and your child understand how to properly care for the instrument.
  7. Use some of the money you save for a few private lessons. Lessons can really spark a love for music by quickly building skills and confidence.  Get names of teachers from you child’s band director and/or check with a local college for names of students that may be teaching.
  8. Encourage practice. Remember you will be enduring squeaks and squawks for quite some time.  Know what is expected,  the time required and level of parental/child involvement.
  9. Never assume your child will remember all the steps required to care for their instruments or to magically become super responsible and remember to practice.  Helping your child succeed requires parents to be involved and assist them to become responsible.
  10. Best of all? Enjoy your child and watch him or her blossom with the learning of a new skill!

Donna Korzun is a Christian homemaker with a degree in Occupational Therapy. She lives in Dowagiac, Michigan with her husband Jonathan. They are the parents of 5 grown children and 3 (soon to be 4) grandchildren. Donna enjoys finding new ways to save money, gardening, yard sales, reading blogs, and studying God’s Word. This is her first published blog article. (woohoo!)

(Photo by wwworks)

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  1. Brandi April 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    This is a great post! Good advice all around :)

    I sold my guitar (it still hurts…) when I needed to earn a bunch of money fast to get my E.F. built up. I promised myself then that when I was debt free and could commit to actually becoming proficient at playing it, I would once again buy an amazing guitar.

    Only 1 more year!!!

  2. Jenna April 29, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    There are some music stores that will let you Rent-to-Own, which is a great option if you can find a store that offers these plans. This gives the flexibility of renting so that you can switch instruments, pay incrementally, etc., but if you end up sticking with that instrument, all those rental payments will eventually gain you ownership!

  3. J. Money April 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Oh man – one of my boys bought this $600 guitar once, learned how to play, then left it alone for 3 years…but the worst part was that he threw the whole thing on a credit card and it turned into $700 then $800 and then I think $900+ until he paid it off. Maybe even more cuz I remember him saying it almost doubled.

    So I’m all about renting first to see if you enjoy it before buying :) Although, I paid $150 for an acoustic-electric myself years back that still sits there….I never said I listened to my own advice.

  4. James April 29, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    one i don’t see is share with siblings. i had two sisters and we all used the same recorder in. in my day we called them hand me downs.

  5. Donna April 29, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    Thanks James, you are so right. I forgot about my own experience! I had 4 siblings. Of the 5, 4 of us shared 2 clarinets. My sister played trumpet. I actually still play in a summer municipal band (for money, yeah) and for local musicals (some paid, some free). I enjoy playing and I am blessed to be able to still do it. Thanks for jogging my memory. :-)

  6. eemusings May 1, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    I definitely agree with renting, esp. if you’re not sure you’re going to stick with it! When I was at school, most of us rented instruments like saxes and trombones (all those massive, bulky, PRICEY ones.)

  7. Ryan @ Planting Dollars May 9, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Seems more like a post saying all the possible options rather than discussing how to save money. With a purchase like an instrument I’d buy used starting out until I know if I, or whoever was going to play it, was actually going to stick with it, then upgrade in the future.


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