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Should You Rent or Buy An Instrument?

Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking about school band and what instrument our students need for next year!? In addition to the normal school planning, now you have to get an instrument for your child that is joining band! Do you rent an instrument or buy one? Initially, renting sounds easier, but buying an instrument saves money in the long run. Read on for the benefits of both renting and buying an instrument before deciding your next step.

Does your child know what instrument they want to play?

Picking an instrument to play as a 5th or 6th grader can be a daunting choice. There are so many instruments to choose from, and they are all super cool. Keep in mind that while you may be able to switch instruments, many teachers may require the student to stick with one instrument for at least half the year while other teachers may require the whole school year before switching. Teachers understand that trying to play in an instrument can be challenging, so they want to make sure that the student can succeed on the chosen instrument first before switching.

  • Renting - This might be the best option if your student has a very hard time picking one instrument to try. Here at A Joyful Noise we allow you to switch instruments at any time and 100% of the equity will be transferred to your next instrument.

  • Buying - If your student is not at least 80% sure of the instrument they want to play, then hold off on buying an instrument for the first few months. By the holidays, they will know if they love the instrument they started on and want to continue in band. When that happens, then it is a better choice to buy a brand-new instrument.

Cost of Renting vs. Buying

The monthly cost of renting an instrument can be very appealing for parents, especially if your student is unsure of what instrument to play. Here at A Joyful Noise, we charge a monthly rate that includes, rent, maintenance, and insurance. Rentals are generally on a month-to-month basis and are a rent-to-own, meaning that if you keep paying your monthly payment for the full term then you own the instrument. For example, a rental trumpet is $29 dollars a month, which totals to $348 per year. After 36 months of renting, you would pay a total of $1,044 and then you would own the instrument.

The upfront costs of purchasing an instrument are higher, especially if you opt for a new instrument, but the long term savings are HUGE! If you purchase a new instrument, you immediately save at least 20% or more off MSRP! And if you treat your student to a new quality instrument, you end up saving on the monthly maintenance/insurance rental fee. The great thing about buying an instrument is that if they end up loving band and play all through high school you have easily saved yourself a lot of money.


You may have already been asking yourself about how much it costs to maintain the instrument. Included in your monthly rate is maintenance which generally covers normal wear & tear, bumps and dings, etc. It does not cover cleanings, most of the time that is left up to you to schedule and pay for. After the full term and you own the instrument, all repairs are at your cost.

But how much does it cost to maintain an instrument every year? Just like a car needs regular oil changes and tires, woodwinds will need pads changed and brass instruments will need cleanings. Depending on the type of instrument, yearly maintenance is anywhere from $95 to $150 for student instruments.

What Instrument to Buy?

There are brands that we recommend to students because we know they will last a long time, and parts are easily accessible if you need them. Beware that most of the online brands that are inexpensive won’t be recommended by most teachers because parts are hard to get or non-existent and most repair shops will not repair them because of that reason. Your school teacher is also a fantastic resource for brands that they recommend.

Each family and student are unique in their needs for school band. We are excited to help you with any questions along the way. Whether you choose to rent or buy, you can trust A Joyful Noise to have quality products and services. We welcome all calls, emails or even stop by and say hi and check out our studio, we hope to see you soon!

If you’d like to learn more about instruments, available models, and accessories, follow the links below.

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