Advice for Parents: Buying Your Child’s First Instrument

Dec 15, 2021

The holiday season has arrived! And if you’re shopping for a little music lover you might be thinking about getting their very first instrument. That’s a big deal for a child -it could make or break their interest in music! That’s a lot of pressure, and you’ve probably got lots of questions. What’s the right size? Which brand is best? How should it sound? Is this the right instrument?

Take a breath.

Here’s the secret: buying a child’s first instrument should be a fun and exciting experience.

There’s no rush, and certainly no stress about finding the “perfect” instrument on your first try. Of course, it can seem scary all the same. That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to help you buy your little musician their very first instrument!

Step 1: Learn What You Can From Home

Even if you’re not a musician, there are plenty of resources around you that can help:

Ask a Teacher For Their Recommendation

Music teachers are an excellent place to start your search. After all, it’s their job to coach children (and adults) on how to be comfortable and capable with their instruments. Ask a teacher what their opinions are when it comes to instrument sizes and what a child should have with them for their first lesson. This may include accessories, like a music stand.

Google It Before You Shop

One of the most daunting parts of instrument shopping is undoubtedly the price. Even if you’re confident that it’s an investment into your child’s future, the price tag associated with many instruments can be an obstacle.

Take a little time before heading to the music shop to run a quick Google search to see what you can expect from the price range you’re looking at.

Make a List of “Silly” Questions

There’s really no such thing as “silly” questions, especially when your goal is to make the best choice for your child. We’ve all been there. The truth is, it’s better to ask as many questions as possible before you buy. The more information you have, the easier it will be to make the right choice for your child.

Rent or Buy?

One of the most common concerns parents have is whether or not their child will stick with their instrument long enough to justify the expense. When considering this, take into account factors like whether your child wants to play the instrument because their friends are doing it, or if they’ve been talking about it for a while.

Renting is a perfectly valid -and smart- option if you want access to an instrument but think your child may change their mind. With renting there are no consequences.

On the other hand, rental costs add up over time, and eventually, you’ll pay more than the cost of a new instrument. So weigh your options carefully.

Step 2: What to Look For in the Store

Once you’ve asked your questions and done your research, it’s time to head to the store. Once there, it should be pretty smooth sailing. Most music stores are equipped and happy to help in any way they can, including measuring your child, so you don’t even need to worry about sizes before you get there.

But, even with all their help, it’s wise that you:

  • Ask the person helping you if they can demonstrate the instrument for you. This can help you decide if you like its tone and if it will respond well for your child.
  • Ask about their professional setup. This is especially important for a stringed instrument because if they haven’t been set up by a luthier (or violin maker) they won’t be easy for your child to play.
  • Last but not least, take your time. Devote a half hour, or longer, to the trip so you have the time to listen and play a variety of instruments and brands, and you have time to take a look at accessories.

Accessories are an important part of any instrument and are often overlooked by first-time buyers. A music stand is a good idea no matter what your child wants to play, but other accessories will depend on the instrument. Take some time to look into valve oil, reeds, and cleaning materials specific to the instrument you have in mind. It’s an easy way to set them up for success right from the beginning!

Of course, one of the most important bits of advice for this point in your journey is to savor it! This is likely the first and only time your child will be getting their first instrument! It’s an exciting moment! And all this hard work will be worth it when you see the look on their face.

In the end, as always the best advice is that you get what you pay for. It’s best to do a little shopping around, speak to store owners, try out a few instruments. If you have the ability, bring someone along who knows more about what you want to buy and allow them to test potential instruments for you. Good luck!

Is your child ready to dive into the world of music? There’s no time like the holidays to start the journey! Check out all of The Music Studio’s lessons and programs and find one that fits! We also have classes for adults if you’d like the learn alongside your little one. There’s nothing like making music together with the ones you love. Sign up today!