Beginners Guide to School band / orchestra instruments

band instruments

This is a beginners guide (for parents) to understand the various school band / orchestra instruments so that you can introduced your child to music.

Most schools have a school band and offer music as a subject. Your child joining the school band is definitely a great thing for him/her because of the sheer advantages (including joy) that music provides.

In the case of kids, developing fine-motor skills, social skills, focus, working in a group, are just few of the things that they can expect to learn. Besides,learning to read music is like math, good for your little one’s intelligence as well.

So, as a parent, if you’re excited about your child’s foray into the world of music, here are some other things to know like what are the various instruments available, how much do they cost, and so on.

Also Read: Understanding the various Band & Orchestra Musical Instruments and accessories.

Let Your Child Make the Most of the School Band Experience

One of the great things about middle school is that students can finally participate in activities and sign up for subjects that they’ve been looking forward to since elementary school. Joining the middle school band can be a milestone, but also a learning experience for tweens. If your child is considering the school band or orchestra, consider the following tips to make the experience the best possible.

The Middle School Band – Tips for Teens and Parents

  • Give it a Try: Every student should at least look into joining the middle school band or orchestra. Even students who have never played an instrument before, or who can’t yet read music, should ask if they can participate. Schools often hold a “band night” for parents and children to meet the instructor and try out the instruments, or you may have the opportunity to learn about the band program at school orientation. It’s a good idea to try every instrument, in order to determine which one might be best for your child.

    Also Read: Introduction to Classical Music

  • Save Money: Joining the band or orchestra can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. If your child decides to give the band a try for a year, consider renting an instrument as opposed to buying one. If your child decides to stick with band, you can look into purchasing a used instrument from a student who has dropped out of band, or shop for used clarinets, flutes, or trumpets at pawn shops, or through local classified advertisements. Many music stores also offer parents the option of paying for an instrument in monthly installments. It’s not a bad idea to look into optional insurance coverage, because at some point during the school year there’s a good chance your child’s instrument will need some professional adjustments.
  • Be Patient: Your musician should know that it takes time to master an instrument, and at first the band may seem like it will never master a song together. Be sure your child knows it takes time for the group to put it all together, and to be patient with the band instructor and with other members of the band. Your child’s school will likely have a performance at the end of the year, so that you and your child can enjoy just how much the group has learned together.


To Rent or Buy

If you’re shopping for a beginning student instrument, its tempting to rent an instrument, because your student’s commitment is unproven, and some musical instruments can be expensive. But then, there are some good reasons to opt for a purchase (instead of renting) for the following reasons.

  • Long-term rental fees can add up quickly. A perfectly playable entry-level instrument can usually be purchased for less than the cost of a year’s rental.
  • A well-chosen beginner’s instrument that is well cared for will retain its value and usually return a substantial part of its purchase price when sold used or traded in for a better quality instrument.
  • Higher-quality instruments may appreciate in value over time; and in the case of stringed instruments such as violins, their voices “open up” as they age.
  • Rental instruments may be a bit worse for wear with nicks, dents, and scratches, You’re also liable for any damage on a rented band instrument.


However, it makes sense to check with your school or with local libraries; in certain cases you do get musical instruments on rent for cheap.

Buying a Musical Instrument for Your Child

The ‘cost’ of a musical instrument worries most parents, but then you do not have to pickup the most expensive one.

You’re not going to go out and pick a Stradivarius violin for your kid. But then again, buying the cheapest instrument available is likely to backfire.

Cheap instruments will probably have poor intonation and difficult to get into tune. Shoddy construction could compromise playability and tone, causing your child to get frustrated and even give up learning.

So in order to ensure your student’s initial enthusiasm is sustained as they make progress, pick up a worthy starter instrument (there are plenty of good starter instruments).

A clever thing to do is to strike a balance between price and performance, and it’s actually easier than you’d think. Because so many parents face this same predicament, leading manufacturers aim to juggle sound and playability factors with affordability.

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