Covid-19 Update: Instrument Sizing DIY If you are looking to rent an instrument for the upcoming year and you do not know what size instrument your child will need (they come in different sizes as children grow), please see this handy guideto help you find their size on your own as to limit contact with rental places or with their teacher.
Instrument Needs For violin and viola players: We suggest renting an instrument from a local shop that can be transported between home and school. Students can drop off their instrument in the morning in the orchestra room so they don’t need to carry it all day, and then pick it up at the end of the day to bring home for practice.
For cello and bass players:Covid-19 Update: Cello players must bring their instrument to and from home to school. We will not be sharing school cellos in class. If this is not possible for your transportation, please contact Ms. Berecek to check availability of a school cello. We should be able to accommodate bass players with one school bass per student.
Instrument FAQ’s To rent or to buy? We strongly suggest that everyone start out by renting an instrument. String instruments are not one-size-fits-all and actually come in multiple sizes that accommodate growing people. So it is pretty likely that most students will start on a slightly smaller instrument. Sizing usually goes in quarter increments (1/4 size, ½ size, ¾ size, full size) so you want to have the flexibility to be able to rent one size, and when the child grows, to be able to easily exchange the instrument for the next size up. Many shops have a rent-to-own program where some of the money spent renting the instrument can eventually go to buying an instrument at which time the child is fully grown or wants to invest in a good quality instrument. String instruments can also be quite pricey and if you do not know what to look for, it is entirely possible to make a bad investment on an instrument that is actually not very functional or might cost more than it is worth to fix if it breaks. Please visit one of our local string shops to rent an instrument.
Online Retailers vs String Shop? It is very tempting to try to find a deal on an instrument online, or want to get that sparkly pink violin. You can definitely find any kind of instrument at a very low price somewhere on the internet. However, I must advise strongly against buying an instrument online. The construction of a string instrument is very different from the construction of a band instrument or even a guitar. Where as some band instruments or guitars can be mass produced with a decent quality, String instruments actually have very specific woods and glues and materials that make it functional and produce a decent sound. Since the instrument is held together with glue, correct assembly, and friction, you want to make sure that you are getting some quality of construction. A cheap glue could cause the instrument to separate from itself, poor construction often leads to the instrument being close to impossible to tune.
At a local shop, you will be sized to find the right size instrument and then given an instrument that has been set up by a luthier that knows what is needed for each instrument to be functional and produce great sound. A string shop will also help change strings when needed, fix any breaks that might occur, and can provide help with replacing or rehairing a bow.
Where an online deal looks tempting, you are much better off investing maybe a few more dollars at a string shop. Trust me, it will end up saving you money on repairs, bow replacements, string replacements, and will save your child (and a director) time and frustration wrestling with a lower quality instrument. If you are looking at instruments I would AVOID THESE BRANDS: Cecilio, Mendini, or Palatino.
What to do if renting is not financially feasible? We are here to help! Affordability of any of these supplies is never a reason for a child to not be able to participate in our class and we work hard to help where we can. For violin and viola players we have instruments that can be rented out from the school for $25 per semester (or if that is difficult we can always work around what can be afforded). For a cellist or bassist, we have some cellos and basses that can be rented out, but we must reserve these first for those with financial need, then the rest are rented out on a first-come first-served basis. The cost of a rented cello or bass from the school is $25 per semester. We will definitely assure each student who needs a cello or bass at home will have one and will work with families and students to meet everyone’s needs. Please just let us know, or have the student let us know of your needs at the beginning of the school year so we can set something aside for you as quickly as possible.
What accessories do I need with the instrument? The instrument, wherever you rent it from, will need to come in a case and must have a bow as well. Violinists and violists will also want to purchase a shoulder rest for personal use. Cellists and Bassists will want a Rockstop for playing on wood or tile floors.