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Should Beginner Violin Students Rent Or Buy?

Knowing how to play the violin is an excellent accomplishment. One that not only offers a lifetime of personal fulfillment and joy, but that also enhances your cognitive ability to learn new concepts and comprehend complex subjects. And because of the benefits music instruction offers during the formative years, many parents support their child’s desire to learn the violin.

However, those same parents often wonder whether they should rent the first violin or buy it for their emerging musician. The violin, like other fine instruments, isn’t really known for its cheap price. Indeed, the opposite is true and violins tend to have a reputation as a very expensive instrument. Plus, unlike a drum set or hockey gear, the violin is a delicate, precision instrument and even very subtle differences can influence its price in a major way. Therefore, it can be a little intimidating trying to navigate the stringed instrument world for beginners.

Really the most important factor for beginner violin students to recognize is that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In certain cases a purchase is best, and for others, renting makes more sense; it depends on your personal situation. However, you can identify some key indicators to determine whether or not you should purchase or rent your child’s first violin. So, before you make a decision in either direction, use this checklist to help ascertain which option is best for your family.

Student’s Age

This will be a big determining factor. The age of the prospective student makes a difference in the size of the violin needed. Violins are a very personal instrument and to prevent long-term injury to the player, must be sized accordingly. One of the worst difficulties a new student can face is having an instrument that is too large. It makes playing very difficult, and over time can cause serious health related problems.

If the student needs a violin that is less than the full size or ¾ size instrument, renting your first violin makes sense. As your child grows, you’ll need to upgrade the size of the violin, and it’s simply not very cost conscious to buy an instrument that won’t be any use to the student in 6-8 months.

Student’s Enthusiasm

Many children are excited to try a new instrument because they think it will be fun to play, or they imagine that it will offer a sort of distinction among their peers. And while the violin does possess an aura of exclusivity, it is also very challenging.

You know your child best. Renting is a good idea if you think that your child’s interest may wane as swiftly as it waxed. Renting not only provides your child with the opportunity to try the violin, but it also eases the pressure if he or she decides later on that it isn’t what was envisioned. Of course, there will always be a slight adjustment period with any new hobby, but you don’t want to make a purchase only to discover six months down the road that the violin outfit you bought is just another item collecting dust in your child’s bedroom.

When Purchasing Makes Sense

Although for most people, starting out on a rental violin is the best option, for others it’s worth it to go ahead and make the initial investment for a beginner. Violins are a hand-crafted instrument and as such, each one has its own distinctive sound. Higher levels of craftsmanship equate to better tone and improved ease of playability.

So if your child is truly serious about becoming a proficient violinist, purchasing a student outfit is a good choice. New manufacturing methods that combine factory and hands-on techniques have made buying a quality student violin much more affordable. You can purchase an excellent beginner instrument, hard case, and composite bow for around $500. Plus, if your child takes proper care of it, it will last for years.

It’s also a good idea to ask about trade-in value if you decide to purchase. When it’s time to upgrade to an intermediate level instrument, some dealers offer discounts if you’ve originally bought the student outfit from them. Incidentally, many shops also offer purchasing discounts if you’ve been renting your current instrument there, but this isn’t a universal practice, so make sure to ask beforehand.

Deciding whether to purchase or rent your first violin really depends on your specific circumstance. And although in some cases, buying your beginner a violin is a good option, for most new students, renting offers flexibility and affordable chance to try out this incredible instrument without incurring the full cost of a purchase.

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