Parent's Guide to Buying a Band Instrument

Is it time to buy a band instrument?

Every band parent will eventually have to decide whether or not to buy their child an instrument. 

Band instruments can be expensive, so we’ve put together some tips on how to get the biggest bang for your buck this season and beyond!

Tips Sheet

  1. Ask the Teacher
    Talk to a band director or music teacher about the best brand of instrument to get. Quality brands are made to last and can often be repaired. This information will be a good starting point for further research.
  2. Talk to People You Know
    Ask other band parents what they’ve bought and what they recommend. See if you can buy or borrow any old instruments they may have. Talk to local music directors and musicians to see if anyone can lend, sell or give you a spare instrument that might just need a quick fix to be in working condition.
  3. Consider New VS Used
    Used instruments will be less expensive, but can be risky. You can probably tell if an instrument is obviously dirty or broken. If pieces are missing or not working, or the case is battered you may want a second opinion.
    Alamo Music has a large selection of quality new and used band instruments. We also provide a free evaluation and repair estimate for used band instruments.
  4. Test It Out 
    If your student already knows how to play the instrument, bring them along to shop for a band instrument. Have them bring their mouthpiece to play test and find obvious problems.
    It is always a good idea to take pictures and have someone at your local music store get an idea of what repair costs might be.
  5. Teach Responsibility
    Buying an instrument for a student means they will have to take care of it.
    Make sure your child is ready for the commitment of cleaning and putting away their instrument daily.
  6. MarchingBand
    If your high school student plays outside in marching band, you might want to get a second inexpensive marching instrument. Marching band instruments have to endure bus trips, rain, wind, and potential collisions or other accidents. For example, maybe a non-wood clarinet is a good choice for marching band to protect your wood clarinet from the elements.
    Talk to your band director, who may recommend acceptable alternatives.
  7. Quality Lasts
    Most parents feel more comfortable investing in their student’s musical growth after seeing the student stick with it for a couple of years. A quality instrument will continue to provide value throughout their entire life.
    A new instrument can encourage your student to participate in music ensembles and musical activities through high school, college and beyond in community bands or church. 

Remember, the musician is more important than the instrument. It is always good to invest in quality, but if the student is a beginner you may not need a professional grade instrument just yet. Define your budget to fit your student’s needs.

See our Pre-Owned Woodwinds and Pre-Owned Brass

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