1) What instrument should my child play?
Sometimes the instrument recommended is not the instrument you envisioned your child would play. Keep in mind that the child's physical features play an important role in a music teacher's recommendations. We desire success for your child right from the start.
I strive to maintain balanced instrumentation in the ensembles. Just as a baseball team couldn't function with six catchers and no outfielders, a band depends on all sections being filled and not overloaded. I certainly do not want your child to play an instrument he or she doesn't like, but I appreciate your cooperation and support of our recommendations whenever possible.
If your child is interested in percussion, due to the limited amount of percussion parts and instruments, I am only able to take a limited number in each band. Therefore, previous keyboard (piano) experience is a prerequisite.
2) Should we rent or buy an instrument?
I would recommend renting for a few months to see how well your child likes the instrument and how well he or she progresses. Sometimes, however, I know renting can be cost prohibitive, and some parents will opt to purchase a used instrument instead of renting. My only caution is to have you be certain that the used instrument is in proper working order before use.
3) Does Valley Troubadours provide instruments to borrow or rent?
While I will have some larger percussion instruments available each band rehearsal, I only occasionally have instruments that I own available to rent. As the band grows, I re-invest funds to purchase larger instruments (tuba, bass clarinet, bari sax) for students to borrow.
4) May we use an old family instrument?
In many cases, it may be to your advantage to use an old family or friend-owned instrument for the initial year(s) of band experience. I strongly suggest that you take the instrument to a local music store to ensure that it is in good working condition. There is nothing more frustrating for a beginner than trying to progress on an instrument that does not work properly.
5) May I purchase an instrument from Craigslist, a garage sale, or online auction?
While it is possible to find good instrument buys from these sources, as with any purchase of this type, you are encouraged to use caution. Be sure the instrument is of good quality and in good working condition. Nothing is more frustrating for your child than trying to learn how to play an instrument that does not work properly or play in tune. As a convenience, I have created a list of suggested instrument brands to assist you. Be sure to have the instrument checked over and put into good playing condition before band begins.
6) What if my child changes his/her mind or wants to try a different instrument?
I generally discourage switching instruments during the first year, as it takes much time and effort to master the technical challenges of playing any instrument. However, I understand that there are exceptions. If your child has been unable to progress, or has become extremely frustrated, please consult with me. I may have some additional ideas that could help your child improve or thoughts on another instrument which may be a better fit for your child.