Return to Headlines

Student and instruments

A quick-start parent’s guide to choosing the right trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, violin, cello or percussion instrument for your budding musician

Your child’s joining the school band should be cause for celebration. Being a band member helps develop fine-motor and social skills, focus, and the ability to cooperate in group settings. Learning to read music offers benefits that transfer to other subjects, such as math. Making glorious music at a young age is something for parent and student alike to get pumped about. However, often times parents' excitement is tinged by the question, "What's this gonna cost?"

Of course 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. A bargain-basement instrument will probably have poor intonation and may be impossible to get into tune. Shoddy construction will compromise playability and tone causing the student to get frustrated and give up. To help ensure that your student’s initial enthusiasm is sustained as they make progress, care needs to go into choosing a worthy starter instrument.

The strategy here is to find a balance between price and performance, and it's actually easier than you’d think. Since there are so many parents facing this same predicament, leading manufacturers aim to juggle sound and playability factors with affordability.

In this quick-start guide, we'll look at some of the most popular band instruments, helping you separate the wheat from the chaff and identify some great starter instruments.