How to Get a Great Instrument

Being in band requires a student to have an instrument to play. After each student has been tested on each instrument, I give a recommendation on what I think they will be most successful at. There are basically four different options to get an instrument. 
1. Rent-to-own an instrument through a music store.
Music Stop, Music and Arts, and Mid-State Piano Gallery and Music are three good options to get an instrument from. Music Stop has a representative that comes to the county every week to deliver supplies and take/return instrument for repair. Music Stop also has a damage waiver available with every instrument they rent. Basically, if their instrument gets damaged, they can repair it for no additional cost. The rent-to-own program makes a quality instrument affordable. Instead of paying a lot up front, you will pay a much smaller monthly payment. Once you pay it off, the instrument is yours to keep. If for some reason your child stops doing band, you can simply return the instrument to Music Stop, and the payments will stop. To see prices per month, visit and type Liberty into the school search box. The damage waiver is an additional $8 per month, but it is a worthy investment for the peace of mind. 
2. Purchase an instrument new from Amazon, Woodwind Brasswind, Musician's Friend, etc.
If the rent-to-own program is out of your budget, you can also purchase an instrument new from many sites online; however, you must be careful of the brand you buy. You can find some instruments on each of those sites for pretty cheap, but most of those brands are not very high quality, especially woodwind instruments like flute, clarinet, and saxophone. Those instruments are prone to having issues, and if it needs repair, no repair shop will take it in because they can't get parts for them. Please see "Recommended Instrument Brands" for brands that are known for quality and will have no issue being taken in for repairs.
3. Purchase an instrument used from a friend, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Ebay.
Sometimes you can find a great deal on a quality instrument on these sites. I personally have bought several instruments on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but I know what to look for in instruments. However, buying an instrument used does carry some risks. A used instrument may not work right or at all. Sometimes you end up spending more money on the repair than you did on the instrument. Also, if you get a bad brand, the repair shop won't work on them, like I mentioned earlier. If you find a good deal on an instrument, feel free to send me the ad. I have no problem looking at it and helping you decide if it will be a good investment. 
4. Check out a school instrument for the year.
If none of the above options work for you, we are fortunate to have a few school-owned instruments to be checked out by students at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, we do not have very many. If your child needs to use a school instrument, you will need to fill out a school instrument form. This form gives you the expectations of how the instrument should be treated, and explains the liability of using a school instrument. We also ask for a $35 instrument fee for the year. This fee goes back into the band program in the form of supplies, new music, and other classroom needs. Any school-owned instrument will need to be returned to the school before summer. You will also be responsible for getting the appropriate book for your child (about $10 depending on the instrument)
If you end up needing to use a school instrument, that is okay. I try to use it as a last resort since we do not have that many. Please don't let the financial aspect keep your child from doing band. Feel free to send me an email if you need some help getting an instrument!