Make sure to visit the Finding the Correct Size Violin page as this will impact your decision.
For many years I advised buying a violin over renting, mainly because used violins were common and it makes a lot of sense to “build equity” with an instrument.
Recently, though, rental options have improved dramatically. I now suggest that it makes more sense to take advantage of Long & McQuade’s Rent-to-Own program IF your child is not yet ready for a full sized instrument.
Before I go any farther I should state that I am not affiliated with Long & McQuade in any way, other than as a customer myself. I do not receive any type of benefit from recommending their products or services. There are a number of businesses and individuals who SELL violins and I encourage you to look around if you choose to purchase. When it comes to rentals, it is strictly my opinion that Long & McQuade offers the best value for your rental dollars.
If your child IS ready for a full sized violin it might make more sense to buy. An exception to consider would be if your child is ready for a full sized violin in their first year of playing. In this case you may wish to rent for a year just to see whether or not they enjoy it, then buy in the second of playing if they choose to continue. (That is what I would do if I had a child in the program.)
QUALITY: the rental instruments are mid-range quality. (See the BUYING section for information on different quality levels of student instruments.) They will play more easily and sound better than low-end instruments.
NO REPAIR: The instrument will be in excellent repair when you receive it. If anything goes wrong the store will take care of fixing it for you at no additional cost.
INSURANCE: For a very reasonable fee you can buy insurance that covers everything from cracks to smashes to theft. Every year I see at least 5 students drop their violins. Sometimes there is minor damage, but sometimes the instrument is destroyed. If you bought the insurance you simply walk into the store, hand over the broken violin, and walk out with a replacement.
FLEXIBILITY: Instruments can be exchanged for a bigger size in the middle of a rental term at no extra cost… just in case your child grows out of their size during the school year.
- RENT-TO-OWN OPTION: When you go this route, 100% of your rental fee can be put toward the purchase of an instrument when you are ready to buy. If you upsize during the rental period the money is applied toward the larger instrument. The instrument you will eventually buy will be a mid-range instrument which of course costs more than buying a low-end one as a beginner BUT if a student plans to stick with playing, this level of instrument will age better & need fewer repairs. It will also be better suited for the demands of playing in junior high and high school classes. (Check with the store about minimum & maximum terms for rent-to-own programs.)
*The Dartmouth Music Centre does have a limited number of used instruments available for rent. Rental of these instruments is open to everyone but may be particularly useful to those families who are not ABLE to rent from Long & McQuade for one reason or another. Contact me if you would like more information about Music Centre rentals.
Buying a NEW violin: How much? What kind?
Buying a USED violin: How much? What to look for?