Back to School: 5 tips for buying your child's first musical instrument

Updated August 2023

What accessories will your child need to play the instrument – sticks, bows, reeds? Is your child 100% set on that particular instrument, or would a different one be more practical for your current lifestyle?

It’s a good idea to think about the longer term plan too, especially if you’re planning to invest in a more expensive instrument. Can your child learn the instrument at school, or if not, are there local teachers around? Are there orchestras or groups nearby that they could join at a later stage?

If your child has already started lessons, asking their teacher for advice is a great place to start. They’ll be able to tell you what model or make of instrument would be most suitable, and where to buy it from. 

It can be tempting to go straight to an online retailer for ease, and often, the attractive low prices. However, if you’re a first time musical instrument buyer, it’s a good idea to visit a music retailer in person. Your child will be able to try out different instruments, and you can get advice from the staff in store. 

With some instruments like drums and piano, it’s not always practical or possible to buy before your child has achieved a certain level of playing with lessons. In these cases, it’s worth asking your child’s school if they would be allowed to practice on school equipment outside of their lesson time. If your child is taking lessons at a music hub, they may have an instrument hire scheme.

Other options are local practice studios, or even town halls or churches, which often keep music equipment for community events. Some music retailers may also be able to loan you an instrument before buying it, so it’s worth asking when you visit them in store. 

Once your child has made a little more progress with their music lessons, you may want to purchase some practice equipment they can use at home. For drums, this could be a practice pad, and for piano, a small keyboard.

You could also use this time to get your child started on learning music theory – it’s a good test to see if they are serious about learning an instrument, before you commit to buying one.

All instruments need different care routines to preserve their condition. It’s important that both you are your child are aware of what this involves to avoid visiting the repairer on a regular basis – or needing to replace the instrument early on.

Storing an expensive instrument in a safe place goes without saying – but it’s also worth noting that some instruments are particularly sensitive to temperature. As a general rule, avoid leaving instruments next to radiators or in very cold, unheated rooms. 

Protect your instruments and equipment by getting a quote online.