So with four children, it figures that at least one of them would want to be in band once they hit middle school. Unfortunately, I have NO experience with brass instruments in any way. When Shelby announced that she wanted to start band this past fall, I had no idea what to do! I am grateful that her teacher is so helpful! Of course I made sure to tell her up front that I am a beginner “band parent”.
Once the teacher let all the kids try out different instruments, they got to pick which one they wanted to play. Shelby originally wanted the trumpet but ended up picking the trombone. Since we didn’t have an instrument, and we were on a very limited budget, these were our options:
Buy a mouthpiece ($40) and all of the other accessories ($20) and then rent one from the school for $50 for the year = total cost of $110
Rent to own a trombone from one of the local music stores at $25 per month and that includes the mouthpiece and accessories = total cost of $425 (9 months x $25)
After being presented with these two options, I started doing more research. I quickly found out that purchasing a brand new, name brand trombone can be done for less than the $425 rent to own deal. Used trombones can be had for close to the $110 I would have to pay for her to rent one from the school.
I contacted Shelby’s teacher via email and asked her what to look for in a good, basic, used trombone. She gave me some brand names to look for and also some information on what to examine when looking at a used trombone. Then I started scouring the net to find a good deal.
Ebay and Craigslist were the obvious choices. I was not happy with the selection on Ebay so I searched more on Craigslist. Eventually I found a Bach brand trombone, complete with a hard case, two mouthpieces and all of the slide oil, grease, etc. The guy was asking $100 or best offer. The ad had been up for two weeks. I emailed him and sure enough he still had it.
We went to see it on Saturday morning. Right away I knew this was a great deal! Even so, since I knew it had been listed for over two weeks and he still had it, I asked “Your ad said $100 or best offer. Would you take $80?” and I held out the cash. He smiled and said “Yes since I know it’s going to a good home.”
On Monday morning, Shelby took the trombone to school for her teacher to see and check it over for us. She said we got a GREAT deal, especially since it is a Bach! This was a win-win situation. I ended up spending a total of $90 ($80 for the trombone, etc and then $10 for the book Shelby needed for class). This is less than the $110 for renting or the $425 for the rent-to-own choices.
The guy we bought it from was happy because this was just sitting around his house for years and he now has cash in hand. As a bonus, if Shelby decides not to continue band, I can hold the instrument and wait to see if Ben decides to start playing (he thinks it’s neat!) or I can resell it easily for what I paid for it. If she decides to continue, there will probably be no need for an upgrade since we bought a very good name brand instrument to begin with that will last her for years to come.