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Any value in buying dd her own instrument instead of using the one provided by music service?

(25 Posts)
haggisaggis Wed 17-Oct-12 15:45:12

dd has been learning cello at school for just over 1 year - enjoys it and practises. Council music service provides the cello (dd calls it "Chip" - because it is very battle scarred!) Any value in buying her her own one?

ginmakesitallok Wed 17-Oct-12 15:49:49

We had to hire a violin for DD2 - worked out cheaper buying her her own, which we can trade in when she needs a bigger one. If it had been provided free then we probably would have stuck with schools. How much is a cello??

RoleyMo64 Wed 17-Oct-12 15:53:46

Many music shops will hire out instruments. You need to get insurance though, in case of (or rather when) it gets damaged. My son dropped his cornet on a stone floor - 80 pounds to get it back in shape!

You might also be able to get a second-hand one quite cheap, as most children move up the sizes and many families buy and sell on. Try asking the music teacher, if your dd plays with anyone else in beginners groups ask the parents there.

MorningPurples Wed 17-Oct-12 16:47:11

the better quality one you can get, the better it will sound, even at beginner level - which is a whole lot more encouraging for her to keep practising! You don't need a super-duper expensive one, but if you can afford to buy or hire one that is a better quality than the one provided, it might be worth it. (Of course maybe your music service provides pretty good ones, but I doubt it...).

Also, even with a cheap music service one, it is worth spending a bit of money to get it set-up well, if you can find a violin/cello maker in the area. They just do things like adjust the sound post, make sure the bridge is straight, and possibly replace the strings. It can make a real difference to the quality of the sound, and doesn't have to cost loads. Having a decent bow also makes a difference - they can be re-haired if needed, and it's not necessarily really expensive either. Make sure she has rosin to use as well.

ZZZenAgain Wed 17-Oct-12 17:05:56

what size does she need?

gelo Wed 17-Oct-12 19:34:48

Ds had his own 3/4 which was a beautiful instrument (I got talked into quite a good one by his teacher) and I dare say did inspire him to practice to a degree. But, they're not easy things to sell once your dc moves to the next size and in fact I still have it, so that maybe something to think about too (unless she's already on a full size).

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 17-Oct-12 20:28:33

I had to buy DDs cello as there wasn't one available to hire. We had previously bought her a violin and definitely had money's worth out of that, but the cello will take a bit longer to save money! I looked for ages for a 3/4 to buy second-hand.

We bought it through school and the Assisted Instrument Purchase scheme, which means it was bougth at an educational discount and VAT free.

DD has a Stentor 2 which seems absolutely fine for the level she is at. It now has a better bow as she broke the original one. We then had to pay a further £150 for a semi-rigid case as she needs to take it on the school bus.

I have a friend whose DD has played cello for 4 years and has now paid as much in hire charges as I have for the cello.

Theas18 Wed 17-Oct-12 20:34:27

Hmm not convinced device instruments will be fine for beginners and a grade or 2 certainly. Having your own is nice but it's difficult for a child to tell what they like and it seems to me you end up getting one basic instrument to about age 5 and a decent instrument after that (when they can actually work out what suits them) .

I think all of the instruments we've bought have been"better"ones and they've done up to grade 5 on school instruments (ds school French horn was a real battered old one too!

Theas18 Wed 17-Oct-12 20:34:58

Age 5 should say grade 5!

gelo Wed 17-Oct-12 21:50:42

with a cello in particular though it's so much easier to make a rich beautiful sound with a good instrument. The difference between the borrowed school one he had initially and the one we bought ds was huge and I always suspected that the high exam scores he achieved was in no small part due to having a good instrument and even if it was only grades 1 - 5 a good result does give a child a boost. It's fair to say if we'd rented it would have cost a fair bit too so if I had sold the thing it would have been cost effective as well, but if your child might give up it's not a great plan to have your own - ours was well used, so not so bad that we never sold it, if it hadn't been that would have been another story. The question really is to what extent the instrument itself makes a child more likely to continue.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 17-Oct-12 22:02:52

Sorry, should have made it clear that I agree with Theas18 there is no point in doing it for the sake of 'having your own instrument'. Some instruments are worth it depending on you hire charges. I payed £80 for DDs brand new violin. She played it for 3 years and it would have cost me £180 in hire fees. Similarly I was lucky enough to buy a 2nd hand trumpet for DS1 that cost £50. It lasted him 3 years as well. However the upgraded 'trumpet to last' I then bought him only lasted a year as he then changed to trombone. Aaaahhh.

I had to buy DDs alto sax and cello as they weren't available to hire. I had promised DD she could switch from violin to cello at secondary school. The sax is a good one but the cello will need replacing if she goes beyond Grade 5/6 on it, but then she will probably need a bigger cello anyway. I would have hired if I could, as I say the savings are not so great at this level.

We hire trombones for Ds1 and 2, a tuba for DS1 and a bari sax for DD. One trombone is from County Music Servce, the other three are from older DCs secondary school and are cheaper than the CMS. I have refused to buy another instrument for DS1 until I am convinced it is worthwhile (although he does have a pBone) and DS2 is only 9 so plenty of time yet to decide. The tuba and bari sax don't even bear thinking about to buy!

lljkk Sun 21-Oct-12 14:18:00

We had this decision recently as DD went from 1/2 to 3/4 violin: school hire much better deal, we decided.
I would buy her own if she was truly very keen (she most certainly is not).

Rosevase Mon 22-Oct-12 00:12:10

Not sure where people are coming from in thinking renting is better value, as in my experience, it definitely isn't! I bought DC's cello 1/4 size after her first trial lesson and the part exchanged it for a 1/2 size cello when she grew- for exactly what I paid for it! How is that not good value??
DC has now got a lovely 1/2 size and I expect I'll get close to the price I paid when I do end up upgrading that one. Much better than dead money renting.
I'd say a good independent specialist music shop is the key here grin

lljkk Mon 22-Oct-12 09:13:04

I was looking at paying £120+£40(?) for a 2nd hand little used 3/4 violin with case, the same make as the school uses.
The termly hire is £10-£15, and that includes an element of insurance and the case. So if DD used the 3/4 size violin for 11 terms, which is to say for almost 4 more years, until she's 14.5yo, then we should be quids in. Or if we can resell for a good price.

But what if she wanted to quit, or needed a full sized one much sooner? There was no great obvious advantage to having own until she reached full size.

I imagine it's different if your child is truly talented or very keen.

Whistlingwaves Mon 22-Oct-12 09:21:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiAAAAARGHo Mon 22-Oct-12 09:26:12

I wouldn't buy one unless you can pick one up second hand really cheap. She may yet lose interest/find a new hobby. If she continues with the cello, you can get her one eventually.

gelo Mon 22-Oct-12 09:46:20

You also have to consider the cost of maintenance. With stringed instruments, if you need to replace the bridge (which happens every now & then as the strings cut into it) that will be circa £100. I was told we should replace the strings every year too (we don't), but for a cello that's over £100 a set too. If it's a hire instrument then I imagine those sort of costs are included in the hire price.

haggisaggis Wed 24-Oct-12 16:06:29

Sorry - posted last week then forgot about it. Cello is 3/4 size - we pay nothing for it (or may be covered in termly tuition I suppose). Cello gets no maintenance. No grades so far - dd is lucky if she gets 15 mins tuition a week since the teacher teaches 2 cello kids (separately) and some violins (in 2 groups). Last lesson teacher spent most of the time texting apparently but that is another issue... DD is keen though - practises around 30 minutes every day. Part of me feels her enthusiasm should be rewarded by buying her her own instrument - but I'm also aware she will out grow it, it is expensive and was not sure if there would be any benefits. (By teh way - have looked for aprivate tutor but it would appear there are none at all closer than 1 hour travel from us!)

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 24-Oct-12 23:22:08

No value in buying your own then!

I would leave it for now.

unitarian Sun 28-Oct-12 01:13:45

I would say that you'd be better spending your money on private lessons than buying an instrument at this stage.
Do a bit of networking and try to find a local teacher or, if the one at school is any good, ask if DD can have private lessons. Ring up your LEA Music Service and ask for names of teachers or contact the local Music Centre. If the teacher is accredited you can still use the loan cellos.

You could improve the tone of the loan cello by having it serviced.
DD got to grade 4 on 'county' cellos but finding the right one to buy was a long drawn out process until we found the one she fell in love with.

ZZZenAgain Sun 28-Oct-12 08:33:36

I bought the 1/2 violin, teacher let dd use a 3/4 one of hers. She didn't need either very long, she is a tall girl. The 4/4 I bought and she needed it aged 10. I would save your money to get a really nice cello when she needs a 4/4, unless she is playing competitively where perhaps you need a better instrument for performances. Otherwise if dd is happy enough with the sound, maybe just stick with the one you have for now.

ZZZenAgain Sun 28-Oct-12 08:36:26

I agree with unitarian, the biggest boost to your dd's progress atm would come from private lessons, rather than a new instrument. Is there any chance of that?

haggisaggis Mon 29-Oct-12 11:25:55

Would prefer her to have private lessons as I don't really think much of the teacher - but can't find a cello teacher closer than 1 hour away.

unitarian Mon 29-Oct-12 17:32:08

An hour is a bit much at beginner stage but, unless you live somewhere really remote, I think there is probably a teacher nearer than that.

I live in the back of beyond and know of 2 cello teachers about 20 mins away but my DD is now 20 so I've been tapped into the local music/parents' network for years. It is very difficult at first.

That's why I suggest you ring the LEA Music Service. If they won't recommend a teacher then ask about the nearest Music Centre. There's a good chance that the Music Centre has a beginners' string orchestra she could join. Then you will meet other parents and be able to find out where their DC's are having their lessons.
Also ask at the nearest music shop.

Living where we do, over the years I just had to adapt. Everything is 20 minutes away so I spent a lot of time just sitting in my car reading or listening to the radio while DD had her lessons. Then she had a teacher even further away but near a Sainsbury's so I could dart round and do a shop during a 45 minute lesson. DD and I really enjoyed chatting on the drives to and fro and now she's at university I rather miss those journeys. Every minute was worth it for the opportunities music has given her.

unitarian Mon 29-Oct-12 17:42:10

There's also the ABRSM parents' forum

You can ask more or less anything on there and get good advice. If you say where you live someone is bound to name a teacher.

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