Your child wants to play the violin! Should you rent a violin or buy one?

rent a violin

By Jillienne Bowers

Your six-year-old child wants to play the violin and has been asking you to buy her an instrument so she can take violin lessons. How exciting your child wants to play a musical instrument! And you have probably heard about the many benefits this will have on your child’s development. However, starting a musical instrument can be overwhelming. Here are some questions you might have before getting started. Should you rent a violin, or should you buy a violin? Where can you find a violin and what types of plans do they offer? Finally, what is it going to cost? Although the decision of whether to rent or buy a violin for your young and enthusiastic beginner can be confusing, knowing the answers to these questions will make the process more enjoyable and get your student on the right track for a life of fulfillment that musical studies will bring.

teacher with violin student

When is the right time to rent a violin?

The age and size of the young violinist matters when deciding whether to rent or purchase a violin. If a child begins playing at the age of five or a little older, they will begin on a fractional size violin and need several different ones before they grow into the full size. For example, if a child begins on a 1/8 size violin, they will play on four additional sizes before reaching the full size (4/4). To purchase all these violins would be expensive and impractical and then trying to sell each of them as the child grows into the next size is problematic. Therefore, renting a violin would be the better option in this case. One might ask, why not begin on a full-size instrument, and save money? If you begin a small child on an instrument that is too big, this will cause discouragement and discomfort as well as slow down the child’s progress. It might even cause the child to quickly lose interest in music altogether. Another possible reason for renting rather than buying a violin would be for an older student who joins their school orchestra, but they are not sure about playing long term and do not want to make any commitments. This would be an excellent reason to rent instead of buying a violin regardless of the size of the instrument needed.

violins laid on floor

There are so many reputable string shops around the country that offer many good incentives and plans to get your child started renting a violin. For instance, Vermont Violins in Burlington, Vermont offers easy rental plans for young aspiring musicians that take away the burden of funding a brand-new instrument. Also, Vermont Violins will use 2/3 of the accumulated rent and put it towards another instrument of equal or better value. Other companies like Shar Music Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan will let you apply 100% of rental credit towards a violin of greater value. Some other perks from renting are free shipping, replacing one or two broken strings, and covering minor repairs. If renting is the option you choose, expect the instrument to be fully set up with new strings, a case, a bow, and the rosin. Another program that is sometimes used is called the “Rent to Own” program. Both Shar Music Company and Vermont Violins have this plan available. A brand-new instrument that is nicely set up with a case and a bow is yours to own at the end of the rental agreement.

However, be careful with these kinds of programs because one can end up paying a lot more for a violin than if bought outright. For instance, the Lamberti Sonata violin outfit from Shar Music would cost $695 if purchased, but under the “Rent to Own” program, you would pay over $1500 for the same violin over thirty-six months. With that said, both companies offer different levels of rental programs that can fit your budget and you will still end up with a decent violin. Other violin shops like Potter Violins in Takoma, Maryland do not have a rent-to-own program, but offer the same kind of low monthly rates for rental violins. This shop will allow you to use rental credit from another violin shop, that can be used towards buying a violin from their shop. There are many similar plans like these offered by reputable shops throughout the United States that make renting a violin easy. Whichever string shop you choose, the employees should always be accommodating, helpful, and trustworthy. 

violin store

Renting Options to Keep in Mind

The cost of renting a violin can vary in price depending upon which plan you choose. The three shops mentioned in this article offer a three-tiered rental program. The first and lowest would be the economy-priced violins ranging from $17.99 - $20.00 per month. Although not satisfactory over a long period of time, these violins are adequate for the entry-level student. When you get to the middle range of violins, they offer more substance and tone quality and are priced between $25.99 - $30.00 per month. For the highest tier or premium level violins for rent, you will hear a substantial difference in tone with added colors, easy playability, and evenness across all four strings. The cost for a premium violin ranges from $43.99 - $56.00 per month. If you were to buy a full outfit instrument, one can pay as little as $219 to a more expensive violin costing thousands of dollars. The V. Richelieu violin from Vermont Violins is an example of a nicer violin that sells for $5,600 and rents for $56 per month. This handmade violin would be perfect for the more serious student and embodies a rich full sound with beautiful colors. Whether you are going to buy an instrument of lesser value or one that is more expensive, it is recommended you take your time playing on many instruments before choosing the violin that best suits you.

The Decision is Yours!

It is such an exciting adventure to play a stringed instrument and the enjoyment it will bring you and your family will last a lifetime. The many quality string shops with violins that are available to you can be tailored to your personal needs whether you decide to rent or buy a violin.

Potter Violins


Vermont Violins

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