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A Guide to Step-up instruments. . . answers for parents! What, when and why, and how much?

Updated: Sep 4, 2021


If you've been renting your child's instrument for more than three years now, this article is for you!

For more than 40 years, we've been working with public, private, and parochial school teachers as a trusted, respected source to help guide their students and parents.

Most parents have no idea when their child would need a better instrument and this is the same for most students. If your child has been studying privately, the teacher has had more one-on-one time with your child and as a result, will have a better idea that it's time for a better instrument. If this is not the case, the three-year rule is one that has served students very well!


Unlike beginner instruments that are less expensive and can be rented, a step-up instrument is an essential next step in furthering your child's musical education and abilities.

Whether you want your child to develop a lifelong skill, to be engaged in a fulfilling extracurricular activity, or you are hoping they can attain scholarship money in the future, their need to move on to a step-up instrument is a significant turning point. Dedicating the additional time, effort, and money to a new instrument is an important step, but it is also necessary if your child's talents and potential are to increase.

Not only is this an investment in your child's musical future, but it is also purchasing a high-quality instrument that can live in your family for years to come. We have significant experience in determining the right instrument for the player in your life. Since 1979, we have been actively involved with almost all the local music programs throughout Fairfield County and beyond. You can trust that we truly have your child's best interests at heart!

Every instrument is uniquely made and has its own sound. Purchasing a step-up instrument allows you to help your child to improve without being hampered by an instrument their capabilities have outgrown. After all, even the best student instruments like Yamaha, Conn-Selmer, Jupiter and Eastman are only designed to get your child off to a great start and last them approximately 2-4 years! Beyond that, it's time for an instrument that's capable of broader dynamic range, has better tonal characteristics, and simply feels better to play!

"It's good enough, isn't it?

is something we hear quite often. No matter the brand or how pretty or shiny a student's instrument may be, it is a proven fact that most all student instruments will begin to limit or "fail" a progressing student. What we mean when we say "fail" is that the instrument is simply not capable of reproducing good tone, articulation, or the dynamic range that an advancing player begins to demand of their instrument. While a mouthpiece or reed change could prolong the need to upgrade, these are usually only very temporary methods of putting off the inevitable need to upgrade!





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