How To Choose Your Child’s First Instrument

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Learning to play an instrument is a rewarding experience that will give your child a lifelong appreciation for music and the arts. However, learning the fundamentals can be slow and difficult if your child doesn’t have a suitable instrument. On the other hand, a quality musical instrument can be expensive to purchase and maintain. The best option for beginners is to rent band instruments. That way, they have access to a high-quality instrument that will reward their hard work and dedication.

It’s important to bring your child along when selecting an instrument. Have them try out a few different brands and models until they find one that feels comfortable. Choosing the right first instrument for your child will help them excel in both band class and private lessons. Here’s a short guide on what to look for when you rent band instruments.

String Instruments

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String instruments are are an essential part of any orchestra and are featured heavily in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic compositions. Here’s a rundown of the four main instruments in the string family.


The violin is the smallest member of the string family. If your child is very young, it’s a good idea to get them a “starter” violin, which is smaller and designed for a young musician. As they grow up and develop their musical skills, upgrade to a full-sized student violin.


The viola is similar to the violin, but it’s slightly larger and has more of a baritone sound. If your child wants to play a string instrument, have them try both a violin and a viola. They might prefer the feel of the larger viola.


The cello is considerably larger than the viola. It rests on the ground and is played from a seated position. If your child is very young, it may be difficult for them to get started using a full size cello. Ask about 1/2 and 1/4 size cellos if your child is under the age of 10. That way they can master the fundamentals of playing the cello and move up to a larger size as they mature.

Double Bass

The double bass is the largest of the string instruments. A full-size double bass can be over 6 feet tall. The double bass is a very versatile instrument that is used in classical, jazz, and bluegrass compositions. Bassists have to build up a lot of finger strength and muscle memory to play the bass. Consider renting a 3/4 electric bass to get started and then moving them up to a double bass.

Woodwind Instruments

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Woodwind instruments fall into two categories: reed instruments and flutes. Reed instruments include the clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and oboe. Flutes do not use a reed. Instead the player creates sound by blowing air over an opening. Woodwind instruments can be expensive, which makes it a good option to rent these band instruments if your child is just getting started.


If  your child is starting young, consider renting a C clarinet. This model is smaller than a Bb clarinet and ideal for young hands. Reed techniques carry across the types of clarinet. Choose one that they’re comfortable playing to get them started.


There are several different sizes of flute, including the piccolo, which is significantly smaller and plays an octave above a standard flute. Unless your child is very young, they shouldn’t have any issues holding a full-size flute. Have them test several different models to find one they prefer.


The saxophone comes in four main variants: soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. It’s common for beginners to learn how to play using the alto sax and then switch to different variants as they progress and specialize. Have them test out both alto and tenor saxophones to find one they enjoy playing.

Brass Instruments

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Learning a brass instrument can be a rewarding experience. Brass is used in many forms of music including Classical, Jazz, Bluegrass, and Pop music. It’s a good idea to rent brass band instruments, so your child can learn the fundamentals on a high-quality instrument.


The trumpet is a bright brass instrument that plays in a higher register than the trombone or tuba. A full-size trumpet will be suitable for the average young musician. The trumpet is a very loud instrument. Consider renting or purchasing a mute with your trumpet rental to help quiet down practice sessions.


The trombone produces a warm baritone sound and forms the core of a brass section. When selecting a trombone for your child, have them start with a regular slide trombone. As they become more comfortable with the fundamentals of using a slide, ask about valve trombones. If your child is very young, have them start with a miniature trombone.


The tuba is the largest brass instrument, and it produces deep bass tones. It’s recommended that children learn how to play the euphonium first and then graduate to a full-size tuba in middle school or high school.

Rent band instruments in Los Angeles

Adam’s Music is a full-service music store in West Los Angeles. Our staff have years of experience selecting the right rental instrument for your son or daughter. We wants you to get the most out of your rental instruments. That’s why we only rent quality musical instruments in good working order. Check out our rental page for more information.