Caryn Neidhold, director
Instruments for the beginning of the school year
Hello Billinghurst Orchestra Parents -
School will soon be starting and many of you may be thinking about getting instruments for your child. No worries! We have lots of time. Please read below to learn about VSO (Violin Shaped Objects) and how to avoid wasting money on an instrument that doesn't work.
Beginning students will hear and see a demonstration of all orchestra instruments in the first week of school. It's sometimes surprising to parents that students find they love an instrument other than the violin. Getting the right size instrument for students has a huge impact on success and I size differently than local music stores. Another good reason to wait.
Intermediate students will be re-sized the first week of school. If you rent from a local store and students know what size I recommended at the end of last year, please go ahead and trade the instrument for the next size up. You do not have to pay additional fees.
Advanced students will be re-sized the first week of school. If you rent from a local store and students know what size I recommended at the end of last year, please go ahead and trade the instrument for the next size up. If you have been renting since 6th grade, you will likely pay off the instrument sometime this school year. Please check your contract, but for many of you, the payoff date may be in October. You are welcome to contact me via email if your student is not in a full size instrument yet. I do have options that will help you. For most contracts, you are "stuck" with the instrument at the end of your contract, so I want to help you make sure you have the best instrument at that point.
The best instrument options are renting from local music stores. There are a few reputable online music stores to rent from but you will have to pay shipping as well. Please ask me if you are interested in this option. Since most middle school students rarely start on full-size instruments, I recommend renting the first year or two before purchasing.
Billinghurst does have some school instruments to check out for a fee. Families with Free & Reduced Lunch receive priority but generally these instruments are first come, first served. I will have the forms in the classroom. All bass students will check out (for a fee) their instrument from Billinghurst. Intermediate & Advanced students will likely have the opportunity to have a bass at school and a bass at home. Finally, if your family is facing financial difficulty, I am happy to coordinate with the counselors to get your fees covered. Please let me know you need assistance via email.
We parents are excellent at finding the best deals for our family. With Amazon and Ebay being a good source of these deals, we may accidentally think this is a good place to buy instruments too. For the most part, the bargain instruments on Amazon/Ebay/Target/Walmart are not worth the price. These instruments sound terrible, won't stay in tune, and frequently come without important parts. Recently, a student's family bought an instrument that came without a bridge or a bow. The bridge costs about $25 but fitting a bridge costs $100 and the bow can cost anywhere from $75 and up. And, it sounded terrible. This instrument had a negative impact on the student's ability to make progress.
Here is an article that talks about the pitfalls of buying a budget instrument: LEARN FROM BARBIE - DON'T BUY CHEAP VIOLINS
I'm looking forward to seeing the students at the first day of school. They do not need to bring anything for class on the first day of school.