Do you want to purchase an instrument (as opposed to renting-to-own)? You certainly do not have to purchase (we recommend renting) but are certainly welcome to purchase if you are financially able!
We just want you to invest in a high quality instrument from the start so your student is ready for maximum success!
You’ll need to call local music stores for prices and availability as it varies from store to store. Contact us if you have questions or issues.
Most instruments (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, percussion kits, etc) should be rented from a local music store if possible. If finances are an issue, DMS has a few available to rent, but they are not rent-to-own.
Students who play the following must rent from DMS and cannot rent from a local music store:
Students who play the following may rent from DMS (most likely scenario) or a local music store (as they are available). Not all music stores carry the larger instruments, you’ll have to call and inquire.
Bass Clarinet (or Contrabass/Contralto Clarinet)
Check out our DMS Percussion Purchase Timeline Chart (what percussionists need): HERE!
Check out our Band Instrument Purchase Guide: HERE
You can scroll down to find a list of some of Discovery Middle School Band’s recommended brands of each instrument!
Is it time to buy a band instrument?
Every band parent will eventually have to decide whether or not to buy their child an instrument.
Band instruments can be expensive, so we’ve put together some tips on how to get the biggest bang for your buck this season and beyond!
- Ask the Teacher
Talk to a band director or music teacher about the best brand of instrument to get. Quality brands are made to last and can often be repaired. This information will be a good starting point for further research.
- Talk to People You Know
Ask other band parents what they’ve bought and what they recommend. See if you can buy or borrow any old instruments they may have. Talk to local music directors and musicians to see if anyone can lend, sell or give you a spare instrument that might just need a quick fix to be in working condition.
- Consider New VS Used
Used instruments will be less expensive, but can be risky if you don’t consult the right people!
Many of our local music stores have a large selection of quality new and used band instruments. Some also provide a free evaluation and repair estimate for used band instruments. You can find great deals on things like CraigsList, Ebay, etc – but you should ALWAYS stick to recommended brands of instruments and also send listings to band directors to check out first. Many times in towns with thriving middle school and high school band programs, you can find local people selling good quality used instruments. For new instruments, beware of the “too good to be true” prices on online retailers like Amazon! If the instrument comes with white gloves, it probably isn’t a good deal!
- Test It Out
If your student already knows how to play the instrument, bring them along to shop for a band instrument. Have them bring their mouthpiece to play test and find obvious problems.
It is always a good idea to take pictures and have someone at your local music store get an idea of what repair costs might be.
- Teach Responsibility
Buying an instrument for a student means they will have to take care of it.
Make sure your child is ready for the commitment of cleaning and putting away their instrument daily.
When your student advances and plays outside in marching band for extended periods of time, you might want to get a second inexpensive marching instrument. Marching band instruments have to endure bus trips, rain, wind, and potential collisions or other accidents. For example, maybe a non-wood clarinet is a good choice for marching band to protect your wood clarinet from the elements.
Talk to your band director, who may recommend acceptable alternatives.
- Quality Lasts!!
Most parents feel more comfortable investing in their student’s musical growth after seeing the student stick with it for a couple of years. A quality instrument will continue to provide value throughout their entire life.
A quality instrument can encourage your student to participate in music ensembles and musical activities through high school, college and beyond in community bands or church.
FLUTE – The flute is one of the higher pitched instruments of the woodwind family. It has a beautiful sound that can be light and happy, or quiet and clean. Recommended flutes:
- Armstrong 103
- Yamaha YFL 222AD
- Gemeinhardt 3
- Jupiter JFL511S / JFL700
- Other good brands: Artley, Emerson
Clarinet – This is a popular woodwind instrument. It can play both high and low notes. A band generally has more clarinets than any other instrument. Larger clarinets such as the bass clarinet and contra alto clarinet are available to 2nd and 3rd year students (those are rented through DMS Bands). Wood clarinets are recommended and needed for high school band, but some beginner brands are a nice plastic/composite. Some go ahead and get a plastic clarinet and then use it for marching band (taking wood clarinets outside in the elements isn’t recommended) knowing that they will have to upgrade. Others go ahead and invest in a good wooden clarinet to ensure maximum success from the start, and then find a cheaper plastic when marching band rolls around. Whatever works for you.
- Buffet E-11 (wood)
- Yamaha YCL34 (wood)
- Buffet B-12
- Jupiter 635 N
- Selmer CL301
- Yamaha YCL200AD
- Other good brands: LeBlanc, Normandy, Bundy, Vito
Note: Keep the mouthpiece cap that comes with the instrument.
- Vandoren 2.5 reeds (make sure you get the right size!)
- Reed Case
- Cleaning Kit (at least a swab and some cork grease!)
- Rovner ligature
- Vandoren 2RV, 5RV, or B45 mouthpiece
- J & D Hite Premiere mouthpiece
- Rico and Rico Royal brand reeds work, too – size 2.5 to start. I recommend sizing higher on plain Rico reeds.
Oboe – The oboe has a distinct, beautiful sound and often plays sad or expressive melodies. Because it is a difficult instrument to play, students playing oboe are required to take private lessons. Oboe is mostly a school-owned instrument, but some local music stores may rent as supplies last. Recommended accessories:
- Jones Medium-Soft or Medium Oboe Reeds
Good Brands: Fox, Selmer, Yamaha
Bassoon – The bassoon is a bass double-reed woodwind instrument that makes a warm, dark and reedy sound. Students playing bassoon are required to take private lessons. Bassoon is a school-owned instrument. Recommended accessories:
- Jones Medium-Soft or Medium Bassoon Reeds
Good Brands: Fox
Alto Saxophone – The saxophone is a very popular instrument and comes in various sizes and ranges. Beginners start on the alto saxophone. Larger saxophones such as the tenor sax are available to older students. Recommended altos:
- Yamaha YAS200AD – YAS23
- Jupiter JAS700
- Selmer AS400
- Other good brands: Bundy, Buescher, Vito, Cannonball
Note: You need to make sure to keep the mouthpiece cap as well as the cap that goes at the top of the body of the instrument.
- Vandoren 2½ reeds (Lavoz and Rico Royal are also acceptable brands)
- Selmer C* (C Star) mouthpiece
- Rovner ligature
- Swab/Cork Grease
Trumpet – The trumpet is the highest pitched instruments in the brass family. They are played in all types of ensembles including concert bands, jazz bands and orchestras.
- Bach TR300H2
- Jupiter JTR700
- Yamaha YTR200AD
- Other good brands: Eastman, King, Getzen, Besson, Holton
- Bach 5C
- Bach 7C to start, move to 5C
French Horn – The French horn has a rich full sound. It is a brass instrument built in a circle, with a large bell that is held down by the player’s side. French horns are found in both concert bands and orchestras. French horn is a school-owned instrument; prospective french horn players will rent from DMS. Some local music stores rent french horns, but you’ll have to call and ask availability.
- Bach 7
- Schilke 31
Recommended Brands: Conn, Yamaha, Holton
Trombone – The trombone sounds brassy like the trumpet, but makes a lower sound. Moving a long slide changes pitches. The trombone is very popular and is in great demand in both bands (concert bands as well as jazz bands) and orchestras.
- Bach TB300
- Jupiter JSL700
- King 606
- Yamaha YSL 200
- Other good brands: Conn, Holton
- Bach 12C or 6½AL
Baritone – Baritones are actually small tubas. The baritone (or euphonium) sounds in the same range as a trombone but has a mellower sound. Baritone is a school-owned instrument; prospective euphonium players will rent from DMS Bands.
- Bach 12C or 6½AL
- Schilke 51D (*call director to ask about shank size of instrument rented)
Recommended Brands: Yamaha, Jupiter, Eastman
Tuba – The tuba is the largest and deepest member of the brass family. It is the bass voice and the foundation of the band! It is essential to great band sound. Even though the tuba is big and plays in a low register, it can play very fast notes or light and lively tunes. Tuba is a school-owned instrument.
- Conn Helleberg
- Bach 24AW
Recommended Brands: King, Jupiter, Yamaha
You do NOT just play drums in percussion class! Xylophone, marimba, bells, chimes, tambourine, timpani, triangle, and cymbals are among the many instruments percussion students learn to play. It is required for students to rotate between all of these instruments! Drum set is not included in the first year instruction (just a small introduction to drum set toward the end of the year). The beginning student will start on a percussion kit which includes a small set of bells and a drum pad.
Recommended kit brands:
- Innovative Percussion
- Vic Firth
- Any brand of kit acquired from a local music store is acceptable.
Make sure the kit includes a rubber practice pad and a bell kit. Some kits include a real snare drum, but this is optional. It just depends on what you want for your student.
Percussionists will eventually use this percussion kit for AT HOME practice, and bring a STICK BAG to school daily for their instrument usage. Check out the “Vic Firth education packs”, and our percussion guide/timeline chart above for details!