Congratulations on making this commitment to your child’s musical experience! Now PLEASE read carefully, and take your time to make an informed decision on the purchase of a new band instrument for your child.


    There are dozens of instrument makers out there. Many of them are of good quality, but many are not. Please consider the list below when purchasing an instrument for your band student.  If an instrument maker does not appear on this list, be sure to check with Mr. McKay, or another respected professional musician or music educator, before making your purchase.


    For the most part, you get what you pay for (unless you are buying a used instrument). If an instrument price is significantly lower than other instruments of equal type and level. Cheaper instruments might look just like the more expensive ones, but unfortunately the visual appearance of an instrument has little or nothing to do with its quality.


    When you purchase an instrument made by one of the established, reputable brands listed below, you can be fairly certain that your instrument will:

    1. Be Functional and Durable (it will hold up for more years of use than a lower quality brand.)
    2. Be Repairable (instrument repair stores typically don’t have replacement parts for the less respected instrument makers. Sometimes they will even refuse to do work on these instruments, because they know the instrument will not hold up after the repair work is done.)
    3. SOUND GOOD! (The quality of materials and the accuracy and consistency in measurements and specifications will have a huge influence on the overall sound quality of an instrument. There are some very pretty trumpets out there, for example, that will sound blarey or brittle if you ever play them loud, or high. Also, typically the lesser quality instruments are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to play in tune. We work on playing in tune quite a bit in class. This can be a very frustrating experience if a student is playing on a low quality instrument.)


    **The reality is, a low quality instrument can directly effect your child’s enjoyment and development as a band student. The quality of the instrument they play may very well influence their decision to continue in band, or to give up out of a much justified frustration with their instrument. If you are reading this message, you are obviously invested in the decision to have your child learn to play a musical instrument. Please don’t make the mistake of equipping your child with a poor quality instrument!



    Armstrong (flute only)


    Buffet (clarinets)




    Gemeinhardt (flute only)




    King (brass only)


    Schilke (trumpets, mainly)


    Vito (clarinets and saxes)



    There are many other instrument makers to consider when you move up to a professional level instrument – but at that point you should be working directly with a private teacher or professional performer on your instrument to assist you in the process and the final decision. I would never recommend buying a professional model without the assistance and advice of a pro. In fact, it would be best to let a professional actually help you select the exact instrument when you are moving up to such a long-term, high-priced investment. Unfortunately, even the best instrument makers still produce a “dud” instrument on occasion, and your young musician might not have the skills yet to identify particular problems with the playability of the instrument.