The goal is to find a good quality instrument that will make learning easier. There are three shops I have visited in our area that I can highly recommend:
- Melody Corner in Kerrville, TX (830) 896-8933
- Antonio Strad in San Antonio, TX (210) 349-9789
- Hill Country Music in Fredericksburg, TX (830) 997-0900
To Rent or to Buy? The shops in this area have different policies regarding purchase and rental. Please contact each one directly to learn more. If you are interesting in renting, make sure that the rental fees can be applied toward a future purchase from that store. Many parents prefer buying the instrument to save on the monthly service charges involved in renting. Most shops will have a “trade up” program for students purchasing or renting at their shops when you’re ready for a finer quality or larger sized instruments. Some parents prefer to sell the instrument to another student of the studio when they are done.
How much will I spend? Each of the different shops have different violin outfits for different prices. I would recommend spending no less than $250 on a beginner violin or viola. Cellos are more of an investment but can be purchased for anywhere from $600 to $1200. Rentals usually start at around $25 a month for violins and violas and $50 a month for cellos.
What places should I avoid? Generally, pawn shops, garage sales and the internet are the places to avoid buying instruments. I didn’t say “don’t” buy at these places, just be very careful.