How to get an instrument for your child

You should begin at this page to get an overview of the instrumental music program: |INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC OVERVIEW|

Sign-ups for instrumental music for the 2017-18 school year are coming. Please wait before getting an instrument for your incoming 4th grader until you hear from Mr. Pendergrass in the fall. Feel free to read through these pages and get some ideas about our instrumental music program at Fairmount Park.

How do I get an instrument for my budding new musician?

Families typically rent or buy instruments from the local music stores in the area. Please do not rent or purchase an instrument until you register and Mr. Pendergrass contacts you about your student’s choice of  instrument.   A local music store can help you pick out the right instrument and size your child accordingly. Many offer rental plans for the school year with several different options, including rent to own with affordable monthly payments.

Can’t I just buy an instrument from Amazon or online? The prices are lower than renting…

Please do not buy an instrument online without consulting an expert about that instrument. While it may seem a better deal to buy a brand new clarinet or flute online at Amazon versus renting locally, many of these instruments are very poorly made and will not with stand the regular use of a first year player. You will most likely end up paying more in repairs to a local music store for bent keys, stuck valves and other issues. Most if not all local music stores that have rental programs also include basic repairs in the rental package. So if a key is accidentally bent on say a clarinet,  or a valve gets stuck on a trumpet, the music store will let you bring that in for a repair, and most times give you a loaner instrument while yours is getting fixed. I recommend this option rather than buying an inexpensive but cheaply made instrument that will most likely arrive out-of-tune and cause headaches for your first year player who will lose interest quickly if their shiny new instrument doesn’t work most of the time. Unless you can take the time to research new or used instruments that are from a reputable company , renting one may be a better option for your family.

Doesn’t the school have instruments we can borrow?

The school district has some instrument to loan to families. This requires a signed loan form and commitment from the family and student to be responsible for the instrument while in their care. The very few district instruments we do have to loan have been reserved for students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. If you cannot afford to provide an instrument for your student please contact Mr. Pendergrass at kependergrass@seattleschools.org

My daughter has a flute her aunt gave her to play. Can she use this instrument?

Yes, but have it checked out before your daughter plays it. Many well meaning family members or friends donate instruments that have been sitting unused for a while and tend not to work. Flutes, clarinets and saxophones have pads that can dry out and crack, making it hard or impossible to play notes.  Violins and cellos may need new strings if sitting for a while and bridges may need an adjustment. Bows may need to be re-haired. Also- violins and cellos need to be sized to your child properly. Trombones need to have a slide that moves easily and is not bent. Trumpets may need to have valves and slides oiled so they will move easily and not get stuck. Bottom line: get the instrument checked out by a professional even if it looks o.k. No beginner should have to start on an instrument that does not work.