Making Music on a Budget

girl playing the violin
Your child wants to play a musical instrument. What’s that going to cost?

Encouraging a child to play a musical instrument has many benefits. Musicians use the creative and math-science parts of the brain when practicing and playing. Furthermore, making music boosts confidence and self-esteem. In some cases, students who play music or sing are eligible for college scholarships, which is excellent news for most parents.

But the expense of the instrument, lessons, and other equipment can be challenging, especially if you’re on a tight budget. So, where can you come up with the money to give your child the gift of musical training? There are many ways to help a child learn about and participate in music without pummeling pocketbooks. These tips will help introduce the child to the instrument of their choice—whether it’s drums, tuba, or zither.

● Don’t buy pro just yet. Wait before purchasing a pro-level instrument. Many hopeful guitarists may drool over a thousand-dollar Les Paul, but they don’t need something so extravagant to begin playing. A basic, well-made guitar will cost less and work just as well for learning the basics. If a child is committed to playing, you can buy a high-end model later, and encourage them to help save for it.

● Buy used. Many music stores sell used instruments. Some are on consignment; others have been traded in for new instruments. Whatever the case, it should be easy to find something well-made and still in good condition for an affordable price.

● Try a layaway plan. Instruments can also be put on layaway. This is better than paying for it with a credit card because most layaways do not accrue interest.

● Buy in bulk. No, not trumpets—music lessons. Some teachers offer discounts when signing up for many lessons at once. However, be sure that the teacher and child work well together. Otherwise, it could be a lot of money upfront for months of misery.

With these money-saving ideas, helping your child learn to play music is a much closer possibility. The gift of music can be a wonderful, life-changing experience that may benefit a child for the rest of their life.

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