Few things are as important to a band program as good quality instruments. In recent years I have seen an influx of low quality band instruments moving into the market, especially through the internet and “BIG BOX” stores. Many of these instruments are of poor quality and are not serviceable by local repair shops. These instruments can also cause your child to quickly lose interest in the program when they don’t play correctly!

A good quality instrument does come with a higher price tag, but can and will last a lifetime. These instruments are more durable, and will hold up to the demands of the student through concert and marching band.  A higher quality instrument will be a huge advantage to your child.  If budget restraints make it difficult for you, we highly recommend a name-brand used instrument, as opposed to a new one of poor quality. A recent line from a comedian is that two of junk is still junk…if they really want to stick it to you they’ll give you three!!


  • Do not buy without a return policy.
  • Always avoid instruments that do not list a brand name (I have a list of some of the more dependable name brands below).
  • Beware of all of the instruments that come in a variety of colors. A variety of colors=variety of bad sounds.
  • Other enticing titles to avoid are: “Band Certified”  “Educator Approved”, “80%-90% Off”, “Professional Silver ________” (but no recognizable brand listed), “Concert Quality”, “Bankruptcy Sale”, “New 2016 model”, “College Pro” 
  • If a band instrument claiming to be new has a buy-it-now price of $199.95 be EXTREMELY skeptical and run (don’t walk) away!! 
  • If you do get one of these thinking “I will see how it goes for a while before purchasing a better one if my child sticks with it”  I can about guarantee they won’t play it long enough to need a better one.  If they do, they are to be commended and taken to an expensive dinner. with the band director in tow. Wait…what were we saying?

Many of the inferior instruments look just fine on the outside. The inside is another matter. They are often advertised as “director approved” or other positive sounding terms to mislead the buyer. Please see me or a qualified band instrument dealer (Willis Music, Hauer Music, etc) for help before purchasing!

REMEMBER, a brand name instrument made 30 years ago (even 50 years ago) is almost always a better choice than a new of poor quality.


Now, for some of the common brand names in band instruments that I look for and feel good about you buying:  Armstrong, Artley, Bach, Benge, Blessing, Buffet, Conn, King, Holton, LeBlanc, Omega, Vito, Selmer, Yamaha, Besson, Emerson, Getzen, Gemeinhardt, Pearl, and even Bundy(manufactured prior to 1998).  There are sure to be some more that I’ve missed, but these are usually safe choices.


A new mouthpiece/headjoint and private lessons can make a quality horn sound brand new. If you are in the market let me know and I will point you in the right direction!


Don’t buy the 30 piece set played on by Neil Peart (some of you got that reference). Get your budding young percussionist a TON of different mallets and lessons! That’s the key to percussion excellence!


I want you to spend your money wisely and your student to be able to play for a long, long time! If I can do anything to help you make the choices that are best for your pocketbook and their music education in the short and long term that’s what I am here for…just let me know how I can help!