A saxophone rental agreement makes it possible for you or your child to have access to a good saxophone without having to buy it. A sax is quite an expensive instrument. Buying one for a young person is a serious investment, especially considering that the young person may lose interest after a year or two. Even a student quality saxophone can cost as much as $1000. Intermediate and professional quality horns are even more. In many cases, a rental is the only option that really makes sense.
A saxophone will probably cost about $30 a month to rent. The rule of thumb is that if you expect a child to play the instrument for more than two years, it's probably more economical in the long run to buy the sax. There are many factors that can influence how long a child chooses to play. If he or she is truly interested in the rental and tends to be a persistent (stubborn?) sort of child, they may be more likely to stick it out. If they are just wanting to be in the band because everyone else is doing it, they may lose steam when the work gets hard.
Another option is to start the child on the clarinet and if that goes well, invest in a saxophone the next year. Students can make the switch pretty easily, and the clarinet is a much less expensive instrument to buy. In fact, some band teachers require a student to play a clarinet for a year before starting to play the saxophone. Even after a year on the clarinet, a horn rental might be a good idea so that you don't get stuck with an expensive unwanted instrument.
One option that is not always remembered is that of borrowing a saxophone for a few months. Chances are there is another family in the school system who bought a saxophone which is no longer being played. A few months of borrowing the sax from them might give everyone a clearer idea about whether a saxophone rental or buying an instrument is a good investment.
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