8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 10 - July/August 2004

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moving parts an instrument has, the more there is to go wrong. That being said, buying a good instrument including those at the student or intermediate level means that you will still get money back when you sell or upgrade to a better instrument, if it is well-maintained. With strings, good factory-made "set-ups" or "outfits" for beginners Gcase, instrument and bow), don't hold their value either. You will sell that first violin for less than you paid. But you will still have money towards the next. Good handmade stringed instruments hold their value if they are cared for. If purchasing one is an option, you won't lose money if you later find you want to sell it. Be aware that only the more expensive hand-made and antique instruments will actually appreciate, and only with great care and over a significant amount of time. New or Used? New costs more, on a level playing field, whether you rent or buy. New student band instruments rent for more ti)an used. Used "stepup" instrum~nts might cost more than the new student instrument to buy, but have better resale value. People sometimes worry that used brass or woodwind instruments are "dirty". Remember it's only the mouthpiece that goes in your mouth. A properly cleaned instrume·nt poses no health risk. Mouthpieces are washable and, if you choose, replaceable. "The biggest thing is to get something that is decent quality for the price range. If it's ~ell-made - if the woods are good, fittings are good, if it's set up properly - it will hold its value down the line if you out-grow it or want something different~ as long as it was good · to begin with. " (Andreas Salewski, Geo. Heinl Strings) Renting or renting to buy a used stringed instrument often gets you an instrument 'with a lovely warm sound. Brand-new instruments can take time to start sounding really nice (just like new string players). How important is it to begin with a good instrument? "A child needs a good tool. If the child cannot enjoy the instrument it will deter them from playing. If the teacher has to spend half the lesson tuning and retuning, trying tojix problems, then everyone. will be frustrated. And the money for the lesson - you don't get that back" (Rosa Remenyi) "Students should not battle with a bad instrument" (Dawn Lyons, Claviers Baroques) "The sooner you upgrade, the less risk there is of a lesser instrument holding a good student back" (Peter Fudge, Cosmo Music) "The instrument should be appropriate to the level of the player. A pro instrument for a beginning 12-year-old might not be appreciated. And there's some value to having the next level to aspire to. " (Gary Armstrong, Gary Armstrong Woodwinds)" "You need to be happy with it in terms of how it sounds and plays - trying one _to the next. It's very subjective - there's no right or wrong in this regard - what sounds good to someone won't necessarily sound good to someone else." (Andreas Salewski, Geo.Heinl & Co.) What if I have no experience? "I like to get the teacher involved ... If someone comes in looking for an instr-ument who does not yet have a teacher I might suggest that they get a teacher first .. "(Andreas Salewski) PHILIP L. DA VIS formerly with f.f. Schroder: Frankfurt, West Germany A Fine Selection of Small and Full Sized Instruments and Bows • Expert Repairs (416) 466-9619 67 Wolver/eigh Blvd., Toro~ to, Ontario, M4J JR6 Most dealers have approvals or try-outs, if you're buying. Some will allow you to ta~e out more· than one instrument. At the very least you will be able to try the instrument for a week. So let your teacher or another dealer look at it. If you rent an instrument and your teacher is unhappy with it, a good dealer will try to solve the problem. A shop that sells and rents stringed instruments for children should have the expertise to help you choose the right size, but bring the child. Often the sales associates are string players and/or teachers who will play the instruments for . you so you can get excited about how they really sound! . ) How will I know the price is fair? Ask around. The trade is competitive. But be sure you are not comparing apples and oranges - you can't compare factory made pianos and handmade pianos. If you 're comparing school-year rentals, find out if the summer costs extra. What about repair/maintenance? Ask. If they do nothing, don't buy. If you're renting, find out what they include. Ask about ordinary wear and tear, and mechanical problems. Expect to pay for disposable items like reeds or strings. Bows need to be re-haired yearly, depet;1ding on use. Do instruments have warranties? Only new ones. And if I buy from an individual? Unless it's a yard-sale "steal" insist on an expert opinion, before buying. What are the timeframes? Is there a better price for a longer rental? How long should I rent for, initially? Rent long enough to be assured of commitment and interest. Usually this is not less than six months, not more than a year. Few shops rent for one month at a time: most have a minimu·m of2-3 months. Some places do not rent for less than one year. (Obviously this doesn't apply to music store rentals of gear for the week-end garage band gig. (Most rentals require a credit card and photo ID.) What's ·"rent-to-buy"? Many dealers offer this option: a portion (generally upwards of 50 % ) of money paid in rent is applied to instrument purchase. You might get as much as I 00 % of your first year's rent applied to your purchase. Some dealers restrict the term of the offer - you might be asked to commit to purchasing after one year. Some make no restriction and will allow you to accumulate credits indefinitely, provided you intend to buy the in- · strument you are renting. Some ot~ fer you a choice of the same, or a new instrument of the same or greater value. Others apply your rental credits to any instrument of the same type. Be sure you get these details when you rent. Do I need insurance? Yes. Some rentals include insurance. Household insurance often covers instruments up to a specified amount, with a deductible. Insurance should cover loss, theft (requires a police report), and accidental but not malicious damage When i,s it time to buy? There's no magic moment. Money has a lot to do with it. If you've already paid out a half of the instrument's value in rent, and still want to keep playing it, then it's probably time to cash in your rentto buy credits, as soon as you can afford to. Ask yourself how often the instrument is being played. Draw Dave Snider Music Centre. 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 483-5825 cMail: snidermus www .snidermusic.

a distinction between "practising" and "playing." People who love their music do not only practise. They play. beyond duty, for pleasure. Re-evaluate for suitability. If you are going to buy, be sure you are getting enough instrument. Even if you think you are in love with it, you should play the field a little, just to be sure. · Did You Know ... -You can get your bow re-haired in colour ... - you could rent a good used piano for as little as .00 per month until you know you want to buy - or you could experience a harpsichord in your home starting at 0 per month ... "That Hyundai Elantra parked amongst the BMWs and Mercedes looks sharp - you nlouldn''t know its manufacture unless you looked. Buying an instrument is a blind item. The market is flooded with cheap PSOs ...[piano shapedobjects]. The fact remains that acceptable quality has never been so affordable as it is today. But go to someone reputable who will stand behind it. "(Michael Remenyi, Remenyi House of Music) "Some people - some piano teachers - seem to think that children need a couple of years of piano before turning to the harpsichord. This makes no sense. 'The instruments are only similar. But harpsichords are ideal for children in ways that a piano is not. The harpsichord is not big, or loud. It does not require an adult sized hand, or unusual forearm strength. And an older person doesn't have to be worried about "loosing their chops". Much music written for harpsichord was intended to be played for pleasure, not intended for virtuosi. There's a ton of music that is pleasant to play at a very easy level ... " (Dawn Lyons, Claviers Baroques) ."Desire is the best catalystjor success in learning an instrument. The best chance for success is with an instrument that you like .... Beyond that, much depends on the teacher, the student's connec,tion with the teacher, and the emphasis 011 the musical experience at home. This includes making the time to take in concerts - exposing your child to as much music as possible, which enhances their enjoyment of what they are learning and helps them to keep at it .. " (Peter Fudge, . Cosmo Music) The writer would like to thank the following for their generous gifts of time and expertise: Gary Armstrong (Gary Armstrong Woodwinds Ltd.), Andrew Burton (The Sound Post), Peter Fudge (Cosmo Music), Bethany Haughton (Philip L. Davis, Luthier ), Rex Harknett (Harknett Musical Services), Dawn Lyons (Claviers· Baroques), Rosa Remenyi and Michael Remenyi (Remenyi House of Music), Andrew Salewski (Geo.Heinl & Co.) September's WlzoleNote looks at questions relating to c/zoosing music sclzools and teaclzers. Stay tuned. IU.'Acaaem~Tbf :Music IU Established 1981 . OUR PRICE = MUSIC TO OUR CUSTOMERS' EARS YAMAHA DIGITAL PIANOS ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD I GUITARS ALSO USED PIANOS (UPRIGHTS & GRANDS) 1 --~ LESSONS• SERVICE• TUNING ACCESSORIES • BOOKS VISIT OUR SHOWROOM 416-924-7499 ..... 1 499 coLLEGE sr. r•······ : (2 BLOCKS WEST OFF BATHURST) ·-- .. .. .• Geo~ . - - . ~ & Co. Liniited . CONSERVATORS & PURVEYORS OF Fine & Rare Violins 201 Church St., Toronto, ON. MSB 1Y7 Tel: jl16-363-0093 •Fax: 416-363-0053 Email: ghcl Canada's foremost violin experts. Proud of our heritage. Excited about lhe future. Instruments & Accessories Sales• Rentals •.Lease to'Own 100% of First.Year's Rent Applied' Towards Purchase Price! Largest Selection of Music for: *Band • 6rchestra • Jazz *Instrumental Solos & Ensembles *Recorder Methods • Elementary & Choral Pop Piano/Vocal/Guitar• Classical Piano * Ava'ilable at the Markham location only H,arknett Musical Services Markham Location (905) 477-1141 2650 John St, unit 15 Markham Mid-Town Location (416) 423-9494 943 Eglinton Ave East Toronto • Jul Y 1 - S EPT 7 2004 WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM 37

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