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Summer Instrument Rentals: FAQs for Parents


Do you have questions about what to do with your student’s rental instrument when school lets out for the summer?

Don’t worry – you’re not the first!

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions from parents that will help you as you consider the benefits of summer instrument rentals.

Summer instrument rentals can be a great way for your child to practice music when school's out.

Summer instrument rentals can be a great way for your child to practice music when school’s out.

Q: Should I return my child’s instrument after the school year and rent it again in the fall?

A: You’ll want to keep your child’s instrument over the summer for a number of reasons.

First, to practice!

While your son or daughter may be busy enjoying the beautiful weather for the majority of the summer, it’s important for them to take a few minutes a day to practice their music.

Try starting with 20 minutes in the morning right after breakfast (have them brush their teeth first – we don’t want breakfast ending up in the instrument!), or for a few minutes before bed. This will keep them sharp on their skills, and give them an advantage over others that aren’t practicing at all for three months (hello, first chair)!

For tips on how to encourage your child to practice during the summer, see the last question in this post.

Secondly, to ensure the maintenance of your child’s instrument.

You want them to treat it as their own, and this means keeping it oiled and lubricated with consistent use. Having summer instrument rentals helps them be responsible with it and take pride in the shape that it’s in throughout the year.  

Summer instrument rentals help your child take responsibility for their instrument year-round.

Summer instrument rentals help your child take responsibility for their instrument year-round.

Furthermore, we want parents to get the best value out of the rental of their instrument. With our 30% Early Payoff Discount plan, you can take 30% off your remaining balance and purchase the instrument outright.

You’re also able to apply up to 12 months of rental credit from your beginner instrument to the rental or purchase of an intermediate, or “step-up” instrument.

Forfeiting regular monthly payments for three months will force you to restart once you set up another rental plan in the fall. Because of this, your wallet won’t mind a few summer instrument rentals payments if it puts you closer to ownership.

Q: How should I get my child’s instrument back to you if they’re not planning to continue?

A: You can return your instrument at any time if you are not keeping it over the summer, but there are few important things you need to know before you do so:

– Make sure your child does not desire to continue playing any longer. As we mentioned earlier, you should not return your instrument over the summer expecting to re-rent it in the fall – your child gets to practice!

Make sure everything is in the instrument case if you decide to return it.

Make sure everything is in the instrument case if you decide to return it.

– Know that returning your instrument will terminate your rental agreement. This means that any rental credit you had accumulated toward the purchase of your instrument (or an instrument upgrade) turns to rent and consequently will no longer apply toward the purchase of an instrument.

– Be sure your child has a legitimate reason for not continuing. Sometimes a child will be frustrated and want to quit because they’re not having success, but their instrument actually needs to be repaired – and often, it’s a simple solution!

There are also often misunderstandings regarding other activities potentially conflicting with band. Most band directors and coaches or other teachers work those things out so your child can participate in both. If you haven’t checked with your child’s director first, please do!

– Make sure everything that came with the instrument is in the instrument case when you return it so you are not charged for missing parts.

Instrument Parts

Flute Cleaning rod
Clarinet Mouthpiece
Mouthpiece cap
Alto Sax/Tenor Sax Mouthpiece
Mouthpiece cap
Neck strap
Neck plug
French Horn Mouthpiece
Trumpet/Cornet Mouthpiece
Trombone Mouthpiece
Baritone/Euphonium Mouthpiece
Violin/Viola Bow
Cello/String Bass Bow

If you have everything in the case, feel free to return it to any of these locations:

*Please Note: The school, music director, principal, or any other third party is not responsible for the return of your instrument.

Q: Am I required to rent my instrument for a certain length of time?

A: No, you are not.

We understand that your child may decide that they are no longer interested in that particular instrument, so we have made returns and exchanges hassle-free. If you want to return the instrument, please come by the store with everything mentioned in the previous answer.

If you’re looking to exchange, make sure you’ve talked with your director and gotten approval first. We don’t want any surprises when you show up with a different instrument in the fall!

We’ll have music education experts on site to help your child pick out something they might like a little better, too.

If your child wants to give up on music, it's a teaching moment for you.

If your child wants to give up on music, it’s a teaching moment for you.

Q: What can I do to encourage my child who wants to give up on music? 

A: This is a great question – we appreciate that you believe in teaching them to persevere!

The most important thing here is to find out what is below the surface. We’ve found that often a child who wants to give up on music is actually experiencing some deeper issue.

Here are some common issues we see:

– Your child is struggling on their instrument. If this is the case, enrolling them in private lessons could be just the answer!

It’s also possible that they may need to consider switching from their current instrument to another. Talk with your director about this before making any changes, but know that with their approval, you can exchange your instrument while renting and lose none of the credit you’ve accumulated toward the ownership of an instrument.

– Your child is having problems with other children in the class and think that getting out of the class will solve the problem. Of course, we know this doesn’t solve the problem. Rather, this is a great opportunity as a parent to teach them how to handle conflict.

– Your child is having problems with the director. Again, this is an opportunity to dig deeper and work with their teacher to solve the issue.

– Your child is thinking there are scheduling issues while there are not. Some children want to be involved in other activities and think that band will conflict. Often that isn’t the case. Talk with your director to get more answers.

– Your child is feeling some peer pressure to the tune of, “Music isn’t cool anymore.” Here’s another great opportunity as a parent to teach your child some valuable life lessons!

There may be other issues, but the point is to spend some time to dig a little deeper. Check out this blog post for more ways to inspire your young musician.

Q: How can I encourage my child to practice their instrument over the summer?

A: The best way to encourage regular practice is to build it into the routine.

If you try to squeeze practice in at random times throughout the summer, the inconsistency will breed contempt from your child (“Mom, why are you making me practice? I just want to play outside with my friends!”)

Instead, build regular practice time into your child’s daily schedule (or try three times weekly to start).

Encourage them to practice for 20 minutes right after breakfast each day. Or call them in 20 minutes before dinnertime so they can serenade you as you get dinner ready.

Build regular practice time into your child’s daily schedule.

Build regular practice time into your child’s daily schedule.

The best way to make sure this becomes consistent is to praise their progress.

Tell them how great they sounded after the practice session. Ask to sing with them as they play. At the end of the summer, let them put on a mini-concert for your family and serve desserts afterwards.

These tactics (and so many others) can be instrumental in keeping your child excited about playing, even through the summer months. Check out our post on summer practice tips for more helpful advice from our experts!

We hope this list has been helpful to you as you consider summer instrument rentals in just a few weeks. We’d love to hear from you:

Did you rent or buy your child’s instrument? Did you do summer instrument rentals or return them at the end of the school year? Parents of more experienced musicians, what methods did you use to encourage your kids to practice throughout the summer? If your child has wanted to quit music, what seemed to worked best to change their minds or redirect them to a different instrument?

If you still have a question for us, we are happy to help! Just contact us with whatever method works best for you. And, as always, thank you for choosing Kincaid’s!


About Author

Ryan Ruff is a Music Education Consultant for Kincaid's Is Music, using his expertise to help band and orchestra directors build better music programs. He graduated with a degree in Music Education from Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.

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