ABOUT BAND INSTRUMENTS (If you came here for information about other instruments used in our school programs you should speak directly to your child’s music teacher as each school has its own way of doing things.)
WHICH INSTRUMENTS? Beginning Band students are generally given the opportunity to select either Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet or Trombone. These wind instruments share a number of aspects of technique and lead to further study on both themselves and on the wider selection of instruments represented in a Concert Band. This wider selection includes such instruments as Piccolo, Oboe, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, French Horn, Bass Trombone, Tuba and a few more. Percussionists are often needed but generally borrowed from the wind section players. While Middle and Secondary School Jazz Bands require Guitar, Bass, Piano and Drum Set players, those instruments do not share the tone production challenges of beginning wind instrument technique. This leads us to recommend that all students in a beginning band class learn on Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet or Trombone.
WHERE TO GET ONE: If you are considering the purchase of a used or new instrument you will want to be sure that you are getting good value. That is a good quality instrument in good working order for a fair price. Any of the dealers on the Music Stores page should be able to offer those. If you plan to purchase from a smaller, less specialized business or privately you might want to have at least a rough appraisal by someone who knows what instruments are worth and what it might cost to put them in good working order. This would be particularly important if you find a bargain at a pawn shop, thrift store or similar business. OMUS Band Instrument Repair (1-800-681-8666) in Kelowna; Valley Wind and Reed (860-7879) in Kelowna; and the repair department of Wentworth in Kelowna are all qualified repair businesses with trained technicians who could estimate any necessary repair work. Make sure that at the very least you have a more advanced student play the instrument to see if it works.
Borrowing an instrument is often a good way to get one. Before you do that you should determine whether the instrument is in playable condition and come to an agreement with its owner about maintenance and possible related costs.
If your family cannot afford to purchase an instrument the District Music program can make one of its instruments available through your school music teacher – see details here.
If you’re planning on renting or buying for a course starting in September, its a good idea to get an early start – particularly if you have a particular quality or price in mind.
WHERE TO SELL ONE: If you have an instrument to sell the best time to do so would be the end of August or the beginning of September. That’s when students beginning in band – your best potential buyers – are looking and are most likely to respond to your advertisements.
Use Craigslist, Kijiji, Castanet or eBay if you’re so inclined.
Advertise in local papers.
Make a small notice that could be put up on a public notice board.
Do a little research on your brand, model, age and condition to set a reasonable price. You shouldn’t plan to get as much as a store would for the same instrument unless you have access to a repair department for warranty work and plan to service the instrument before it sells – standard practice at most stores listed above.
If the instrument is not in playable condition you could: donate it to a school; get it fixed then sell it; or ensure that your potential buyers are clear on what it needs (and set your price accordingly). Almost any woodwind instrument will need some pads or corks serviced and if it needs a complete re-pad the price could be in the hundreds.
HOW TO PLAY ONE: In addition to the expert instruction available at your school there are many ways to enrich your playing experience. On this site there are (soon to be) some pages which should help, but the internet is full of videos, forums and special instrument “clubs” where useful advice is offered.
DONATE AN INSTRUMENT TO YOUR SCHOOL if you’d like. You get the double satisfaction of helping make the music program better and you’ll receive a tax receipt. Just bring the instrument to a school with your name, address and phone number and we’ll send you a tax receipt for its current market value. If the person you hand it to looks puzzled just ask them to send it to District Music and we’ll take care of the rest – Thanks!