Rent or own and where to purchase?

If you’re considering starting music lessons but aren’t sure where to get your instrument or whether to rent or purchase one, here are some things to consider when looking for a stringed instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass).

First, let’s take a look at a violin available on Amazon. Amazon is a typical go-to for parents due to its convenience and irresistible price point. However, despite seeming like a great option, there are many reasons to avoid purchasing a musical instrument from Amazon.


There is no quality in purchasing a violin for the typical price point of $150 or less. It is difficult to keep the instrument in tune due to the poor-quality wood, which doesn’t settle well and causes the strings to slip constantly. The sound performance is also subpar due to the lack of quality. If you’re worried about the violin sounding squeaky because of your child’s playing level, these instruments will only amplify that issue.All in all, Amazon is not a choice that I’d recommend. I have had a few students play on a violin from Amazon and it was challenging to say the least.

Next would be your stores. There are many options, especially here in Arizona but which one should you go to?

Milano’s Music

Milano’s Music offers a wide selection of instruments and is a popular partner for schools. However, their cheaper violins, especially rental ones, are of lower quality. If you’re looking to buy an instrument, this is a great place to shop, but keep in mind that prices may be higher due to the company’s larger size.

Music and Arts

Music and Arts is another excellent option for schools to team up with so their students can rent instruments. The quality is similar to Milano’s, but I cannot personally speak to the quality of the instruments available for purchase.

Both of these places offer a rent-to-equity program. However, based on personal experience, it’s important to read the fine print carefully. Even if you’ve paid over time and have reached the cost of the instrument, they may not inform you and you could end up overpaying by hundreds or even thousands of dollars without the ability to get your money back.

Local Music Shops

My preferred stores are two locally owned mom-and-pop shops: Andrew’s Fine Violins in Mesa and Valley of the Sun Violins in Scottsdale. I have personally sent students to these stores and have made purchases from them myself. Both shops offer quality violins, even for rental purposes, and have great rent-to-own programs. The instruments produce amazing sound and help students feel like they are playing their best with highly crafted instruments. (please note that I am not an affiliate for either of these stores, nor do I earn a commission)

Rent vs. Own

Finally, I recommend renting an instrument for at least the first year if your child is using a full-sized instrument. The reason for this is that you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an instrument that they might quit using after a year or two. I also suggest renting all the way up to a full-sized instrument, as you will be building equity that can be applied towards purchasing a full-sized instrument in the end. This is honestly the best option available!

I hope this was able to help anyone in making a decision on renting/ buying and where to purchase from. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below!