Are you parents getting ready to have their child start cello lessons? This article is for you! Before you run off and buy an instrument for your budding Yo Yo Ma, why not rent? Or maybe your school has an instrument you can borrow to get started. No matter how enthused you or your child may be it’s better to start on the conservative side. No parent knows how long this interest will last.
Another suggestion: speak with your future cello teacher before you go and try to do this on your own! Honestly, unless you’ve been through it yourself you will be shocked at what a decent bow, rent to own cello and case cost. And don’t assume they come together as a set. This is not necessarily the case!
You need to buy or rent the right size instrument for your son or daughter. They will do better with an instrument that fits them properly. A violin shop is the best place to go if there is one in the region. Again, check with the private teacher or contact the music department at your school for help.
If you can afford to rent or buy something other than the cheapest available, please do. The really cheap instruments sound that way. And it is enough of a challenge for a child to sound good on a cello or any other instrument without giving them the cheapest thing around.
And please, please, please… don’t buy an instrument from the internet. I have seen the absolutely worst instruments show up because someone decided to buy one this way. This is not true all the time, of course. If you absolutely have to buy something online, be ready to take it to a violin shop or violin maker to get their assessment about the instrument’s health and basic value before you commit to living with it.
And consider future trade-in, trade-up or sales value. If you buy something cheap from someone who is not reputable now you may be stuck with it down the road.
Getting into music is an expensive proposition. It is also one of the most valuable gifts you’ll ever give your child–the exposure to and love of music. So go into it as prepared as possible. If they stick with it you’ll be buying a lot of music which isn’t cheap. You’ll be paying for lessons with good teachers who are experts on the instrument. That costs, too. You’ll be driving them to rehearsals and sacrificing the occasional baseball game to make a concert. You’ll be pushing them to practice. And someday, if they stick with it, you’ll be looking at helping them buy or finance an instrument where the bow itself can cost thousands of dollars. Good (not famous) professionals pay easily $10-$40,000 for a cello without blinking. Lucky ones can afford to pay more. Mine is only worth a Honda. It’s a challenge to find a good wood bow under $2,000 these days. Don’t drop your teeth, it’s true! There are some good carbon fiber options though. Bows are more important than you might imagine so don’t ignore picking the best one you can in your price range.
But you can buy a decent cello set for $2,000-$3,000… not great, but pretty good. It depends what is available in your area. Set a price range and start looking. There are also ways to deal with violin shops at a distance. They’ll send you and instrument to try. Again, check with your teacher first. Chances are they have a relationship with a shop or dealer or maker already and they will be happy to work with you.