Band Instruments for Grand Rapids Students

So You Need a Band Instrument

Every school district in West Michigan is different, but most all offer kids the option to join band at some point.

If and when this happens in your family, you need to be prepared to enter a whole new world. Unless you have band or orchestra experience yourself, walking into a music store is a lot like walking into a sports store looking for “whatever you need to play soccer or football.” It’s not as easy as just grabbing a flute or an oboe – there are special accessories that go with each instrument. Also, instruments come in a variety of brands, some more expensive than others.

My school district does not endorse one music company over another, and I found this world of 6th grade band to be quite overwhelming. After asking around, I found that the name Meyer Music kept popping up again and again. So I reached out to the store owner, Joel Hoekstra, and asked him some of my questions. Here’s what I learned:

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Uncle Joe’s E-Bay Viola Might or Might Not Cut It

It was news to me that my kid might not do well if we dust off that old instrument from the basement or buy something shiny off of E-Bay. Why? One word: quality.

To me, all flutes look the same. So do the saxophones, drums, and everything else in the store. But, I learned, there’s a TON that goes into making a quality instrument that is going to hold up to the abuse a middle-schooler is going to give it.

Think about a saxophone or clarinet and all of the little parts that go into the instrument. If one little part is off, it’s going to either make the instrument frustrating to play, sound funky, or not work at all. If you’re a sixth grader trying to produce nice sounds from your flute for the first time, you’re probably going to blame this fail on yourself, declare band “too hard” and quit trying. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s no secret that having good tools can make any job easier and more enjoyable. For me, it’s like when I finally got a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer after using a dinky hand mixer for 15 years. I could NOT believe how fun baking was now that I had my new tool, and I found myself in the kitchen a whole lot more than when I used my little egg beaters.

So what if you have an instrument waiting in the basement but you’re not sure if it’ll work for your child? I asked Joel and he said you’re welcome to bring it in to Meyer Music and they will look it over and let you know if it’s in good working condition. If it is a quality instrument that just needs some TLC, Meyer Music has an instrument repair shop that is well-equipped to service many (but not all brands of) instruments.

Meyer Music

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Why We Chose Rent-to-Own for Our First Instrument

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people that rarely purchase extended warranties for the things I buy. I’d rather assume the risk and use a great case on my iPhone than pay extra for the extended coverage. But in the case on instruments, I think renting a beginner’s instrument to get the insurance is a nice feature. Here’s why:

  • Unsupervised kids are involved. Your child will be taking this instrument on the bus, on trips, and hauling it all over the place. Instruments get left in places that would make adults cringe, and accidents happen. Meyer Music has seen instruments run over by cars and damaged by siblings, for example.
  • It Makes Life Easier. The more complex the instrument, the more likely something will get damaged. If a key gets bent on your child’s instrument, the teacher can easily notice the repair, call it into Meyer Music to be picked up, and it will be fixed and returned to the school within a week. Notice that the parent was NOT involved in this process at all – saving mom or dad a few trips to the music store.
  • The monthly payment goes toward purchase of the instrument. The majority of my monthly payment is applied to ownership of the instrument. This is not a strict rental program- at the end of my contract, we will own our instrument.
  • Kids can change instruments with no penalty. After a little bit of band experience, a teacher or student may decide that a different instrument is a better fit for the player. Or, band might just not be for them. That’s why I love this Meyer Music policy, “The instrument may be exchanged for any other with credit transferred to the new instrument, or may be returned anytime without further obligation.”

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You Can Do It All Online

If you’re like me, you forgot to get your band instrument earlier this summer. And running all over town for school supplies is putting a serious crunch on your time.

Meyer Music has rental available online that will be delivered to your school. Plan at least a week out to make sure your instrument shows up at school on time – otherwise you can stop into a store location for quicker service.

We chose to visit the Grand Rapids location in person because I wanted my son to see the store in person and realize that mom was paying real dollars to get him an instrument for band. The staff was amazingly helpful and patient. I told them the school and instrument my son was signed up for and they knew exactly what product he needed, the book his teacher required and what accessories he’d need as well. As an overwhelmed, out-of-my-element parent, I can’t tell you how reassuring this level of service was.

Meyer Music Locations

Grand Rapids Location

2855 Lake Eastbrook Blvd.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: (616) 975-1122

Holland Location

675 East Lakewood
Holland, MI 49424
Phone: (616) 396-6583

Kalamazoo Location

4120 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: (269) 366-3920

Muskegon Location

1664 East Sternberg
Muskegon, MI 49444
Phone: (231) 865-7000

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