Wednesday 16 December 2009

Does Spending Less Have to Mean Buying Rubbish?

I think of all the questions we've been asked, this year in particular, the most pertinant and frequent query is - Does spending less mean buying rubbish?
And the answer is, no it doesn't have to.
There are obviously differences between a violin outfit from the basic €155 range and one priced at say €500 or €600. The same is true of every instrument; the beginning ones aim to have a good, clear, pleasant tone and as you move up each level the instrument is made from better woods, and is better made, producing a better, warmer, richer, more nuanced tone. But the key to buying well is to get the most for your money, both right now and for the future.

A beginner rarely needs more than the beginning ranges in any instrument. Any well finished, properly set-up decently made instrument will get them started.
If money is tight right now, buy something that will get them started and will be easy for them to maintain and tune.
If you can stretch further, the advantage is that the better instrument means that they will use it for longer. They will stay on it for a year or more longer than the beginner ranges. If you go much higher, then accordingly that instrument will be able to take them further, for longer.

If you are buying for a child under 12, they will generally need a smaller size and will have to move through various sizes until they reach the full size or adult size. So unless they are particularly advanced one of the beggining ranges will be perfect, and put the extra money into the full size, when they reach that size.

Some instruments, like acoustic guitars, come with a load of great accessories that can be parcelled seperately or given from more than one family member - eg a richwood basic guitar costs 129.95 but it comes with padded cover, electronic tuner, tutor DVD, it really can make someone's christmas.

When "stuck" on an instrument - having outgrown the tone but unable to upgrade right now - consider putting a better set of strings on the instrument. This will help only if the instrument is at least basically decent to start with and if the pegs and other fittings are correct - the best strings in the world won't help really cheap brands like skylark or lark - but a well set-up basic student violin can get a boost from a good set of strings and it can carry you through until you can afford to upgrade.

More and more parents are incorporating accessories/upgrades into the student's Christmas present; if a player is enjoying the instrument as a hobby they are often happy to have a new bow, strings, case, etc as a Christmas present rather than a seperate expense during the year. We have more and more student players who have saved up at least part of the cost themselves which is lovely; and they appreciate the instrument or accessory so much more, not to mention the lesson learned from saving up for something.

At Christmas especially we have many parents looking to buy a small gift for the teacher or orchestra leader - there are many novelty gifts that are both pretty and useful (mugs, stationary, books etc and many are under €10. Teachers appreciate the thought without the parent spending a fortune. If buying for a friend or family member who likes music, but you're not sure what to buy for them again a music themed gift can be a lifesaver - it shows you thought about their hobby / interest but you can buy something like a mug or a tea towel or a phone charm without needing to know much about music!

Santa also shops at Charlie Byrne's - and when he is filling those stockings he likes to buy useful gifts rather than stuff that will be thrown out once the tinsel is down. There are lots of great ideas - like the handy mini reference books for chords or music theory - as well as pretty gifts like badges or treble clef pencils or phone charms - that they'll use and enjoy.

This is a year to think outside the box and use our imaginations - gifts don't have to cost the earth but a thoughtful, appropriate gift is worth the world to someone.

No comments:

Facebook us

Charles Byrne Musik Ins,

Charles Byrne Musik Ins,

Follow us on twitter

Charlie's News direct to your Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner