Now Playing: Your Student on a Good Instrument

By Cindy Hallo


SCENE: Tiny 4X4 practice room, mid-morning. The unsuspecting female teacher sits waiting for her student (who’s probably in the band room talking to her friends). A thick fog rolls in.

STUDENT: (bounding into the practice room) “Ms. Hallo! Guess what? I got a new clarinet over the break!” Holds case up proudly.

TEACHER: “That’s so exciting!” (Suddenly she notices the brand name on the case reads ‘Schmelmer. The fog gets thicker. A lightening bolt streaks across the sky. Somewhere, a lone wolf howls). “Can I see it?”

STUDENT: “Of course!” (Hands over case).

TEACHER” (Takes a deep breath. Unlatches case slowly. Lid opens with a loud, echoing creak. Teacher peers in, dreading what she will find).

TEACHER: (Raises hands to the sky, wailing) “Noooooooooooooooooo!”


Has this ever happened to you? Well, maybe not this exact thing. Lightening has probably never struck in your practice room. And don’t even ask me where that wolf came from.

But I’m sure we’ve all felt that sense of horror when a student proudly brings in a brand new instrument after Christmas break, and it’s some off brand you’ve never heard of. Maybe it’s missing keys. Or maybe it has a few extra keys that you’re not even sure what they do. Or maybe it looks pretty darn good…until you start playing it.

Look, we all love a good deal. No one more than me. I’m the girl that’ll buy 16 of the same item just so I can get that $10 Target gift card. (Note to self: Is that really saving money? Must think about this more). But a musical instrument is NOT the same as sixteen tubes of toothpaste.

Tell your student’s parents to think of an investment in an instrument like an investment in a car. Sure, that $500 Saturn will get you from Point A to Point B, but at about ten miles under the speed limit and you’ll probably have to hold the air conditioner on while you drive. Would they really want their kid driving that car anyway??

But what about EBay or Craigstlist you may ask? I’ll be the first to admit there are some great deals to be had on these sites. The problem comes in when you have to spend $80 in shipping that instrument you’ve never even play tested off EBay or have to drive 100 miles round trip to someone’s house to discover they definitely DID NOT post truthful photos about that trumpet on Craigslist. Unless they just did some artful photography to hide the fact that it looks like it’s been run over by a semi truck.

Luckily for us private teachers, Brook Mays Music can prevent this tragedy from ever occurring again in your studio. Say your student (or their parent) lets you know they’re in the market for a new instrument. In a perfect world, you’d get to try several instruments, pick 1 or 2 that you like the best, then allow your student to try those instruments out during a lesson or outside of lesson hours. At least this is my perfect world. Maybe with some sort of nachos on the side. I’m on Whole30 right now and haven’t had cheese in 14 days, and it’s literally all I can think about. Bare with me.

With Brook Mays….THIS CAN HAPPEN (not the cheese part, the instrument testing part). They will happily deliver instruments directly to your school so during your off period, when you’d be playing Super Mario Run anyway, you can try them out and pick the one you feel would be the best bet for your student. I know some teachers who charge for this service – I mean you are giving up precious Facebook time. Most parents are grateful for the extra help. I don’t know about y’all, but most of my student’s parents aren’t musical and tend to be pretty lost when it comes to buying anything related to the clarinet. I’m positive it’s the same way for all of the other instruments you guys teach. Sure, they’ll branch out when it comes to accessories (this is also how I get some pretty questionable reed choices, but that’s a blog post for another day), but an instrument is just a tad more expensive. They want something that’s worth their money and will last. That Schmelmer clarinet does not fit that criteria. Honestly, you might as well wad up $200 and flush it down the toilet.

So the next time you’re looking to play test a new instrument for your student, give Brook Mays a call. They have four locations across DFW, and four in Houston, and are eager to help serve the private teaching community!




**This post wasspomsored by Brook Mays, but all opinions are my own. I take quality and service very seriously when it comes to my students, and I wouldn’t promote something I don’t feel strongly about.