Families

Renting an instrument helps kids know if music their passion

Bellingham Music owner Ron Rondello holds one of the cellos that he rents to students from his music store. The store also sells musical instruments and offers lessons.
Bellingham Music owner Ron Rondello holds one of the cellos that he rents to students from his music store. The store also sells musical instruments and offers lessons. The Bellingham Herald

As school opens, music returns to the air and families start making their way to Whatcom County’s music stores to rent instruments for their children.

One of their destinations is Bellingham Music, one of the county’s oldest businesses, known as Harris Music, specializing in instrument sale and rental, and music lessons by qualified instructors. The store rents a variety of orchestral and band instruments, including brass, woodwind and strings.

“Typically it works out better to pay for an instrument outright than to rent it,” said owner Ron Rondello. “But most people prefer to rent and see how it goes for six months, buying only if they know they and their kids are serious about music.”

Violins, violas, trumpets, flutes and clarinets rent for around $24 per month, while cellos cost $54 month and saxophones are $40 to $60. Bellingham Music offers optional insurance in case the instrument is damaged or destroyed, as well as a mandatory $4-a-month maintenance charge to cover wear and tear.

Rondello advises parents to make sure their children are passionate about learning music before they choose an instrument. And if they are truly interested, not to rely solely on the school’s band class.

“I really stress the importance of private lessons,” he said. “That’s where you really get your education in music.”

Rondello said kids typically begin music lessons at age 5 or 6. Half-hour weekly lessons at Bellingham Music cost $26. Details: Bellingham-music.com or 360-676-8742.

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