Keyboard - Where To Buy
We suggest visiting your local music shop - the staff should be able to assist you with the specifics of buying a keyboard (as there can be so many options to consider!). Keyboards are widely available at almost any music instrument retailer, at stores like KMart/BigW/Target and from various online sellers.
You will need a keyboard with at least 49 keys (and more is fine, with 88 being the same size as a piano). The keys must be full size (i.e. same size as piano keys).
As a general price guide, somewhere in the range of $100 to $300 can buy you a suitable beginners keyboard. If you want to spend a little more (for instance, $500) you will be able to purchase a great quality keyboard which will last a long time. Casio, Roland, and Yamaha are all good brands, and provide different options depending how many functions you would like. A recording function is always useful as your child can record their practice and listen back - a great tool for self-improvement.
A pedal attachment is not necessary for beginners, but we always recommend it is good to have eventually - simply because it's great for kids to explore the different sounds they can create on a keyboard (the pedal sustains the sound). Students normally start using the pedal once they are at an intermediate to advanced level.
How many keys do I need for my keyboard at home: you will need a keyboard with at least 49 keys (and more is fine, with 88 being the same size as a piano). The keys must be full size (i.e. same size as piano keys).
Acoustic Guitar - Where To Buy
Buying a guitar can be very confusing as they come in all shapes, sizes and types - right down to the various types of strings!
Regardless of where you purchase a guitar, please always use nylon strings for beginner students as they are much easier to play than any other kind of string. We also recommend students have access to a tuner (there are many options including free apps). The exact guitar sizing will depend on your child’s size, but commonly younger students purchase a ½ or ¾ sized guitar.
To take the hard work out of choosing an acoustic guitar for your child, we have researched and negotiated for our students what we believe to be the best student guitar package available in Australia. The seller bmusic is reputable and we have negotiated with them to create a special student guitar package exclusively for students of PMI. To check out the PMI guitar student package, click HERE.
Please note: PMI are not affiliated with bmusic and derive no financial benefit from any purchases you might make from them. The information on this page is provided purely as a service to our students.
Guitar tuners: there are lots of free Apps available to help with guitar tuning (see below). If your child is just beginning to learn to play the guitar, it's a great exercise to both work together to see how quickly you can tune the guitar - start your clocks! As your child advances, students will eventually be able to learn techniques to tune their guitar without the need for any device.
My child is left handed: not a problem! This is common and children can participate in our program with their guitar strung either way!
Concert Band Instruments - Different Options
We know finding an instrument for your child can be an overwhelming process! To assist, we've listed below some common options for finding an instrument.
In general, PMI recommend Yamaha, Pearl, Selmer and Bach as the best quality student instruments on the market and have a history as reliable, reputable brands which stand up to the demands of primary school aged students. These brands represent great value for quality, price and resale. Jupiter is also a reputable brand and is slightly cheaper.
A “student model” instrument of any of the recommended brands will give your child a very good start to learning their instrument. While there are other reputable brands on the market, please beware of brands offering warranties less than 3 years.
1. Buying a new concert band instrument
An instrument retailer PMI students have previously purchased quality instruments from is The Music Place, South Melbourne (phone 9699 9099). Their staff can assist with sizing and instrument selection. They will also post instruments if not convenient for you.
When comparing prices between different stores, remember to be aware of the brand and model number you are investigating and make sure you are comparing “apples for apples”.
2. Buying a second hand concert band instrument
Buying a second hand instrument can also be a good option but there are a few points you should think about to ensure you will be happy with your purchase:
Buy a quality brand instrument as these are much more likely to be in good condition when
bought and also will have better resale value if/when sold.
Do your research – checking the brand, model, serial number, age and service history of
any instrument you are considering and know how much the comparable brand new
Use a reputable dealer such as a music shop to provide you with greater protection.
If you buy privately, get the instrument checked by an instrument repair specialist to ensure
you know exactly what you are buying and how much any repairs may cost if needed.
3. Hiring a concert band instrument
Hiring an instrument can be a very attractive initial option. A lot of people choose this option to see if their child likes lessons enough to purchase. It is particularly good if your child is unsure about their instrument.
Most retailers offer a very good “Rent to Buy” option that allows you to hire instruments while paying them off at the same time. Generally you will own the instrument after 1 or 2 years, depending on the agreement.
Another convenient option available nation wide is: instrumentrental.com.au
4. Borrowing a concert band instrument from family/ friends/ school
Ask around as you never know who may have played an instrument that is now sitting unused. Have it checked by an instrument repair specialist – as an older quality instrument may just need a good service.