Get straight answers from The Magic Flute, to frequently asked questions about renting an instrument

Answers to FAQs About Renting a Musical Instrument for School


The service policy covers maintenance for normal wear and tear and is intended to keep the instrument in the best working condition (i.e. tuneups, cleaning, basic adjustments--does not include strings, reeds, and other “consumable” parts). It does not cover damage. Damage repair (and devaluation of instruments due to damage) is assessed and quoted on an individual basis. However, as a current renter, you are eligible for a 50% discount off the $90 shop rate for repairs on a damaged instrument.

We carry the most popular teacher recommended top quality instruments for school music programs. If we do not have the specific brand your teacher is requesting, we will have a comparable brand for you.

Yes, we have a full-service shop run by expert technicians. We offer free estimates, competitive rates, and all of our work is guaranteed.

Not to worry, your rental contract includes ONE exchange to a different instrument within the first year of rental for a $25 fee. Free exchanges may be made to larger size violins, violas, cellos, and basses as needed (any time during the rental). We require a minimum 3-month investment, which is not refundable. However, if you pay the 9-month rate, a refund prorated to the monthly renewal rate after the first three months can be issued.

If you think you’ve rented the wrong size, just come into the store with your child and the instrument and we’ll measure and do a free exchange if needed.

100% of the rent and tax portion paid is applicable to the purchase of the rented instrument. It can also be transferred to the purchase of a different instrument of equal or greater value within the first year of the rental in accordance with our standard discounting formula. After that point, all subsequent rent and tax payments will apply to the purchase of the rented instrument only. Purchase credit from rent and tax payments is earned up to the value of the instrument on rent. We recommend renting for an entire school year, assessing your child’s interest to continue before deciding whether to keep renting or purchase outright. That said, the sooner you purchase, the more you save.

To rent an instrument for a school music program, the minimum rental period is 3-months. For most beginners, it takes at least 3 months to get comfortable with an instrument.

If you lose the instrument, you will be charged the replacement cost. Should the instrument sustain damage while in your care, affecting its overall working condition, our Repair Shop will repair it and you will be billed at 50% of our normal shop rate of $90 per hour. If the cost to repair the instrument is greater than its replacement cost, you will be charged the replacement cost and The Magic Flute will retain possession of the instrument for salvage. In both cases, you may continue the rental contract with a replacement instrument of the same type.

Good questions! Some instruments look easier to play, but looks can be deceiving. Your child can play any instrument, as long as they are inspired, encouraged and supported. And, practice makes perfect. Kids learn fast! Just 15 or 20 minutes a day, three days a week, is enough time for your child to amaze you with their playing ability.

We don’t encourage this approach, mostly because a complete beginner will not have adequate playing ability and may get discouraged unnecessarily. The best way to choose an instrument is to have the student answer these questions: What instrument do I like to listen to? What instrument do I like the looks of? It's all about inspiration. If a student likes the sound and look of their instrument, they will want to spend more time with it.

All incoming rental returns are received by masked staff and set aside in an isolated waiting area for no less than 3 days (per guidelines for virus lifespan on plastic, wood and metal). Once the waiting period is complete, instruments, including mouthpieces, and cases are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized (brass and woodwind instruments run through ultrasonic immersion cleaning), inspected and moved to a designated storage area.

During your rental consultation, we will teach you best practices for instrument care and maintenance and help you understand how to avoid damaging the instrument. All instruments are provided with protective cases. In our experience, the vast majority of students are able to take very good care of their instruments.

Still have questions? Please feel free to  or call us at (415) 479-3112.