Most Expensive Instruments Played in High School Bands

Most Expensive Instruments Played in High School Bands

When you have someone taking band in your family, an instrument’s cost can add up quickly. Most instructors recommend rentals for beginners to avoid the high prices you face if a switch happens. Even when you follow that path, you might spend upwards of $40 per month to get the instrument you want.

Before you start auditioning the instruments to play in a high school band, it might be worthwhile to look at the costs you can afford. You don’t want to buy a poorly constructed product, but it might not work in your budget to rent a tuba.

Here are the most expensive instruments that high school bands play today.

1. Alto Saxophone

When kids get started in a fifth-grade band, the instructor might suggest a year of clarinet before switching to the sax. This option is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, with most high-quality instruments retailing around $1,000. If you want a pro-quality saxophone, expect to pay around three times that amount.

2. Tenor Saxophone

If you want to get a high-quality student tenor saxophone, you’ll find most options start around $1,250 and go up from there. You can always find cheaper models online, but those off brands don’t still stand up to the rigors of playing. If you want an intermediate model, you’ll want to save at least $2,000 to buy one from a reputable brand.

3. Oboe

This instrument provides a unique sound for the high school band. It also comes with a hefty price tag. It’s not unusual to see a new student instrument retail for more than $4,000. The reason for the added cost is the handcrafted nature of the product, with many of them made from Grenadilla wood. It’s also quite challenging to play, with most students needing at least a year to learn how to create and adjust the reeds.

4. French Horn

Although the French horn looks and feels a lot like a trumpet (even the fingering is similar), the cost can blow you out of the water. An entry-level instrument with a single horn is about $500 for one with reasonable quality. When your musician is ready to step up to the double horn, you can expect to pay around $3,000. The Hans Hoyer Heritage model retails for above $5,900.

5. Timpani

The average price of a single timpani drum, including the pedals, can be as much as $50,000. This instrument can weigh as much as 140 pounds, which means it won’t be coming home with your student. When you get involved with any percussion, you’ll often have more supplied to purchase, such as sticks, while reducing the cost of rentals. Your instructor might want your student to work with a snare drum set, and those often retail for about $300 to $500.

When you start thinking about the cost of instruments, it can make you want to avoid band altogether some days! If you encourage musical theory and learning at home, the results are worth the investment. This work encourages creativity, expressionism, and dedication. 

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