Renting a Musical Instrument: What if it Isn’t Being Used Enough?

Many people rent or buy a musical instrument when their child begins taking band or orchestra in school, but what do you do if your son or daughter isn’t playing or practicing at home?

Right now we are facing this very dilemma with my 7th grade son.  He is in his second year of playing bass in middle school orchestra, which is a full-year class.  The bass is $86/month with that monthly rental fee (less insurance) going towards ownership.  It is not an instrument that you carry back and forth to school since it is so large.  He is not playing it much at all at home right now, in fact, for a while he wasn’t playing it at all.  I have told him that he needs to play a minimum of 3 times per week for 30 minutes or I am going to stop renting it.  That being said, I will be ticked off that I will turn it back in when it is over half paid for.  What if he decides he wants to really get into it as an 8th grader and wants to play a lot?  I would not want to discourage him, but I do not want to waste money if he isn’t going to play it either.  I also hate to spend a bunch of money towards a purchase that ultimately doesn’t happen.  Is there a chance he will continue to play in high school?  I doubt it.  He is an athlete more than a musician.  I guess I need to get over this partial purchase issue I have in my head and save $86 per month.  What have others done in this situation?

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