V i o l i n R e n t a l / P u r c h a s e
Student violins - should I rent or should I buy?
Especially during the first year of study, I always recommend to rent an instrument from a reputable luthier or instrument shop. Rental contracts are usually on a yearly basis, and if a student needs to change sizes during the year, a rental shop can accommodate that. Renting is also a relatively inexpensive way to be able to use a good quality instrument without investing a lot of money. For a beginner student, a nice instrument that produces beautiful sound is a wonderful motivation for practice and continuing study. Many shops also have a "rent-to-own" option, where a portion of the rental fees can be put towards the purchase of an instrument later on.
When you are ready to buy an instrument, consider your budget first. Student violins come in a wide range of prices, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Professional-level, rare violins are considered art pieces and start in the $10,000 range and can go up to several million dollars! Materials and workmanship are the main factors that determine the price of a good student violin. Hand-crafted instruments will be more expensive than factory made instruments, but will also produce a much better sound. Good-quality student violins will usually begin at around a few hundred dollars for smaller sizes, and go up to several thousand dollars for a full-sized violin for an advanced student. Second-hand or used violins are not necessarily cheaper or less value - on the contrary. A good instrument should last for many years, and be enjoyed by several generations of players.
Below are some excellent luthiers in the Montreal area that offer quality instruments for rent or purchase. If you are looking to rent or buy a smaller-sized violin, make sure the little violinist gets sized by the luthier or a staff member so that they can get the right size. Each of the luthiers listed below offer violins for rent or purchase, maintenance and repairs, and accessories for sale.
Wilder and Davis
Located in the Plateau. Popular with many students and professional string players in the Montreal area.
Charette and Cossette Luthiers
Located in Villeray. Wonderful small shop with highly knowledgable owners.
Stensland and Girard
Located in Laval. Offers high-quality instruments for rent and purchase at extremely reasonable prices. Many of my students have gone there and come away with beautiful instruments for much less than what I would have expected.