My dad took me to buy a metronome and instead got me a new trumpet. And that has made all the difference.

Our twice a year Step-Up Instrument event is rapidly approaching at Boomer Music.  This is the first time in two years we have been able to have the event and we could not be more excited about helping kids find the right instrument upgrade as they progress on their musical journey.  If you are the parent of a student who has been in band or orchestra for a couple of years, chances are you can relate to how my dad felt when we upgraded my trumpet.

Late September freshman year in high school, I was halfway through my first season of marching band.  I was still finding my place in a new school and band was the perfect way to build a circle of friends.  Our band director assigned us homework: get a metronome to assist in home practice.  My dad was eager to help me succeed in my trumpet playing so that night he took me to the music store.

When we got there, the helpful salesman located the correct metronome.  Then he started asking questions about the instrument I was playing.  Dad and I did not know much about trumpets at the time, but we did know it was a beginner model made by Yamaha.  The salesman then asked if we had considered upgrading to a nicer horn.

I confessed this had been on my mind.  In our town, there had been a precedent of trumpet players replacing their old student model horns with shiny silver ones upon entering high school.  I would see the other trumpet players with their new instruments and wonder what it would be like to have one of my own.  I was a decent player at the time, but I suspected that a better instrument could unlock more of my potential faster than the one I currently had.

Lucky for me, dad had been having these same thoughts as well.  Growing up he did not have the opportunity to participate in making music, so he got to experience everything for the first time along with me.  He went to all my performances, and he knew how good the band sounded and what gear the other kids were using.  When the salesman offered to let me try some trumpets, dad readily agreed.

That was all the encouragement I needed.  I tried instrument after instrument until one spoke to me clearer than any I had ever played.  My fourteen-year-old mind knew this was the right one, but was now the right time?  We had come in for a metronome, could we really leave with a new trumpet?

Knowing how important band was to me dad did not hesitate.  This was the horn that would likely get me through high school and beyond, so he bought the instrument.  Mom needed more convincing but she quickly warmed to the idea.  My band director was over the moon, thrilled that I had a new horn and that my folks were so supportive of my budding musical career.

That year I marched on the field at Foxboro Stadium in the final competition of the year, a year that saw us win first place in our division for all New England.  We would repeat that feat the next year.  Having a great instrument has taken me from Thursday night rehearsals at East Bridgewater High School to working at the Academy of Music in the library of the Philadelphia Orchestra to Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, where I was honored to play taps for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Today I own Boomer Music Company, a music store much like the one where my dad and I found my trumpet.  On November 20, 2021, we are hosting a Step-Up event at the store where your student will have the same opportunity I had to audition instruments and find the perfect one to help continue their musical journey.

At this event you and your student will be able to

  1. Audition new step-up and professional model instruments
  2. Confer in-person with manufacturer representatives
  3. Gain extra trade-in credit for your current instrument rental
  4. Have a one-on-one consultation with an expert in your instrument
  5. Explore the multiple finance options and rebates that are available
  6. Request a 7-day teacher approval for your chosen instrument

Why upgrade your instrument?

Beginner model instruments are made for durability first and sound quality second.  This makes sense because beginners do not yet know how to properly care for their instruments.  Now that they have some experience, the quality of sound should come first.  Step-up instruments will be made of better materials (like wood clarinets) or have additional keys and features (like open-hole flutes).  And of course new instruments are shiny, like my beloved trumpet, which inspired me to take better care of it than my beginner horn with its pitted lacquer and bent lead pipe.

But I don’t know what I’m looking for!

No worries!  Our expert staff can walk your student through the tryout process.  Additionally, we will have representatives from several manufacturers on site special for the event.  They will be happy to assist in any way they can (with all brands, not just theirs) to help your student find the right instrument. 

Why do it now?

We try to hold this event twice a year, but with everything that has happened in the world we have had to postpone for two years.  This means progressing musicians have been stunted in their growth, unable to upgrade their equipment.  We have additional inventory to try brought in special for our event, so there is a tremendous variety of brands and models.  Plus, as a special thank you for current rental customers we offer full-rental credit when you trade in your rental instrument at the event (normally that credit is closer to 80%).

I’m worried about buying more than we need

Put your mind at ease.  Our sales staff is non-commissioned, so their priority is your priority: finding the right instrument for your musician.  And if an upgraded instrument is not the right decision at this time, we will tell you that!  Improving a mouthpiece, bow, or reed could be a less expensive option that will unlock the potential of the instrument you currently have.  When your student has progressed to needing a new instrument, we will be happy to consult with you again.

It is not in the budget right now

Not true!  We have multiple finance options available including 18 month deferred interest through Synchrony or our own in-house 24-month purchase contract.  No matter your budget, we will find a way to get the right instrument in the hands of your child at the event.

My student’s teacher wants to help but can’t come that day

No problem!  We can find an instrument you like and let you try it risk free for a seven-day teacher approval.  They know your child better than anyone, so their input is invaluable.

We will be hosting the event at Boomer Music November 20, 2021, from 10-4.  Stop by or, if you prefer, contact us to make an appointment.  With our wide selection, knowledgeable staff, and multiple finance options we will be able to find the right instrument to help your student now and for years to come.

Taking the plunge into a new instrument seems daunting, but when you break it down the benefits far outweigh the risks.  For example:

  1. A new instrument will be built with the latest technology and the best materials.  Speaking from experience, a shiny new horn demands extra care and inspires additional practicing.
  2. Step-up instruments have more professional features.  They are built with one thing in mind: creating the best quality sound.  Upgrading early will allow your student to progress faster and grow into their sound.
  3. One-on-one consultation with our experts.  There are no one size fits all instrument upgrades, and our knowledgeable staff will help you and your student with every step of the tryout process.
  4. At step-up day we have the widest selection.  We bring in extra inventory so you can try as many models from as many brands as possible, maybe even one you were not aware of.
  5. Each step-up day we offer full credit on your trade in if you are a current renter with us.  Rental trade in credit is usually closer to 80%, so this is a fantastic opportunity for extra savings.
  6. Multiple finance options are available.  We have our in-house purchase contract which spreads your payments out over 24 months.  Additionally, Synchrony offers 18-month interest deferred financing, which still gets you cash discount pricing. 

That’s great, you may say but:

  1. Aren’t pro instruments less durable than student level ones?  Yes… to a point.  Student instruments are made with durability as a primary concern.  Now that your student has experience with their chosen instrument, they know how to care for it and keep it in great playing shape.
  2. This is more than my kid needs.  While the instrument they are currently using may work for where they are now, it will hinder their progress.  A new instrument (and consistent practice) will help your child reach their musical goals faster.
  3. You’re going to recommend the most expensive option.  No way!  Out staff has one goal in mind: find the right instrument for your student.
  4. There’s too much to choose from! I don’t know where to begin.  Great!  We will guide you through the process and answer all your questions along the way as your student tries each instrument one by one.  It’s like a ten-speed bike, you can only use one gear at a time so don’t worry about the other nine.
  5. Why don’t you always offer full trade-in credit?  We do this as a twice a year special thank you to our rental customers.
  6. It’s too expensive.  Maybe this is not the right time to upgrade your instrument. In that case we can explore options for mouthpieces, reeds, and other accessories that are budget friendly and will still help your student to progress.

In the end, the only real downside is waiting too long to make the upgrade.

Over and over we hear “We’ll upgrade when they improve their playing,” and logically this seems to make sense, but this approach is backwards.  Consider the sprinter just starting on the track team.  Does it make sense to delay getting spikes until they place at a meet?  Or a student learning chemistry.  Should they have to complete multiple lab experiments before earning safety goggles?  Improved equipment not only accelerates a musician’s progress, but it also makes it that progress possible.  Waiting until they fully develop the skill risks causing that day to never come.

After we came home with my new trumpet all those years ago, I joked with my mother that she was lucky I had not also needed a music stand, or who knows what we would have bought.  After she heard the improvement in my sound (and my attitude towards practicing) she quickly recognized the wisdom of the upgrade.  Long after I graduated high school, she still requests I play in church for the Christmas Eve service.  To this day when I spend Christmas in Massachusetts, on the evening of December 24th, I will be in the choir loft, next to the organ.

When you think about it, that trumpet was one of the best purchases my parents ever made for me.  In college a few years later, I needed a vehicle so I could take private lessons.  Dad helped me find (and pay for) my first car, a nine-year old VW Cabriolet.  That car cost four times as much as my instrument and barely lasted six years.  Thirty-one years later, I still have my trumpet.

The way I look at it, musical instruments are one of those items where you get what you pay for.  This may mean slightly more initial expense, but when well maintained they will hold their value.  The instrument you purchase today will likely be worth close to the same amount tomorrow.  Worst case scenario your family will have a quality piece of musical equipment ready to pass on to the next generation of budding musicians.

While we do schedule this event twice a year, history has proven we are not always able to hold it as planned.  We do anticipate having another step-up event in May, but as with many things in the world we can only reliably plan so far in advance.  If you are on the fence about getting an instrument at this time, I would urge you to come out and at least explore the options.

As usual we will have extra inventory on hand at the event, sent in special by the manufacturers.  In the past this has been relatively easy since the global supply chain was functioning as designed.  While we will have a fantastic selection that will have many great options for your student, we will not have quite as many of each individual model as we would like.  With resupplies unreliable at best, if you are considering a step-up instrument now would be your best chance to find the perfect one.

Thirty-one years later, I still have and play the trumpet my dad got for me.  I had no idea where it would take me when we went looking for a metronome, but I know the journey would have been different.  Come to the Step-Up event at Boomer Music on November 20th and explore the possibilities for upgrading your musician’s sound.  You never know where the journey will take you from there.