Upgrading instruments can be an overwhelming process, especially when you think about all of the available options. This is where Music & Arts Upgrade Your Sound event comes in. Stores can only house so many instruments in their back room. At our upgrade events, Music & Arts sends inventory from our warehouses and invites vendors to attend to give you every available option. In addition, we set appointment times so that every interested player can have their time playing, looking and asking questions. Our professional sales team will be there to assist in making sure your event experience is easy and informative. To make your experience even better, Music & Arts brings our best prices, rebates and financing options with us to the event.
Personally, I have a few helpful tips for parents on how you can best prepare for an event such as Upgrade Your Sound.
1. Have a list of instruments (Brands and Models) that are pre-approved by your band director and/or private instructor. This will assist in avoiding the hassle of returning and/or deciding what instrument to exchange to. Especially if the player has their heart already set on the instrument they picked at the event. This helps us to avoid unnecessary tension between player and instructor, and helps your sales person to know to skip the play testing of particular brands or models the instructor does not prefer.
2. Set a budget. Instruments can be expensive. There is nothing more devastating than to have a players heart set on a particular instrument and then find out later that it is not within an affordable price range for the purchaser. If the player is the purchaser, setting a budget can keep the budget from getting out of control.
3. Bring the player to the event. This might sound peculiar to you, but I have been to several upgrade events where a purchaser walks in ready to purchase an instrument, but does not bring the player. Each instrument is a little different. Each player is different. Each mouthpiece and/or ligature combination is different. Any and all of these things can affect whether or not a particular instrument will work for a particular player. Instruments are not one size fits all. Having the player attend the event with the purchaser is an absolute must.
4. Plan ahead. Play testing so many instruments does take time. You do not want to be in a rush. Set an appointment for the event. If your plans change between the time you set your appointment and the event date, give us a call at your local store and they will let the sales staff at the event know. Give yourself at least an hour. Thirty minutes to play test instruments and thirty minutes to finalize paperwork. It may take more time or less time for each, but this is a good average length of time. You can make an informed decision without feeling rushed into a sale. Music & Arts is here to assist you, not pressure you. However, the instruments and prices/financing available at the event are only available at the event. If you wait until after the event to make a decision, the pricing/financing will not be the same and we may or may not have the exact instrument the player tested. Giving yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision at the event can alleviate any further headaches or issues. Music & Arts wants your upgrade experience to be easy and painless.
5. Know the event location. Upgrade events are events for a whole area of Music & Arts stores. One event for multiple stores means it may not be at your local Music & Arts. We have had some unfortunate situations in the past where it was assumed that the event would be at the closest Music & Arts. Because of the massive inventory we must have in order to accommodate such a large event, we can only have one event within a certain area. With this much inventory, we often need more space than what our stores will allow. In addition, we try to pick a venue most centrally located to the participating stores. That being said, check with your local Music & Arts store to verify the location of your nearest upgrade event.
6. Bring your mouthpiece. Although we do have mouthpieces available at the event, the only way to know you are getting the best sound possible from the instrument the player is play testing is to have your personal mouthpiece and/or ligature and reeds with you. The size of the mouthpiece the player is used to makes a big difference in note response and quality. For brass instruments, the depth of the cup and rim thickness are both factors that can affect the play test by making the player focus more on trying to get used to the new mouthpiece rather than about which instrument truly functions best for the player. For woodwinds, the reed strength, reed cut, ligature type, mouthpiece bore and facing are all factors that can completely change the response and overall sound achieved by the player and can give a false sense of a particular instrument being better or worse for a player when it really has to do with the difference in the mouthpiece, ligature and reed set up. For the best purchase experience, the player needs the same mouthpiece and/or ligature and reed set up that they plan on using every day. Otherwise the player risks not being able to re-create the sound they had at the event. Even when playing on the same instrument. The fewer variables the player is dealing with in a play test the better for the player.