You’ve all probably seen the diagram that goes over quality of restaurants, the one that says you can only pick two: cheap, fast, or good. If you pick good and fast it won’t be cheap food; if you pick cheap and fast it won’t be good food. This holds true for instruments as well. The more you pay for an instrument, the more attention to quality goes into the making of the instrument. The less attention to quality (e.g. on materials, labor), the less expensive the instrument will be.
Most instruments produced now are made very quickly in factories to keep up with the demand, which means that “fast” has already been picked for you when you’re looking to buy. If fast has already been picked, then you, as the parent or player, have to choose between good and cheap. Most parents jump at the prices of instruments in stores because they experience sticker shock. Face it, no one wants to pay $500-$1000 for a great instrument their kid might not want in a few months; but what would you do if I told you that the better the quality of the instrument, the easier it is to learn how to play correctly. It makes a difference in your student’s playing and practicing when they are able to play on a quality instrument. If you’re having them play on a less expensive substitute, they might start off wanting to play and enjoy the instrument, but when all the other kids in class sound better and are moving farther along in class, kids can become discouraged very quickly. Buying a more expensive instrument may feel risky and silly but it actually is one of the best decisions you can make for your student.
All you need is a beginner/student instrument of good quality for them to start on. Student models are made with the family of the student in mind, you can get a great student level instrument for a price that’s great for your family, you just need to be careful and watch out for instruments that are not going to survive your student’s learning career. Long story short, there are very important reasons for choosing to purchase an instrument that is right for your student and your budget. You have a choice, and you can only pick two.