How to Approach Local Music Stores for Equipment
You can’t teach music or have a band without instruments, that just goes without saying. Instruments can be expensive though and some school budgets and marching band groups don’t always have the funds to cover what is needed. This is why we run fundraisers for the marching band and High School music program. Sometimes people will donate old instruments that can be polished up and put into use as well.
Another option that we tend to forget is approaching music stores for the equipment that we need. A lot of local music shops here run back to school sales for some of the basics like guitar strings and basic instruments that are cheaper. We have one shop near the High School who is always on the lookout for instruments that can be donated to the school or the marching band.
If you have a local music store or two it may be worth it to pay them a visit and see if thy can offer you a deal for the school. Many will be keen on offering discounts on instruments and accessories when you buy them in bulk and you can save a lot that way.
A lot of people will sell their old instruments to music shops as well, and you may be able to get a shop to donate one or two of these, or at least give you a good price break. In some cases you can also find shops that will rent out equipment as and when you need it too. I’ve seen everything from amps to drum kits being rented through music shops.
You can also try talking to companies that manufacture instruments. You won’t get them for free but you may be able to get a discount if you offer to display the company logo on instruments or some other form of advertising, such as banners that show a company or shop as a sponsor. It’s free advertising for them and cheaper instruments for the kids.
I’ve found that many of the local shops are proud of their town’s marching bands and will gladly help out where they can. When you approach a music shop for some help, explain to them what is needed and see if they can offer discounts, rentals, or donated instruments. It’s always best to meet them face to face and I have found that bringing one or two of the music or marching band kids along can help persuade them to work with you.
If you’re looking for instruments and accessories for your school, make sure you know what your budget is and what you can work with. Having a good inventory list is a great help in letting you see what is needed and where. Some music shops will also let you put up a flier or to in their windows asking for donations or help for the local High School music program.
Shops also tend to know when other bands, music groups or other shops are downsizing or closing up. It means they have a chance to snag some equipment at a discount and they can let you know about these opportunities too. It may take a bit of time and work but it can be well worth it in the end. Be creative and if one shop turns you down, don’t fret!