St Albans Music Academy

Instrument Hire

supporting and developing local musical talent

Instrument Hire Scheme For Students

At SAMA, we want our students to learn on suitable, high quality instruments. We believe this gives them the best tools to help progress in their lessons and also gives them the best experience, reward and encouragement that will help them enjoy their playing and foster their passion for music.

At the same time, we realise that investing in an instrument can be expensive, especially when you are not sure whether the student will enjoy their lessons or which is the most suitable instrument for them. In addition, maintaining the instrument and finding the right accessories can be a headache if you're not familiar with the instruments being used. As a result, we offer an affordable hire scheme of good quality instruments, which enables students to try out their chosen instrument before making a decision to buy. This can also be helpful when a starter instrument is to be used in the short term before buying a more advanced model.

The models we have chosen are intended to balance cost against high quality and suitability for beginners, although many will also be suitable for more advanced players as well. Your teacher will be able to advise you which model is the most suitable model for you, depending on the student's age, size and ability. All of our standard hire instruments listed below are priced at £15 per month (unless stated otherwise), plus a deposit (usually £60, depending on the model). This includes maintenance of the instrument and all the accessories you will need as a beginner. Our standard hire models include:

For £15 per month:
  • Cello - A good quality model that can be used right up to the higher grades if needed (e.g. Stentor Student I or II). Includes bow and carry case.
  • Clarinet - A good quality model that can be used right up to the higher grades (e.g. Buffet B12), or a reduced size starter model for younger children (e.g. Kinder Klari Eb). Includes Case, 2 Reeds and Cleaning Kit.
  • Electric Guitar - A good quality, 3/4 size guitar (e.g. Squier Mini Strat) and amp. Including case, lead and strap. 3/4 Bass also available.
  • Flute - A good quality model that can be used right up to the higher grades with curved head if needed (e.g. Trevor James 10x), or a reduced size starter model for younger children (e.g. Just Flutes Apprentice). Includes Case and Cleaning Kit.
  • French Horn - Quality beginner models like the Elkhart 100BFH.
  • Keyboard - At least 76 keys with touch response. (e.g. Yamaha DGX series, Casio WK-1630 or the slimmer Yamaha NP series). Includes: Adapter, Keyboard Stand, Music Stand, Manual.
Other prices:
  • Digital Piano - We have a selection of models from the Casio Privia range, which have full-size, weighted keys, but a slimline profile to ease transport and save space. Available for £20-25 per month, depending on the model.
  • Guitar - Quality beginner Valencia Classic guitars (various sizes with case). For £8 per month.
  • Saxophone - A good quality model (e.g. Jupiter 500 Series, £20 per month), or a high quality and specialised reduced-weight "Alpha Sax" for younger starters (£15-25 per month, depending on the model and condition). Includes neck strap and case.
  • Trumpet/Trombone - We use specialised, high quality, robust beginner plastic instruments for starters. Trombone for £8 per month, Enhanced trumpet model for £12 per month. We also have brass trumpets for £15 per month.
  • Violin - A good quality model that can be used right up to the higher grades if needed (e.g. Stentor I or II). Includes bow and carry case. For £9 per month.

See below for some examples of what some of these models look like. More advanced or specialised instruments are also sometimes available at an increased rate as well as additional accessories as/if needed.

If the instrument you want to learn is not mentioned above, then please ask for some advice. If beginner instruments are relatively cheap, for example ukeleles, then it might be better for you to buy the instrument, and we can advise you as to a good model. Again, your teacher will be able to advise you in your first lesson (or in advance) as to the best model and size for you.

Buying Advice

When you are ready to buy an instrument, then we will be very happy to give you some advice about which instrument and model to buy. You should always look to buy quality instruments, as non-brand budget models will often impede the playing technique of the student, require more maintenance and discourage the student. One of the most common questions we are asked when learning the piano, is whether to buy a keyboard or digital piano - for more information on this topic and which models we'd recommend, please see here:

Hire to Buy Discount

Our Instrument Hire Scheme is mainly intended for relatively short periods, as a service to help beginners to easily try learning a new instrument, or to substitute for their own instrument during repairs. However, if you are ever interested in buying your hire instrument, we will discount the purchase price by 40% of the rental costs paid during the first 2 years. The undiscounted purchase price of your instrument, including all accessories will depend on the instrument (for example, for a flute or other £15 per month instrument, it would typically be in the region of £200-£250) and will be specified at the outset of your hire contract.

Example: A Buffet B12 clarinet (previously used but serviced and with accessories) might be priced at £240 at the start of the hire contract. After 6 months' rental paid at £15/month, the hire package can be bought with a discount of (15x6)x 40% = £36 (i.e. for £240 - £36 = £204).

Examples of typical models

Casio WK Series
Casio WK Series Keyboard
Yamaha NP Series
Yamaha NP Series Keyboard
Casio Privia
Casio Privia Digital Piano
Stentor Cello
Stentor Cello
Buffet B12
Buffet B12 Clarinet
Trevor James 10x Flute
Trevor James 10x Flute
Stentor Violin
Stentor Violin
Jupiter 500 Series Saxophone
Jupiter 500 Series Saxophone
Trevor James AlphaSax
Trevor James AlphaSax
Valencia Classical Guitar
Valencia Classical Guitar
Squier Mini Strat & Amp
Squier Mini Strat & Amp
Further Information

For more details, please speak to your teacher or visit our Contact page.