For those of you who aren’t singers or pianists, you may or may not own your own instrument. Many high schools loan their instruments out to students for their use as they practice for the band or orchestra. Since these instruments belong to the high school, you will have to return it when you graduate, if not before. A common misconception that I see amongst prospective college students is that music programs also will loan instruments. Although a university might have a few available for loan, they are usually reserved for the Music Education techniques classes (where Music Ed students learn to play many different instruments in order to be more well-rounded teachers). Plus, as you become a stronger musician, having your own high quality instrument will become very important. Many of the loaner instruments are not great instruments or they have been beaten up over years of use. Before you come to a university to major in music, you should plan to purchase your own instrument. This can be an expensive prospect, so you should work with a private instructor in order to determine how to get the best instrument you can within your budget. Most musicians upgrade their instruments several times throughout their career, so although you should try and get a good quality instrument, this particular purchase isn’t the end all, be all. Above all, make sure you play the instrument and compare it to several others before you actually make a purchase. Many times, you can check out these instruments that are for sale, so that you can play them for an extended period of time before you have to make a decision. Again, working with a private instructor will be greatly beneficial. Make sure you get a good case for it, as well. Happy purchasing!