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As part of our ‘Musical Voices’ vision, we are fully committed to removing as many barriers to making music as possible.  

Purchasing a musical instrument for lessons can be a significant investment before your child’s first lesson with some instruments costing £1,000s. In order to help, HMS is making many more instruments available to hire at heavily subsidised rates. 

HMS has a large stock of high quality instruments currently  available for hire or subsidised loan to young people receiving tuition from an HMS teacher and/or to those who are a member of an HMS ensemble. 

Planning is underway to make this service available more widely to young people who do not learn with an HMS teacher in future.

How does the hire scheme work? 

  1. For new pupils, tick the box to hire an instrument on the lesson type selection page when you enrol with HMS. For existing pupils wishing to take advantage of the hire scheme, complete this application.
  2. The instrument team will contact you to confirm if an instrument is available, arrange completion of the hire agreement and then book a slot to collect the instrument from Mid Herts Music Centre*.
  3. Look after it and enjoy making music! The fee will be added to you termly invoice.
  4. Full terms and conditions are available here.
  5. If you purchase your own instrument, need a different size or if you need to return the hire instrument if lessons are ending, simply contact the instrument team to arrange its safe return. 

* Collection may be available from a music centre closer to you – this will be confirmed by the instrument team. 

How much does it cost?

All hire instruments are set within one of 3 hire ‘bands’ according to its value. The fee is invoiced termly as part of your usual bill for lessons and/or ensemble membership. 

Pupils in receipt of 100% or 50% HMS financial support are eligible for the subsidised fee. Instrument hire is free of charge for young people in the care of the Hertfordshire local authority.   

Sometimes the free or subsidised hire of an instrument is included as part of a special promotion or offer. 

Below is a list of instruments available to hire with details of: 

  • what ‘band’ each instrument is in
  • how much a good quality beginner instrument would cost new
  • the HMS termly hire fee
  • the subsidised termly hire fee

Band A

 InstrumentAverage instrument valueHire fee Subsidised fee 
 Violin (all sizes) £150  £25.00 £12.50
 Viola (all sizes) £200 
 Keyboard £250 
Classical Guitar (all sizes) £80 - £100 

Band B

InstrumentAverage instrument value Hire fee Subsidised fee 
Flute £300  £32.50            £16.25           
Clarinet £300 
Trumpet / Cornet £250 - £350 
French Horn (beginner) £500 
Tenor Horn £350 
Baritone £500 
Trombone (Tenor only) £400 
Cello (all sizes) £500 
Electric/Bass Guitar and Amp £350 
Digital Stage Piano £400 
Drum Kit (electric) £400 

Band C

 InstrumentAverage instrument valueHire fee Subsidised fee 
Oboe £2,000  £40        £20       
Alto Saxophone £600 
Bassoon / Mini Bassoon £3,000 - £5,000 
Double Bass (all sizes) £1,500 
French Horn ('double') £3,500 
Euphonium £700 
Tuba £2,000 

What different instrument sizes can I hire?


Stringed instruments 

Most string instruments are available in different sizes to suit children age 4+ and we offer instruments from 1/4 size to full size in most cases with some 1/8th, 1/10th and even 1/16th sized instruments also available.

Hiring a string instrument in particular is helpful as you can easily swap your hire instrument for the next size up as your child grows without the need to buy and/or sell them yourself! 

Woodwind and Brass instruments 

Some woodwind and brass instruments are available in smaller sizes e.g. mini bassoons whilst others are altered to accommodate younger players e.g. a curved head flute. These instruments are often in a different key or a simplified version of larger instruments so it’s worth checking with your teacher which instrument would be most suitable for your child. 

If you haven’t been assigned a teacher yet, the instrument team can help by checking with our expert teachers on your behalf. 

Some instruments, e.g. saxophone or tuba are simply not suitable for pupils until they have the strength or lung capacity to play them – from approximately age 8-9 onwards.