Instrument Rental Info – Northern CA

Instruments available to play in our program:



Alto Saxophone 



Snare Drum/Xylophone (tuned bells) Please Note: Drummers must rent both items. Both come in one carrying case on wheels if you order them through either Rockin Robbies listed below or NEMC

Check List for Parents:
  • Rent an instrument (drummers need to have both snare drum and Xylophone)
  • Purchase a fold up inexpensive Music Stand for home practice (Purchase Link below)
  • Clarinet and sax players need to buy a box of reeds size 2.0(Purchase Links Below)
  • Cleaning kits are nice to have but aren’t required. (Links below)
Listing of Music Stores (East Bay)

We highly recommend Rockin Robbie’s for our East Bay Parents. For Rockin Robbies, you can reserve and pay online. You can either drop by and pick up or they will actually deliver DIRECTLY to you. Owner Robin Eig gives customers great customer service. They have 3 locations for pick up.

Rockin’ Robbie’s Concord
1835 Colfax Street
Concord, CA 94520
Rockin’ Robbie’s El Cerrito
11225 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Rockin’ Robbie’s Oakland (Under the Name: Mountain Music)
4444 Piedmont Ave. 
Oakland, CA 94611
Oakland/Alameda area

Starland Music Center – 1631 Park St., Alameda                                (510) 523-4797

Order instrument online and instrument is delivered to your home.

Drum kits (Snare and Bells) also available which we require if kids are going to play drums.

A&G Music Oakland

Hayward Area

Allegro Music 3115 Walnut Avenue, Fremont, CA 94538                      (510) 793-3500 


Lafayette/Concord Area

Rockin’ Robbie’s East bay Music 1835 Colfax St., Concord                    (925) 687-4220 (Highly Recommended)

San Francisco area

Bronsteins Music –  305  3rd Lane South S.F                                           (650) 588-2502

Inspire Music – 1241 Taraval St., San Francisco                    (415) 504-7921

Union Music 1475 Bush (corner of Bush and Van Ness)SF  (415) 775-6043 (website: 

Cupertino/San Jose area

Starving Musician 3939 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA  95051   (408) 554-9041

Park Ave Music1717 Park Ave. San Jose, CA                                        (408) 279-5100

Exploring Music 1608 De Anza Blvd., San Jose, CA 95129                     (408) 517- 1177

West Valley Music262 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041              (650) 961-1566

Music Village2971 Union Ave., San Jose, CA                                        (408) 377-2504

Important message about renting versus buying an instrument:  

We recommend renting an instrument first, not purchasing. Sometimes student change their mind after a few classes and you don’t want to be stuck with a purchased instrument. 

If you are looking to purchase an instrument be very very careful. We always recommend going through a local store because you will be supported in case something goes wrong with it. Many advertised new instruments online look like a great deal but in most cases they are not.  As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. A lot of these instruments are junk and will fall apart within a year. For example, a quality student model trumpet usually runs $800-1,200. When you see a new trumpet online advertised for $150-300, this is junk. 

Music Stands

Invest in your child’s lessons by making sure they have a fold-up-wire music stand. Stands cost in range of $12-18 and can be purchased at any music store or through M.U.S.E. at one of our instrument rental events. Students need to have a good place to set their music while they practice. Laying music down on the bed or on a table creates bad posture and awkwardness in reading the music. Please consider the purchase of a music stand.

You can pick one up at a local music shop or order online at: or

Other required supplies

Alto Saxophone and Clarinet Players need reeds. We suggest to buy a box of reeds size 2 to start with(make sure ALTO sax not tenor) A box of 10 reeds should last them for at least 1/2 of the school year. Clarinet players will want to move up to a 2.5 later in the year. Example:

Clarinet reeds on Amazon

ALTO Sax reeds on Amazon on Woodwind and brass website

What if we already have an instrument in the family? Can we use this for class?

Perhaps you have an instrument in the family, one an older child played or handed down from a parent or grandparent and it just happens to be the one your child wants to play. No need to rent  then, as long as the one you have is in good working order. You need to take it into a reputable music shop to have it checked out and updated on maintenance. It is important that the instrument is in good playing condition so your child can be successful and doesn’t get frustrated if it isn’t working correctly. Many older instruments passed down through families are wonderful gems and well worth any maintenance or refurbishing.

What if my child doesn’t know what instrument they want to play?

Check out our Instrument Demonstration page where actual M.U.S.E. students show new students how each instrument sounds and is played. 

Flute Demonstration                          

Clarinet  Demonstration                    

Alto Saxophone demonstration                  

Trumpet Demonstration                      

Trombone Demonstration                   

Percussion Demonstration (Xylophone and Snare drum)        (coming soon)    

The best recommendation we can make is to choose the instrument your child is excited about. It’s important to focus on what they feel good about playing because they’re the ones who will have to practice the instrument and they are more likely to do this if it’s the instrument they choose! 

A common question asked by students and parents is ” What is the easiest or hardest instrument to play?” The simple answer is practice. Each instrument has it’s challenges but nothing too hard that cannot be overcome with practice.

What is the procedure if the instrument I rented needs maintenance or repair?

You’ll need to email or call the shop you rented your instrument from and check on their policy. In most cases, they will probably want you to bring it to them for any maintenance or repair.

If you notice or the teacher lets you know your child’s instrument needs maintenance or repair, try to get it in as soon as possible! Many repair shops have a line up for repair and the beginning of the school year and the end of year are very busy times for repair – fall because all music programs are getting started, including middle school and high school bands, and spring because many schools are  performing musicals, end of year concerts, etc. So remember, you may not be able to get the instrument repaired quickly if you wait until you are in a time crunch. Plus, your student may miss valuable time practicing and playing in class.

Do we keep renting the instrument over the summer or do we have to return it?

Most of our continuing students keep their instruments over the summer and we hope they get to practice a bit, maybe play music with friends, take some private lessons, play their music for grandparents or relatives, possibly participate in a band camp. We have added special Fun Music on our new website for kids to download and play this summer so we hope you can encourage them to keep playing!

However, some parents want to return the rented instrument and then rent again in the coming fall.

Please do not leave your rented instrument at the school office or with your MUSE teacher. MUSE has nothing to do with the instrument contract you signed with any music shops.

Register Now for Fall 2023: Click to learn more >>

Register Now for Fall 2023: Click to learn more >>