TRAVERSE CITY -- A win-win-win scenario Saturday benefits young area musicians and their families.
The Used Instrument Sale, hosted annually by the Traverse City Music Boosters, offers affordable band and orchestra instruments for sale. Families with a new musician in sixth grade, especially, could find a bargain to help launch their student on an instrument.
The event, held at West Middle School from 1 to 4 p.m., features a range of band and orchestra instruments. In the past, guitars or drum sets have also been offered for sale.
Another benefit of the sale is that sellers can bring instruments that have been outgrown -- whether due to a child growing or advancing in talent -- or are no longer needed. The sale allows the owner to recoup some of the cost.
"A typical scenario is that students will purchase a starter-level instrument in sixth grade and then move up to a higher-level instrument in their high school years," said Jeremy Treadwell, chair of the event for the Music Boosters. "So that beginning-level instrument would otherwise sit around and this gets it back into the hands of students who will play it."
The final bonus is that 15 percent of each sale goes to the Traverse City Music Boosters scholarship fund. With typically 100 instruments changing hands during the event, this equates to around $2,000 -- or six scholarships -- funded every spring.
The sale welcomes any interested buyer or seller, not just families in the Traverse City Area Public School district. There is no fee to attend or to bring an instrument for sale.
The event will be held in the school's Little Theater. Instruments to be sold may be dropped off between 9 and 11:30 a.m. that day in the same location. Trained volunteers evaluate and help the seller select a price. Sellers can pick up checks or unsold instruments between 4 and 5 p.m.
Band and orchestra teachers from the district volunteer at the event, helping shoppers try out or select an instrument. The interactions during the sale allow an informal get-together between a future teacher and new students and their parents.
"If they want to look at a clarinet, I can play the various ones on my own mouthpiece, and the same for saxophones and flutes," said band instructor Pete Deneen, who teaches at East Middle School. "Most of the shoppers at the Used Instrument Sale are parents of beginners so they don't have any background in the instrument."
For years, the sale was held in the fall, usually after school had been in session for a few weeks. Last year, the Music Boosters moved the date to the spring to better accommodate teaching schedules of beginning band and orchestra students the following fall.
"It's better timing: now that we have sixth grade at the middle school, we are asking families to have instruments when school starts," Deneen said.
Another unheralded bonus of the sale is that some sellers donate their unsold instrument to the Music Boosters program.
"Then teachers have them available in the fall to help a student," Deneen said.
For more information on the sale, call 933-7570.