Mr. Christopher Zwarych » Instrument Rental Information & FAQ

Instrument Rental Information & FAQ

Thank you for your interest in the Hackettstown Middle School Bands!  Band is an awesome class where we learn how to play our instruments, explore a bunch of really great music, and have a good time, too.  Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about how to rent an instrument.
If you have any questions about renting or purchasing an instrument, please do not hesitate to reach out via email - [email protected] 
Students are allowed to select the following instruments as a beginning band member:
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone/Euphonium
  • Percussion (Drums AND Bells)
Additionally, the following instruments may be considered on a limited basis, but conference must be held with the teacher first.
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Tuba
At Hackettstown Middle School, we use The Music Shop as our instrument rental company.  The Music Shop is a fantastic music store located in Boonton, NJ.  Every instrument that they provided is a top-tier, name-brand instrument which you/your student can play from now through high school.  Each rental is a rent-to-own, so if you keep renting the instrument, you will eventually own it!
Please view this video to learn more about how to complete the instrument rental process - Rental Instruction Video
Instrument rentals are completed online at  Here's how to rent an instrument:
  • Click on the "Instrument Rentals" drop down tab on the top left
  • Click "Rent Online"
  • On the next screen, enter the zip code for Hackettstown (07840)
  • On the next screen, select your town (Hackettstown) and school (Hackettstown Middle School)
  • Then, select your instrument.
  • Once you've selected your instrument, you will have two options for a rental, 4 months or School Year.  I encourage you to consider the School Year rental if possible.  While more expensive upfront, it is a better deal in the long run. 
  • On the following page, you'll be asked to enter contact and payment information.  You'll also be asked about purchasing a protection plan or additional accessories.  If you are playing a reed instrument (clarinet, saxophone), I encourage you to purchase a box of reeds, if possible 
If you have questions about the protection plan or other terms, conditions or policies of the rental, please reach out to The Music Shop directly.  If you have questions about the instrument or accessories, please reach out to me first before contacting The Music Shop.
For all students, I would recommend considering purchasing a music stand.  These can be purchased from The Music Shop, a local music store or other online vendor.  It can be very difficult to practice with out something to put your book on!
Depending on which instrument you've chosen, you may need to purchase some additional items. 
  • Reed Instruments - Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Oboe, Bassoon
    • Students will be responsible for purchasing their own reeds.  Students should have three reeds in their case at any time and additional reeds at home.  While I do have a supply of reeds, these are for emergencies only.  
    • Reeds can be purchased from The Music Shop, Amazon or most local music stores.
  • Brass Instruments - Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone/Euphonium, Tuba
    • Students will be responsible for having their own valve oil and/or slide grease.  Students should have a container in their case at any time.  While I will have a supply of valve oil or slide grease, these are for emergencies only.
    • Valve oil or slide grease can be purchased from The Music Shop, Amazon or most local music stores.
  • Percussion Instruments - Drums and Bells
    • Students will be responsible for having their own sticks and mallets.  Most percussion kit rentals will include a starter set of sticks and mallets.  As you grow as a percussionist, you may be asked to purchase a stick bag (to hold sticks) or other sticks, mallets and implements.  With proper care, these additional items can last for years.
    • Sticks, mallets and other percussion items can be purchased from The Music Shop or Steve Weiss Music
Yes you can, but please contact me first!  It is very important that your student has a quality instrument from day one so they do not become frustrated.  A poor quality instrument can break frequently or be difficult to play with good sound.  A poor quality instrument may also not be able to be repaired by a repairman either.  I recognize that an instrument is an investment, so I want you to get the most for your money as well.
Generally speaking, you should only purchase an instrument from a reputable music store.  I can offer you the name of other local stores to explore if you would like to shop around before purchasing.  If you are considering purchasing an instrument from an online resource, such as eBay, Amazon, craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or other such places, please reach out to discuss first.
If you do decide to purchase an instrument, I recommend the following brands:
  • Yamaha
  • Bach
  • Jupiter
  • Buffet
  • Holton
  • Bundy
  • Leblanc
  • Vito
  • Conn
  • King
  • Armstrong
  • Gemeinhardt
  • Emerson
  • Olds
  • Pearl
  • Tama
  • Mapex
  • Ludwig
  • Drum Workshop
  • PDP
Please note that this is not an end-all/be-all list.  If you find an instrument from another brand that's not on this list, just reach out and ask!
Absolutely!  If the instrument has not been played in a while, I would recommend that we send it out for a service from The Music Shop.  A service is like an oil change for your car.  The Music Shop will test the instrument to make sure it is in working order, plays well and will fix any issues.  This can be accomplished at any time, even over the summer.  Please don't hesitate to reach out and ask about this.
Because it's a part of the world of percussion!  As a percussionist, you're a musician who will play a whole variety of instruments in the percussion family, including snare drum and bells/mallets and a number of other accessory percussion such as cymbals, woodblocks and so much more.  You will be responsible for learning and performing on all of these instruments as you grow as a percussionist, because you could be called upon to play just about anything that you might hit or strike with a stick or mallet. 
Unfortunately, we do not offer string instruments at this time.  We currently do not have a string or orchestra program here and in our band music we purchase, there are no violin, viola or cello parts.  
If you do play a string instrument, there are many options for you to participate in band.  Your music reading skills will easily translate to a number of band instruments.  I have had success working with string musicians and helping them learn additional instruments.  If you are a string player and interested in participating in band, please reach out so we can discuss!
Unfortunately, we do not offer the piano as a band instrument.  Band music is not written with piano parts.  Also, our band room is very small, so if we were to setup a few pianos in there, it would take up quite a lot of room.  However, I have helped many students make the transition from piano to percussion and other instruments.  It is a very natural transition, since both instruments are very similar.  If you are a piano player and interested in participating in band, reach out so we can talk!
Additionally, while we may not use a Piano in our concert band music, there may be opportunity for you to use your piano skills in other ensembles, such as Jazz Band or Percussion Ensemble.