The instruments most commonly used by students in schools and for pleasure are available at local music stores. The challenge for parents may be deciding whether to rent a trumpet or an oboe or to purchase it outright.

Fortunately, families have such options - a key factor to consider with, say, a mercurial 12-year-old, notes Greg Hunt of Orem's Bert Murdock Music: "They have no idea what they're going to wear tomorrow, let alone what they're going to be playing."Prices - for rentals or for shiny new instruments - also vary widely, vendors note. Some instruments are cheaply made; others will last through the school years or for a lifetime. Some rentals are brand new; others, though sanitized and spiffed up, are veterans of the music wars. And there can be models galore of particular instruments, from standard issue to professional quality.

"You get what you pay for," says Marianne Losee, director of Riverton Music's Riverton store.

Contracts and arrangements vary, and many stores offer incentives to children, parents and schools, notes Kevin Anderson of the Summerhays Music Center in Murray. Summerhays, for instance, generally adds a music stand, basic upkeep necessities - and a T-shirt - to each package, "hopefully to help kids play better and get excited about it."

The following chart lists basic monthly rental rates and purchase prices for some of the most popular instruments. Costs vary and not all instruments can be rented at every store. High-grade and professional-quality models of the same instruments may cost a great deal more.

Instrument Monthly Purchase

Rental

Flute: $11-$20 $ 300-$700

Piccolo: $15-$22 $ 500-$1,200

Clarinet: $11-$20 $ 395-$700

Oboe: $30-$100 $1,195-$2,895

Alto sax: $19-$45 $ 800-$1,595

Tenor sax: $24-$55 $1,000-$1,700

Baritone sax: $60-$120 $2,595-$4,700

Trumpet/coronet: $11-$25 $ 300-$700

Trombone: $11-$21 $ 300-$700

French horn (single): $24-$55 $1,090-$1,800

French horn (double): $30-$85 $1,050-$3,500

Baritone/euphonium: $15-$68 $ 795-$3,000

Snare drum kit: $10-$16 $ 245-$395

Percussion kit: $10-$18 $ 195-$495

Suzuki violin: $10-$20 $ 300-$600

Full-sized violin: $13-$30 $ 400-$1,000

Viola: $13-$30 $ 400-$1,100

Cello: $25-$55 $ 600-$1,595

Bass (upright): $55-95 $1,000-$3,000

Guitar (acoustic): $15-$25 $ 180-$275

Guitar (electric): $25-30 $ 259-495

Piano: $35 and above $2,400 and higher

Compiled with the assistance of Summerhays Music Center, Riverton Music and Bert Murdock Music.