How Core Music can help you get an instrument

There are many reasons I’m not the musician I might have been. Most have to do with talent and practice, obviously. One that I think is rare among excuses – but probably not rare in general – is that when I was a teenager I wanted to be David Bowie. Not like David Bowie, be David Bowie. This was not the only reason I wanted to learn guitar but, I confess, a major factor.

My father and mother, neither of whom could play or had much interest in music, insisted I began with a nylon-strung guitar. It would have served well as a garden fence (perhaps that was the backup plan if my enthusiasm was found wanting). This is still a common way for sceptical parents to test their offspring’s commitment because buying an instrument is a big investment and not something to get wrong. So I got this boring instrument and was duly tested.

After several months, when I’d spent more time tuning the guitar than playing it, they at last acknowledged this phase might last and I could have a proper instrument. It was to be a 12-string because that’s what David Bowie played, unusually for his style of music at the time. I spent the next five years developing a prodigiously strong left hand but no skill whatsoever with the other one. I became a chord man. It has taken decades to undo that muscle memory and learn how to deploy the previously redundant fingers and thumb in an orderly fashion. Of course, all that tuning practice came in handy because a 12-string is a contrary beast, pitch-wise.

I wish I’d had Core Music when I was growing up. It would have saved me years of dull strumming and fruitless posturing. Because Core Music can get budding musicians started on a quality instrument of the sort they actually want to play – in not one, but two ways.

The Instrument Amnesty Scheme (https://coremusic.co.uk/instrument-amnesty-scheme) provides well-prepared instruments at affordable prices. Previously used or unused instruments are renovated and refurbished to a high standard, so that the beginner has something that is fit for the job, not a mash-up of plank, wire or tubes that hinders their progress. Core Music rents them out at around £5 – £10 per month for a guitar and £15 for woodwind and brass. They’re also for sale at modest prices, from £40 upwards.

Core Music’s Take it Away scheme provides interest-free loans for musical instruments; you can add equipment, software and tuition if you need them too. After a minimum 10% deposit, the loan is repayable over 9 months. The scheme is open to people in England who are 18 – 25 years old, or over 18 and buying an instrument for a person under 18. Everything you need to know is on the Core Music website at https://coremusic.co.uk/take-it-away.

Unless your musical aspiration is to spend four months tuning a poorly-made guitar, these schemes will help you get the instrument you want. And you can discover the torment of a 12-string guitar without buying one.

– Steve C

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