Instrument Hire

Our high quality instruments are available to hire for young musicians, up to the age of 21 years, living or studying in Essex. Our stock of 2,000 instruments includes orchestral and band instruments, electric guitars and keyboards.

Please view our instrument hire scheme Information sheet for our full T&Cs and our risk assessment concerning Covid-19 restrictions visiting schools.

Please be aware of the following new procedures due to Covid-19 restrictions.

  • Instrument cleaning – all returned instruments will be quarantined, cleaned and disinfected prior to re-hiring.
  • *Instrument school delivery –  costs £10 per instrument. Once your application has been received and hire payment made,  we will contact your requested school to check if there are any visitor restrictions in place and advise you of the next steps.
  • Instrument collection – by prior appointment from Essex County Hall, Chelmsford, CM1 1QH  Chelmsford.  Please note that collections are not available every day in the 5-day working week. There are no charges when collecting from Essex County Hall.
  • Payment – on collection from County Hall:-
    • cash (please bring correct amount as no change is available)
    • cheque (payable to Essex County Council)
    • pre-payment by ‘phone prior to collection
  • Returned hire instruments – will be put in quarantine for two weeks before processing for deposit refund.
  • Please note that both *Instrument school delivery and also **Instrument Deposits are payable at the full rate for all applications including Tuition Discounts and Children in Care.

Apply for an instrument or email with any enquiries.

What instrument and size to hire?

Below is a list of the instruments which are available to hire plus deposit and termly hire charge. Most instrument hire is free for young people with a LAC tuition discount. Eligible young people can apply for the tuition discount. 50% hire discount is available if your family qualify for our tuition discount scheme. Please also see below for instrument size guide.

Instrument **Deposit Hire (per Term) 50% hire discount (per Term) with tuition discount
Flute £30 £30 £15
Oboe £35 £35 £17.50
Clarinet £30 £30 £15
Alto Sax £50 £50 £25
Tenor Sax £60 £60 £30
Bassoon/Mini Bassoon £40 £40 £20
Trumpet/Cornet £30 £30 £15
French Horn £35 £35 £17.50
Tenor Horn £40 £40 £20
Bari/Euphonium £45 £45 £22.50
Trombone (tenor only) £30 £30 £15
Tuba £35 £35 £17.50
Violin (all sizes) £15 £15 £7.50
Viola £15 £15 £7.50
Cello (all sizes) £20 £20 £10
Double Bass (all sizes) £35 £35 £17.50
Guitar (all sizes) £10 £10 £5
Electric/Bass Guitar & Amp £40 £40 £20
Keyboard £20 £20 £10

If you need an instrument not listed above, please email .

Important information – Instrument Size Guide

Several instruments are available in a range of sizes to suit children of different ages and height. Listed below are the recommended sizes of instruments for various age groups and heights. These are rough estimates and based on typical sizes for heights for ages. If you have any doubts in sizing please speak with your child’s tutor.


Ideally a player will be able to comfortably hold the end of the violin with the left hand whilst the instrument is in a playing position.

¼ size Ages 6-7

½ size Ages 7-9

¾ size Age 10

Full size Ages 11+


12″ Viola Ages 6-7

13″ Viola Ages 7-9

14″ Viola Ages 9-12

15″ Viola Ages 10-12

16″ Viola Ages 12+


¼ size 3’6″ – 4′ Tall

½ size 4′ – 4’6″ Tall

¾ size 4’6″ – 5′ Tall

Full size 5’+

Double Bass

¼ size Ages 7-9 Years

½ size Ages 9-13 Years

¾ size Ages 13+

Classical Guitar

½ size Ages 5-6

¾ size Ages 7-12

Full size Ages 12+

Other instruments – we also hire smaller models of Bassoons, Trombones, French Horns, and several other instruments. As these are often in different keys, or are more simplified versions of larger instruments, it is always worthwhile checking with a tutor first.