What is a Step Up Instrument?

Are you renting your first instrument and unsure about what your options are? Curious about upgrading to pursue your musical goals? When looking to rent or purchase an instrument, people are often left with a variety of questions. We get it! All of the options can be overwhelming.

The most confusing level of instrument is almost always intermediate horns. What are they for? Who are they for? Should I get one, or am I better off with something else? These are just a few questions that we often see here at rentmyinstrument.com, and we want to help!

What is a Beginner Instrument?

In order to better understand what any step up instrument is, it’s good to understand what a beginner instrument is.

Instruments built for beginning players, such as the BAC Apprentice Series and the Jupiter 700 Series, are normally made out of less expensive materials, which makes taking the starting steps towards you or your student becoming a musician much easier. This also makes them a much more affordable option to begin your musical journey.

The materials for these instruments also tend to be more durable. This is good for younger beginning students that haven’t learned how to properly hold, assemble, and maintain a healthy working instrument.

Lastly, beginner instruments are the most simple and make ease of use much better for students who are just starting out.

Intermediate and Professional Instruments

Now that we’ve gone over what beginner instruments are, we can talk about the part you’re probably here for: step up instruments.

Intermediate Instruments

Intermediate instruments, like the BAC Select Series and Jupiter 1100 Series (1000 for C Flute, are the perfect stepping stone for players that are looking for an upgrade. These instruments bridge the gap between beginner and professional, offering heightened quality without wreaking havoc on your wallet.

Some features of intermediate instruments include:

  • Better material quality
  • Higher attention to manufacturing details
  • Improved tonal characteristics
  • Improved intonation
  • Bonus features such as extra keys or levers to allow more versatility for more experienced music players
  • Mid-range cost

Professional Instruments

Professional level instruments are the highest level of mass manufactured instruments. Good examples of these are the BAC Handcraft Series, and Jupiter XO Line. Some players may choose to go beyond this to seek out custom instruments, which can be modified to each player’s specific wants and needs. Pro instruments hold all of the same advantages as intermediate horns, but take it to a higher level. Here you can really take the time to find the exact “voice” you are looking to create in your performances. These instruments are crafted from the best materials, and have the most attention paid to the manufacturing process; making sure that the measurements, dimensions, and features, are all set up for optimal performance. Because of these factors, it’s understandable that pro horns have the best tone and quality, accompanied by the highest price point.

What is the right instrument for me?

Whether it is for you, your child, or a student of yours, the right instrument depends mainly on two factors: budget and goals.


Starting on a beginner instrument and stepping up to an intermediate or professional level horn later is always a safe decision. When you are ready to step up it is entirely up to you and your goals [internal to goals section below]. If you can afford a professional horn and want all of the extra features of a top of the line instrument, then go for it! The rentmyinstrument.com website is your oyster! If you don’t need all of the bells and whistles of a pro model, or you’re feeling unsure about spending the money and want to start developing your own personal sound, intermediate models are an exceptional option for you, especially if you are using the rent to own option!


Think about what your goals are as a musician. Do you want to play in the marching band? Do you want to try out for state or regional bands and competitions? Are you considering studying music in college? These are all good questions to ask yourself when trying to determine which level of instrument is right for you.

If you plan on playing in your school’s marching band it is best to play on a beginner level instrument for this most often because of the durability of these instruments and you’re likely to be exposed to the elements, and when you add other band members and color guard members to the mix, accidents are bound to happen.

If you are interested in trying out for state and regional bands and competitions, it may be a good time for you to step up. Having an intermediate or professional horn can give you a competitive edge, by allowing you to further hone your skills.

If you’re wanting to be a music major it would be a good idea to look into professional horns. Be sure to give yourself time to adjust to your new instrument before starting your path to become a professional educator or performer.

If making music is a hobby of yours we would recommend having an intermediate instrument, but this all varies on what you are playing and how serious you choose to take it.

What do I do now?

When it comes to choosing the right instrument, it’s really about what feels good to you and makes you want to get that practice time in! Start exploring your options today by browsing http://www.rentmyinstrument.com/instruments.

You can also learn more about our great rent to own program, as well as our convenient maintenance program at https://www.rentmyinstrument.com/how-it-works.

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