We hire instruments to all children and schools in Dorset at a very low cost. You can hire a wide range of instruments from as little as £26 per year.

Most instruments are in stock and are available for collection. We normally arrange collections by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from our store in Blandford.

You can rest assured they'll be in top condition, as our specialist technician Dave Gassmann cares for our instruments to ensure their quality.

Instruments are hired out on an annual basis from the month of hire (we're unable to refund your hire cost if you return your instrument before the end of the hire period).

Hire an instrument from DMS

Complete our instrument hire request form to hire an instrument from us.

We'll contact you to confirm availability and arrange an appointment for you to collect the instrument (this will usually be on a Tuesday or Wednesday).

Collect your instrument from the Music Service offices in Blandford.

Cost of hiring an instrument 

Find more information on the availability and cost of instrument hire on our instrument hire cost page.

Help with instrument hire fees

We can offer financial help of up to 50% for:

  • our instrument tuition
  • our instrument hire
  • county ensemble membership fees

You could get help if your child meets all of the following criteria:

  • is eligible for free school meals
  • attends a Dorset school or academy
  • is having instrument tuition in a group or a pair
  • is learning one instrument

Find out about help with music fees from Dorset Music Service and how to apply.

Instrument sizes

This section is intended to give you a rough idea of the size of instrument your child will require. Please note that this is a rough guide only.

Sizing violins and violas

How to measure: with your child's arm fully extended and parallel to the floor, measure in centimetres from the neck to the middle of the palm.

Size of instrument Arm measurement Average age of child
1/4 violin 47 to 51cm 6 to 7
1/2 violin 52 to 56cm 7 to 8
3/4 violin 57 to 60cm 9 to 11
4/4 violin more than 60cm 11 to 13 and over
14" viola 59 to 63cm  N/A

Sizing cellos and double basses

The chart below shows approximate sizing by age.

Size of Instrument Age of Child
1/4 cello 6 to 8
1/2 cello 8 to 10
3/4 cello 10 to 12
1/4 double bass 7 to 9
1/2 double bass 9 to 13

Sizing guitars

The chart below shows approximate sizing by height and age.

Guitar size Height of child Age of child
1/4 guitar 3'3" to 3'9" 4 to 6
1/2 guitar 3'10" to 4'5" 5 to 8
3/4 guitar 4'6" to 4'11" 8 to 11
Full size guitar 5' and over 11 and over

Flute types

Smaller, beginner flute players, usually up to the age of around 9 to 10, can sometimes benefit from a curved head joint. This reduces the stretch that little arms have to make!

Buying a musical instrument 

Although we don't sell instruments, our team or experienced and qualified staff are always happy to offer advice and guidance on the correct, most suitable instrument for you to buy.

We're not able to recommend any specific retailers of musical instruments.

Save the cost of VAT through the assisted instrument purchase scheme for instruments

This is a scheme where a school can buy an instrument on your behalf and save you the cost of the VAT. Specific conditions have to be met so please contact your child's school for details.

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