I began taking violin lessons last year. I walked into Strad Violin not knowing diddly about violins. They set me up with a nice rental instrument and a schedule of weekly lessons that are all reasonably priced. The employees are all musicians that know their business very well and are always willing to spend that little extra minute giving tips and pointing out ways to improve my playing experience. There has never been any pressure to buy high-end expensive equipment or take more lessons or anything like that. There are times when I can't make a lesson and, although they don't have to, they have always revised the schedule to give me make-up time on another day. The rental fee I'm paying goes into an ""account"" that I can use later to upgrade or buy my own instrument. My teacher is the sweetest, most patient person I've ever met and is always encouraging, never condescending. She is probably the reason I was able to stick with it this long. Overall, I am extremely happy to have walked into Strad Violin in the beginning. I highly recommend them.
Pros: Employees are musicians, student friendly, reasonable prices, sympathetic to my needs.
Cons: They won't let me rent living space there.