Muscial Instrument Insurance

Musical Instrument Insurance

Most people assume that their musical instrument will be covered under their household insurance or even their travel insurance and that they don’t have to worry about it too much.

broken violin

However this is not always the case and there are a number of issues to take into consideration.


  1. Do you play your instrument away from your home? Do you take it to school or play in an Orchestra? Some household policies do not cover possessions away from the home, so the moment you take your instrument out of the house, you are not covered if it is stolen, lost or damaged.
  2. Is the instrument valuable? Even if you do have cover outside the home, there are normally policy limits and conditions of cover. If you own a really valuable instrument (some violins for instance can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds) see Stradivarius it may be too expensive for a standard household insurance.
  3. Do you play your instrument for a living? Are you part of an orchestra or band? Most household policies will exclude items if they are used as part of a profession, so again your musical instrument would not be insured.
  4. Can you get your instrument replaced if it breaks down? When you have had time to think about the answers to these question, it will become apparent that if you are a serious musician or DJ, then specialist musical instrument insurance is something that you will need to give serious consideration to.

There are several specialist companies offering instrument insurance. One particular company that speclialises in this area, has three policies available, musicguard, Insurance for musicians and their instruments, Orchestralguard, Insurance for Orchestral Musicians and their instruments and DJguard an insurance policy for DJ’s and their equipment.

Music Guard


This policy covers accidental damage, theft (including from a vehicle) or loss and most importantly your instrument against failure due to a mechanical, constructional or electronic fault.

The cover is new for old and you can choose from cover at home, UK, Europe and or Worldwide.

The policy includes public liability insurance and the hiring of a replacement instrument whilst yours is repaired or replaced.

orchestral guard


The cover is almost identical to that of musicguard, but of course caters for a whole orchestra. Although this can be as few as four people, it is much more cost effective to cover a whole band and the cost savings can be quite dramatic.



As a DJ you will be mixing with the general public in close quarters and so having adequate public liability insurance is important. This policy provides up to £2 million as standard with the option to increase to £5 million.

sound mixer
Your DJ equipment and records or CD’s are covered against accidental loss, damage or theft, including from a vehicle and the cover is new for old, with equipment hire, whilst yours is being repaired or replaced.

This is just one of several specialist Insurance companies who offer this type of policy, you can also find more information on this insurance website, so you can make a balanced decision on which insurance route to take.

Thistle Insurance Services, the company behind these policies have been providing specialist insurance since 1997. Over that time they have managed to insure over £60 million of musical instruments and equipment for thousands of musicians.

Baroque Music

A particular favourite period of mine from 1600 – about 1750 and saw the emergence of some of our greatest musicians and composers.

The 17th Century saw some great advances in technology and travel. Foreign trade and colonization brought us into direct contact with new parts of the world that were previously unknown. In turn artistic culture was fed by these new discoveries and breathed new life into an area long controlled by the church and nobility.

Many of the well known composers in the Baroque period came from Europe, Italy and Germany in particular. Monteverdi, Corelli and Vivaldi from Italy and the infamous Bach and Handel from Germany.

It is believed many of the types of baroque music of which we are familiar with today originated from Italy. Types like the cantata, concerto, sonata, oratorio and opera all started in Italy, although different countries added their own twists bringing the different styles we know today. Musicians were able to travel all over Europe for the first time with relative ease and listened to each others compositions

Today we think of musicians and composers as artists. They make a living by selling tickets for concerts or recordings of their songs (composers get paid every time their compositions are played) In the Baroque period it was very different. A composer only earned a living if they were lucky enough to have a patron. This was normally the nobility, political party or religious institution. Therefore to some extent the composer or musician was dictated to by their patron. It is probably safe to assume for example that Bach wrote the amount of cantatas he did, because that was what was demanded by the Church that employed him.


The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the cantata as:
cantata, (from Italian cantare, “to sing”), originally, a musical composition intended to be sung, as opposed to a sonata, a composition played instrumentally; now, loosely, any work for voices and instruments.
The word cantata first appeared in the Italian composer Alessandro Grandi’s Cantade et arie a voce sola (Cantatas and Arias for Solo Voice; published 1620–29). There were precursors of the cantata in earlier strophic arias (in which the melody for each strophe, or stanza, was varied over a constant bass) and such earlier vocal works of chamber proportion as the late madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi.



The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the sonata as:

sonata, type of musical composition, usually for a solo instrument or a small instrumental ensemble, that typically consists of two to four movements, or sections, each in a related key but with a unique musical character.

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The encyclopaedia Britannica describes the oratorio as:

oratorio, a large-scale musical composition on a sacred or semi sacred subject, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. An oratorio’s text is usually based on scripture, and the narration necessary to move from scene to scene is supplied by recitatives sung by various voices to prepare the way for airs and choruses. A basically dramatic method is used in all successful oratorios, though they may or may not be produced with theatrical action. The oratorio is not intended for liturgical use, and it may be performed in both churches and concert halls. The principal schools of oratorios are the Italian, essentially a form of religious opera; the German, developed from treatment of the Passion story; and the English, synthesized by the composer George Frideric Handel from several forms. The term oratorio derives from the oratory of the Roman church in which, in the mid-16th century, St. Philip Neri instituted moral musical entertainments, which were divided by a sermon, hence the two-act form common in early Italian oratorio.

opera, a staged drama set to music in its entirety, made up of vocal pieces with instrumental accompaniment and usually with orchestral overtures and interludes. In some operas the music is continuous throughout an act; in others it is broken up into discrete pieces, or “numbers,” separated either by recitative (a dramatic type of singing that approaches speech) or by spoken dialogue. This article focuses on opera in the Western tradition. For an overview of opera and operalike traditions in Asia (particularly in China), see the appropriate sections of Chinese music, Japanese music, South Asian arts, and Southeast Asian arts; see also short entries on specific forms of Chinese opera, such as chuanqi, jingxi, kunqu, and nanxi.

Medieval Music

History of Medieval Music

A favourite historical period of mine is the Medieval approx 500 – 1440. It is no co-incidence that the music of this time is of particular interest.

There were surprisingly lots of different instruments used during this time. The instruments can be sorted into three distinct categories.


The Harp – The medieval harp was the favourite instrument of the troubadour, being small enough to be held on the players lap and normally had between 7 and 25 strings made from gut, hair as well as wire.

The Fiddle – (or Fydell) Medieval fiddles came in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and was plucked and latterly bowed. The fiddle had 3- 5 strings. The fiddle was played on its own and also in combination with the harp and percussion instruments.

The Psaltery – This was a cross between a harp and guitar. Early versions were simply a wooden board with gut stretched between pegs. The strings were plucked either with fingers or a plectra. The instrument would have been played on the lap or a table.

The Dulcimer – very similar to the psaltery, but the strings are beaten with two small hammers.

The Hurdy-Gurdy – A four stringed fiddle. The bowing action of the fiddle is replaced by a wheel turned by a handle. Keys pressed against the strings produced different pitches.
The Viol – A fairly large bowed string instrument typically 30 – 35 inches in length. Early instruments were carved from a single block of wood and had three strings, probably the precursor to the modern cello.

Wind Musical Instruments

The Flute – Very similar to our modern flutes, the medieval instrument was a slender tube closed at one end and an opening at the other across which the breath is blown. Pitch changes are made by closing over holes along the pipe

The Trumpet – a long instrument made of metal tube ending in a bell shape. The medieval trumpet had no valves and therefore the sounds were limited to what the mouth could achieve on the mouthpiece. You often see these on television playing a fanfare or to announce a jousting tournament

The Shawn– made of wood a bit like a recorder, except played with a double reed. It had seven finger holes and one thumb hole and was likely to have been invented in Asia and introduced to Europe during the crusades.

The Recorder– Probably one of the world’s oldest instruments and one that survives today. Made of bored wood and having seven finger holes and a thumb hole. Blown through a hole at the top, it gave a much softer sound than the Shawn and came in a variety of sizes, the larger the recorder the deeper the sound.

The Gem shorn – This is a medieval flute made from animal horn. The shape and therefore the sound was determined naturally. It has a soft haunting sound, but fell out of use by the end of the medieval period


The Drum – originally made of a hollow tree trunk and covered with stretched animal skins, the drum was beaten by hand, stick or small mallet. They existed in a variety of sizes .

The Tabor – This was a small drum and normally played at the same time as a pipe and by the same person

Cymbals – pretty much as we know them today, made of concave metal plates

The Tambourine or Timbrel – a wood instrument with metal discs attached

Generally there were two types of medieval musicians. Most people know the term minstrel. These were servants employed specifically as court musicians. They often created their own songs or ballads and sang about legends or myths, romance and love, with tales of heroic deeds.
Eventually they were replaced by Troubadours who were travelling musicians. They travelled from village to village singing about chivalrous deeds, romance and love. Because they travelled around and sang for kings and queens and the nobility as well as common people, they were able to deliver news and gossip that they picked up on the way.

A History of Music

In all of recorded history there has been references to music amongst all known cultures, from the oldest, probably tapping of different lengths of wood on stone, to the current complex computer generated sounds. It is conceivable that music in some form or other could be 50,000 years old.

The oldest instruments consisted of pipes (double pipes such as those used by the Greeks ), basic flutes, ancient bagpipes and simple stringed instruments, invented by Western India. The oldest known written song was recorded over 4000 years ago.pipes

Why was music invented? We will never really ever know the answer to that question, however there are various theories. For example Charles Darwin believed that music was a sexual lure or used in mating rituals. Other academics think that it was a social link, a way to bring early man into a closer knit community

chris loersch a senior research associate in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, likes that idea, and he’s done research to try and prove it. He and Nathan Arbuckle, from the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, UOIT designed a series of studies to bolster it.

“This hypothesis centres’ on music’s unique ability to influence the mood and behaviour of many people at once,” they write, “helping to mold individual beings into a coordinated group.” They cite the power of military music, music played at sports games, and “ritualized drumming” as examples.military band

Is music a sexual lure. Maybe in the early days this wasn’t the case, but you only have to look at successful bands over the years, playing to thousands of fans. This is power to control a large group of people and power is attractive to the opposite sex. Beatle mania was a classic example. There is plenty of television footage of screaming fans everywhere they went. Now tell me music isn’t a sexual lure.beatles

I think music was also created to heal. In the Chinese language the word medicine yao comes from the word for music yue. I believe beautiful music can change emotions and create pure happiness. Musical frequencies have been shown to affect people’s feelings as certain resonances relate to different movements of the body, a similar effect to that of acupuncture. Ancient Chinese music is very slow and calm and almost meditative, providing the listener a spiritual journey and a peaceful soul. I know I listen to different types of music depending on what mood I am in, I listen to relaxation tapes to relax. I often have jazz or lounge music on in the background when I am working as it seems to calm me and get my creative juices flowing.

chinese music

Music has also developed into a way to entertain. In medieval times, travelling groups (minstrels, troubadours) told stories about love, life and romance. Some funny and some heroic. These songs were written down as we have historical records, but many were taught and passed from generation to generation . The spread of Christianity in the early medieval period also let to a popularity of songs and hymns that just used the human voice. Later it was the renaissance and baroque periodsminstrels

The history of music really is a complex and emotional subject, but nonetheless a fascinating one. I hope you enjoy the information on this website, please keep checking back for more updates.