Because musical instruments can be expensive, new musicians who are enrolled in elementary schools, junior high schools, or high schools that loan out equipment may benefit by borrowing from the school to get started with playing.
Those that are not enrolled in any educational system would do well to take private lessons and learn about different purchasing options. A few lessons are worthwhile even if it is only to get a recommendation for a good instrument shop. Remember: a shop is only as good as the person who runs it. A good recommendation goes a long way. Also, an instructor can offer a realistic price range and suggest brands to consider.
The instructor may also be able to suggest a rental store. Renting an instrument is a good idea because it allows the musician to develop an ear for what kind of tone he or she desires before making a major purchase. For young students it can take years to develop a sense of pitch and understand how a good tone should sound. Renting also makes sense if the student is not sure which device he or she would like to play. For example, some people start out with a brass option and then decide they would like to switch to a woodwind once they play in an ensemble.