By Jennifer Hughes knowyourinstrument.com
Learning to play a musical instrument benefits children in many ways, from supplementing brain development to improving social skills. If you want to get your child started on a music-filled path, the first big step is choosing the right instrument for them.
If your child has expressed interest in playing a particular instrument like the piano or acoustic guitar, you can let them try it out in a music store or a music school that offers trials to see if they will like it. If not, you can get your child started with instruments that are great for beginners. These introductory instruments are suited for children and are fantastic stepping-stones for moving on to other instruments in the future.
Piano or Keyboard
Playing the piano or keyboard gives children a good foundation for learning music. Different elements of music such as rhythm, harmony and melody come together in piano and offer learners a wealth of musical knowledge that they can use when they learn other instruments. For instance, playing the piano gives children a visual representation of music, allowing them to understand music theory better.
Another popular introductory instrument for children is the guitar because it’s easy to play and is more affordable and portable than a piano. Many teachers recommend getting a nylon-string guitar for children because the strings are easier on the fingers. Electric guitars for children are also a good choice because they don’t require as much strength to play as steel-string acoustic guitars.
The compact-sized ukulele remains to be a popular instrument for kids because of its small size and ease of playing. It only has four strings too and it’s very easy to learn for people of all ages. You may want to pick it up yourself!
The recorder is one of the easiest woodwind instruments to learn, and many children learn to play it before moving on to instruments that use a similar fingering system, such as the flute or the clarinet. Recorders are extremely portable and affordable too.
Children as young as 3 years of age can start learning to play the violin because it also comes in small sizes. Kids with small hands would be able to handle the instrument easily and comfortably. Some children find it easier to learn to play the violin because it doesn’t have frets to think about, allowing them to focus on the sounds the instrument produces. Children learning to play this instrument learn the basics in pitch and tone along with coordination and musical phrasing.
When choosing the right instrument for a child, it’s worthwhile to consider two important factors:
● Physical strength and compatibility – make sure the instrument is suited for the child’s body size and physical ability to make sure they are comfortable when playing.
● How the child likes the sound and how it’s produced – if the child likes how an instrument sounds and how the instrument is played to produce that sound, then it would be a good choice for a first instrument. However, if the child doesn’t like the sound or the way the sound is made (blowing, plucking, bowing, etc.) then they may not enjoy learning and may grow to resent the instrument.
To determine the instrument your child may like and would be a good fit, it would be a good idea to watch videos of people (kids especially) playing these instruments. Your child will then have a better idea of how an instrument sounds like and how it is played. Once he or she shows marked interest in a particular instrument, or tells you what their favorite is, then that would be the obvious choice.