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Picking an Instrument for a Young Child

Starting music lessons at an early age has many lifelong benefits, such as development of the brain, languages, motor skills, and much more! Choosing the right instrument is a crucial first step to musical success. Being open minded to the following factors will help you choose the right instrument.

  1. Age and Instrument

There is really no set age at which a child should start learning music. Children grow, mature, and develop at different rates. Some can start as early as 3, while some should wait until they are 5. Keep in mind that regardless of age, music education is great for child development. When beginning music lessons, it is important that your child stays focused for the duration of the lesson. Try to begin with 30 minutes and if your child has no problem staying attentive for 30 minutes, perhaps push the duration to 40 minutes.

As for which instrument may be best to start with, the piano and violin are great instruments that help build a strong foundation for your child’s music education. Violins are usually manufactured in smaller sizes, which makes it a lot easier for your child to practice on. In addition, your child can learn musical phrasing with the bowing of their right hand while also playing in the right tune on a violin. Pianos have their advantages because your child would learn to play the melody and harmony at the same time. This improves their perceptual and musical skills. It also takes less muscle control to produce the right pitch because your child can simply just press the keys. Pianos make it easier to learn music theory because of how straightforward the keys are. There are black and white keys to distinguish sharps and flats. Children learn quickly that the lower-sounding notes are to the left, and the higher-sounding notes are to the right. Pianos are great instruments to start out with for young children.

  1. Body vs. Instrument

It would be helpful to select an instrument that is physically proportional to your child. For instance, if your child has small hands, it will be difficult to play a large instrument like the string bass. Children will often want to pick an instrument that seems the “coolest”. It is great that they are excited about a certain instrument, but you have to understand the importance of their physical ability. An instrument should be proportional with your child’s body, and you might have to expose them to a different instrument that might be more comfortable for them to play. A lot of instruments come in different sizes, though, so be sure to look into that.

  1. Sound

The sound that the instrument produces should be something your child likes. If your child does not like the sound of a trumpet, they would be less motivated to learn and practice that instrument. Not enjoying the sound an instrument makes can even lead to your child resenting both the instrument and music as a whole. The sound will certainly not “grow on them”. Allowing your child to pick an instrument they are interested in will encourage practicing and passion. Perhaps you can see what kind of music they enjoy listening to, whether it’s jazz, country, pop, or rock. If your child is into jazz, for example, they might enjoy piano. If your child is interested in rock music, they might enjoy drums or guitar.

There are endless benefits children can get from music education. Deciding on which instrument your child should start off learning is the first step towards their future in music. We hope this post has helped! Good luck!

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