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Helping Your Child Choose The Right Instrument

Choosing the right instrument for your child can be life-changing. A relationship with music has proven to accelerate brain development while also providing a healthy therapeutic outlet they can always turn to. Like any avenue of creativity, it all begins the moment they find an instrument to nurture and highlight their talent.

Let’s go over some key points to keep in mind when assisting your child with instrument selection:

 

  • Age
  • If your child is younger than six years old, it’s often recommended to begin on a foundational instrument such as the piano or violin. The piano allows a child to play both melody and harmony simultaneously, teaching perceptual and logical skills as well as musical theory skills. The violin can be manufactured in small sizes and is preferable over a guitar as it lacks frets or keys, allowing the child to learn how to play in tune and learn musical phrasing through focusing solely on hand movements and sounds produced. That way if they later choose to pursue other instruments, they can apply the same fundamentals to transition and excel at a smoother pace. Drums and percussion are also often fun instruments that can help teach your child rhythm, especially if they do not have the dexterity yet for the piano or violin.

    As your child gets older and explore more instruments, it’s important to make sure your child has the physical attributes necessary to succeed and lift such brass, woodwind or string instruments. One test of matching a child to an instrument should be to see whether your child enjoys holding a certain instrument or if it overpowers them and is too much of a challenge. Sometimes a desire to play a certain instrument is so strong, children overlook their physical limitations and end up developing wrong playing techniques or altogether resenting their instrument.

     

  • Instrument Effectiveness
  • If your child doesn’t like the sound of an oboe, trumpet, or any other instrument, or if they don’t like blowing into a horn or reed, then it makes sense that one of those instruments may not be the best fit for them. These are important things to take into consideration because it can potentially hinder a child’s will to continue music instead of encouraging it. This can come up at times during school when teachers or bandleaders might encourage your child to play an instrument they don’t like because the school or organization doesn’t need another drum or trumpet or guitar, they need a bassoon or tuba. A related point to this is that children will often choose the instrument they think is the coolest, even if that instrument might be a bad fit. Sometimes it may work out, but other times it might not.


        There is nothing more satisfying, either as a musician or as a parent, to be able to see progress with playing an instrument and genuinely enjoy the process as well. Being able to achieve this usually guarantees future success as a child grows with their instrument of choice. Many current musicians often reminisce about the first time they picked up something and played, and starting your child’s musical development off the right way can lead to a lifetime of achievement.

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