Tips to help your child choose an instrument
Here are a few tips to help your child choose a musical instrument
There are a number of ways to help your child choose a musical instrument. Finding an instrument thatís just right is a process of balancing practical considerations and encouraging a childís natural curiosity, but itís worth the effort.
Learning to play an instrument teaches children important skills and helps them to build confidence. Here are some tips for you to help your child choose an instrument:
Exposure Leads to Curiosity:
- Play music for your child often. Many babies and toddlers fall asleep to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. If you continue to expose them to music every day, music will have a natural place in their lives. Play music while eating, bathing or cooking, and the more often they listen the stronger their interest will be.
- Bring your child to a local concert and talk afterward about the experience. Note which sounds stood out to them, and what they liked and didnít like about what they heard. Discussing music helps children get a feel for it, and youíll start to see eyes light up as they begin to understand how different instruments - like brass and woodwind instruments - create a wide scope of sound and rhythm. Connecting with the sound that an instrument makes is a personal process, and an important part of the process to help your child choose an instrument.
Test Drive Different Types of Instruments:
- Without guidance, children often choose an instrument based on what their friends or siblings play without exploring all of their options. Ask friends and family if you may borrow an assortment of instruments to see if your child has aptitude for a particular type or a preference for a certain size or sound. Local instrument shops also allow you to try different types of instruments, but you wonít be able to take them home.
- Most elementary school music classes offer instruction on string, wood, wind, percussion and brass instruments. So before your child gets attached to the idea of learning guitar, for instance, you may want to make sure that regular instruction will be available.
- Encourage your child to experiment, but donít force an instrument on her. It may seem like a good idea to sign your child up for piano lessons, but those lessons will quickly become a dreaded chore if the piano is not the right fit.
- It may seem obvious, but itís important to keep the size and weight of an instrument in mind. Most starter instruments for children are built smaller and lighter. Remember, your child will be carrying the instrument to school a few times a week for lessons, you want to make sure they can handle it.
- A music teacher or associate at an instrument shop can suggest specific instruments for your childís body type. They look at arm and finger length to assess which instrument is a good physical match to help your child choose an instrument.
- Learning an instrument and developing the skill to play it takes practice, a lot of practice. The minimum requirement for many music teachers is a half an hour every day. Before entertaining a childís love of drums, determine if thereís space for the instrument and a regular time during the day when he will be able to practice at home.
- Most school music programs or instrument shops offer rent-to-buy options. When itís too early to determine your childís level of commitment to a particular instrument, opting to rent an instrument will take the pressure off of the decision. Switching instruments is common, especially with young children.
- Starter instruments help to warm your child up to the idea of learning music and theyíre less intimidating. Recorders, flutes, violins, drums, pianos and guitars make great starter instruments for kids.
- Try to set a regular practice schedule that will work with everyone in the household. Kids are more likely to practice often when they donít feel self conscious.
The hard work and practice children put in to learning an instrument is something they can enjoy for their entire lives. The love for music and memory of choosing an instrument is something you will always share and is worth the investment of time and care to help your child choose an instrument.