Busy parents have pondered this question while being unaware of the various factors that could influence their child’s enjoyment and stickability to a musical instrument.
Which musical instrument should I choose?
This comprehensive guide will assist you in making the right decisions about which musical instrument is right for you and your child.
Things to consider when looking for a musical instrument:
Your own sanity and that of your neighbours. They won’t thank you if you choose something loud or annoying, like…bagpipes.
Size of child:
Slight children will have problems with big instruments. Large instruments may be difficult for them to master due to strength required to move the parts.
Do they have the emotional maturity to start learning a musical instrument? The Suzuki method recommends as young as 3 or 4 to start learning, but other methods recommend 5 or 6 years old. If your child has started other extra-curricular activities and is coping well, they are ready to start a musical instrument.
Size of instrument:
Transportation issues need to be considered. Is there enough room in your vehicle, can the child comfortably carry the instrument to and from lessons? (It is NOT acceptable to use tie down straps on the rear of the vehicle to carry a tuba)!
Teacher availability in your area:
Where is the music teacher located? Some teachers will come to your house. If your child is a beginner, speak to the music department at your nearest university. Music students are always looking for teaching opportunities and can be more flexible with your time schedule.
What’s your child ideal learning style? Do they work better one on one, or in a group?
Offered in School:
Most schools have bands, orchestras, choirs and ensembles. Playing on an instrument that offers an opportunity to join these groups could be an ongoing motivating factor that encourages your child to practice.
Have you thought about the “cool factor?” Imagine convincing your child that piano accordion was the instrument they were going to learn. (Sorry to all the piano accordion lovers). Do you think they would find it cool and want to play?
Cost of instrument and other equipment required to play:
What’s your budget? Put your hand up if you have a dusty guitar or organ in the spare bedroom. Secondhand or renting instruments are options to explore when you want to confirm your child will commit to the musical instrument. You can rent from schools and music stores.
Don’t cross singing off your list:
It’s easily transportable, all children enjoy it and it’s a great way to learn music theory. Your child could join a choir, performance theatre studio, or be a singer in a band. The possibilities are endless.
An alternative way of choosing
When I was young my mother played the orchestral version of Peter and the Wolf and asked me to pick the sound I liked. It was then that I fell in love with the clarinet. I highly recommend you do the same.
Play your children different kinds of music. Ask them to close their eyes and pick 3 instruments they like listening too. One of those instruments named will be the one they want to play, and hopefully fits your expectations. Go to your local music store, touch the instruments and get someone to play them. Talk about the pros and cons of each instrument presented.
Choose wisely, and you won’t regret the thousands of dollars spent on lessons and equipment to master a musical instrument.