If you start your child with the wrong instrument, they may not want to play any instrument at all. The key with children, noted Sammy Ash, is to help the child feel comfortable with the process of learning. If you can choose the best musical instruments for kids, a lifetime of happy music performance could follow. The following five factors can make a difference in choosing an instrument for your young ones.
Your Child’s Age: How Young is Too Young?
The first factor to consider is age. Under the age of two, the best musical instruments for kids are specially-made toys for babies and toddlers such as little drums, maracas, or toy pianos. Young children cannot grasp music concepts well, so just let them have fun with musical toys for children.
Dr. Cutietta says that if your child is between two and four years, understand the purpose of your child learning an instrument. They should have fun since young kids have limits in their size and stamina. The two most common instruments for children who four to six are the keyboard and violin said Sammy Ash. This is because these instruments help build the foundation of music concepts.
So, even if your child doesn’t stick with their first instrument, they will be better able to choose another later. Also, knowing the basics will make it easier for them to learn another instrument, as well. Also, most brass instruments are not compatible with young children because they require much larger lungs to push the air through all the tubing.
However, an instrument such as the cornet is small enough that young lungs can sufficiently play it. Two other good starter instruments, said Sammy Ash, are the flute and snare drum. Millions of kids start out on the flute or clarinet, and many more start out on the drum.
Instrument Size and Weight: How Big is Too Big?
Size and weight of the instrument is the second factor in picking the right instrument for your little one. According to Ruth Bonetti, annoyance and frustration can build up when kids try to learn how to play overly large instruments. She also states offering an instrument inappropriate for a child can cause tension, which leads to fatigue, frustration, and even muscle strain.
Considering weight, a child may be able to hold up a heavy instrument for a few seconds, but not for 30 minutes of practice. The low brass instruments and some larger woodwind instruments are difficult for a child because of their weight and the reach required to handle them. These instruments include the tuba, trombone, saxophone, bassoon and concert harp.
However, some instruments come in smaller sizes, especially for kids. For example, the violin comes in six sizes ranging from 4/4, which is full-size to 1/16 for children two to four years old. Finding the right size for your child is imperative since they will not enjoy an instrument if it is too big or bulky.
Sound and Sound Production: Is It Appealing to Your Child?
The third factor to keep in mind is the sound and sound production of the musical instrument. Your child is not going to put effort into playing an instrument if they do not like the sound, says Dr. Cutietta. For example, if your child loves the way a recorder sounds and enjoys covering and uncovering holes to produce music, it’s the best choice for them. The important thing is that they enjoy playing the instrument.
Is Gender a Factor in the Best Musical Instruments for Kids?
Most people don’t want to know that gender could be a factor. But the truth is, some parents and teachers push stereotypes onto children all the time. Flutes and clarinets, said Sammy Ash, are most commonly played by girls, while boys commonly play trumpets and saxophones. However, stereotypes like this are starting to fade away nowadays
This is a controversial subject and some people feel it is time to stop with stereotypes. So, let your child choose the instrument they love, no matter what others think. Many girls play the drums and boys the flute in these modern times. If you feel that stereotypes are swaying your child in a certain direction, encourage them to consider all the best instruments for kids.
Why Letting Your Child Choose is Crucial
The final factor in choosing the best musical instrument for kids is letting them decide. So, let your child make the choice when they do a trial session or learn more about musical instruments. Many music shops and schools will allow your child to come in for a trial session, too. This is when they can watch as many musical instruments as they want during a set time.
For example, Sammy Ash says his music stores across the nation will provide a one-hour session before the store opens. This way, children can go from department to department and experience what the instruments are like. Also, this is an important step if you are concerned about the cost of children’s musical instruments. After all, they can range from $9 for a recorder to over $400 for a harp.
If you can’t provide a trial session for your child, visit your local music store and just look around. Sometimes, children will see the variety of musical instruments on display and naturally gravitate toward a certain instrument. Otherwise, visiting DSO Kids will give your child a chance to listen to the various instruments that are played in the orchestra.