As parents, you often come across articles and researches on how introducing music to your toddlers at an early stage will aid brain development, that taking music lessons improves academic skills, develops physical skills, cultivates social skills, refines discipline and patience, boosts self-esteem, introduces children to other cultures…. And the list goes on. You also see how your child loves singing at home, or drawn towards a specific instrument. But when it comes to signing up for a music course, what is the right instrument for your child?
The right instrument is the one that your child likes and feels most comfortable with. Ultimately, the instrument of choice depends on a number of factors.
How does your child feel about music in general? Does your child like the way an instrument sounds and feels? Is the instrument too challenging/not challenging enough? Is the teacher engaging and inspiring? Does your child’s temperament match the instrument? Can you afford the instrument and the maintenance that comes with it? As a parent, do you like the sound enough to listen to your child practice it for hours at home? Is your child specifically interested in a particular music style?
Here are some tips on finding the best musical instrument for your future musician in-the-making:
You can learn an instrument at any age. Of course, this is tricky if your child is never exposed to one. For younger toddlers, it would be good to introduce them to music with a general musical course, normally in group settings, which provides a platform that introduces multiple instruments and different exploration methods.
The right physical characteristics is important. Can your child support the weight of the instrument, hold it up long enough at the right posture to practice effectively? Are the hands large enough to stretch out for the notes? For example, for those with sensitive and weaker fingers, the piano which doesn’t require pressing would be a wise choice. String instruments come in various sizes hence physical build is not a problem. Otherwise, learning the drums require a certain height to sustain the pedals. As for brass and woodwinds, you need to have a good amount of lung capacity to produce the sound – vocal lessons would be a good introduction.
Character and Personality
Practicing an instrument can be quite a solitary activity. Hence, if your child is very outgoing, the practice process might be a tedious burden to their daily routine and take away their interest. Therefore, it would be wise to choose a music school which offers regular group activities, such as holiday camps and performing opportunities, where they can play in groups and share what they have learnt from their individual lessons.
Most parents will take into account what is reasonably affordable when signing up an instrumental course for their children. Most student violins and guitars are relatively cheap, although you might consider rental. For cello, rental is often a good choice, especially if your child is not fully grown to take up the full size instrument. For pianos, you have a vast variety to chose from new, second-hand and even rental!
On specific instruments comparison:
The piano is the most common instrument. It is also the easiest instrument to learn and the hardest to master. This is also why most children are first introduced to the piano. Playing the piano doesn’t require lots of energy or require the child to learn how to hold the instrument. A good platform to train hands and eyes coordination, fast reading and also to develop stronger fingers.
Violin and Cello
A child with perfect pitch or an adequate sense of pitch will get on easier with the violin. This is more complicated than the piano and a good amount of repetitive practicing is needed at the early stage before the child can produce some sounds. Suitable for children who are not used to reading multiple lines.
Guitar and Ukulele
A good instrument for those who love to sing. If your child is outgoing and loves mingling in groups, the guitar or ukulele is a good instrument to consider. It is also less challenging than the violin or cello when it comes to producing the correct pitch with the left hand and mastering the right hand technique.
The most important questions, of course, is – does your child want to play an instrument? At the end of the day, it is their own motivation that will lead to true enjoyment and continuing to perform.
And although music lessons might not transform them into the next Mozart or Yoyo-Ma, a good dose of music will definitely do good to their mathematical skills, practice good manners and a better team player!
Making music is spontaneous – at Aureus Academy, our methods and approaches are spontaneous. Music is about dedication – at Aureus our team is guaranteed 100% dedication as we are the only school in town with full-time music educators and music-savvy administrators.