When Your Child Wants to Play an Instrument – What to Consider

Are you considering having your child learn to play a musical instrument? Many feel that music is an important part of a child’s development socially, emotionally, and even physically. If you are, there are some factors that come into play.

When your child wants to play an instrument, the first thing to consider is which instrument should you choose. If you have a tuned piano in your living room, then you’re at a definite advantage. Don’t expect a “Mozart” if your child is only three years old though. (On the other hand you never know, and you might have a rare genius in the making). This could be a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” scenario. In this case, let your child explore the keyboard (without being abusive to it of course) and observe if he is attracted to it after a few days or even weeks before pursuing individual lessons. If he keeps going back to the piano and shows a long term attraction to it, you will be off to a good start.

Probably the biggest successes stem from the interest initiated by kids themselves. These reasons can be far and wide.

If YOU play an instrument, you might set a good example that your kids will follow. My girls took it for granted that if their dad did it, it would be something they should try, so I didn’t have to push them to play or practice. One learned the flute and oboe, while the other played clarinet. They also saw me always exercising and followed suit. Guess what won out. I was a little disappointed but you can’t win them all. They both became captains of their high school track team and ran in college even though they excelled in music in middle school. I couldn’t complain about the outcome. At least they had the opportunity and the fun of playing organized music.

If your kid sees an old trumpet doing nothing in the attic, they might want to give it a shot. Sometimes kids see their friends learning a saxophone and are jealous and want to try that as well.

When I was about 9 years old my cousin showed me what he learned on the accordion, so I played it that week while I was visited him. I found it fun to play but had no interest in hounding my parents to buy one for me. However, five years later, what really peaked my interest was the “SOUND” of the saxophone and I knew at that moment I had to make that sound.

If you love the sound…………GOOD REASON!

According to psychologists our musical aptitudes reach their highest levels of development between ages of 9 to 10. This does not mean your ability to play. I suppose that’s why schools offer free lessons for strings in 3rd grade and wind and percussion in 5th grade.

One last thing you might consider is the size and physical make-up of each student. Some small kids want to play the trombone and at first can’t reach as far as 5th position. Others have tiny tapered fingers and have trouble covering the holes on the clarinet.

Here’s a thought. Start your kid on the recorder. It’s a legitimate instrument that Bach wrote Baroque chamber music for 400 years ago. The holes are small, no moving parts, no reeds to break, and easy to blow on. Any student would find out reasonably quickly if they enjoy producing songs and co-ordinating their fingers for that task. The recorder is also a great way to segue to any of the modern band instruments. Bonus, your initial investment will be about 15 dollars instead 500 dollars!

When your child starts, you may want to find some fun, easy, and recognizable songs for them to play. Take a look at The Yankee Collection!

One last thing, its never too late to learn a musical instrument. If you like a certain sound, and have the time and desire, pick up your choice and see where it takes you.