As many know, playing an instrument at a young age can improve all-around learning, brain development, and social skills; but more specifically it can improve your child’s memory, hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, listening skills, math skills, reading and comprehension skills, auditory skills, responsibility, perseverance and discipline, self-expression, confidence, physical strength and improve stamina, and the list goes on and on. But even if you know that it will potentially improve all of these aspects of your child’s life, you may be stumped on which instrument to introduce them. Well, there are a few factors to consider when you are choosing an instrument for your child. What personality type is your child? What body type is your child? How old are they? Most importantly, what are they interested in?
“The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful Children.”
It is particularly important to consider your child’s personality when choosing an instrument. Extroverted children are often better suited to learn instruments that are normally apart of a group and are featured prominently within these groups; instruments such as flute, trumpet, guitar, etc. On the other hand, more introverted children will do better with solo instruments or once that are performed in small groups, such as the piano. Another thing to consider is the popularity of the instrument being played; more popular instruments may be taught in groups and could give children opportunities to make new friends. Popular instruments also have more teachers available, because not every teacher will be suitable for your child.
Body time seems like a bizarre thing to consider when choosing an instrument, but you must be sure that your child can support the instrument. There are certain instruments that require physical support, for example you must have long enough arms to play the trombone or be tall and big enough to support a stand-up bass. Same with something as simple as playing the guitar or piano, your child must have big enough hands to reach all the keys or form every cord on the guitar. Just as important as the playing of the instrument, your child will have to be able to transport the instrument to and from rehearsals, so try to pick something that is proportionate to them.
Of course, the age of your child matters as well. Although instruments can help the development of your child’s brain, they must have a certain level of knowledge and coordination. Toddlers and Preschoolers are best introduced with percussion. Percussion is perfect for there little hands to manipulate and will teach them coordination and rhythm. You may think it is to early, but a violin can be perfect because of its smaller size and the bow will begin to teach them coordination, as well as introduce tone and pitch. Finally, piano is a good option to teach tone and pitch, although they may start with key plucking until their hands become large enough to play cords. For early elementary students, it is suggested to start with the recorder because it requires coordination between breathing, and finger placement but is easier than other wind instruments as it has fewer holes. The viola is a good step up to children that have been practicing the violin since the basics are the same, but the viola is slightly bigger. Grades 4-5 and on are best suited for a guitar, clarinet, flute, or trumpet. Guitar is good because there are many different options, from instrument to style of music, that your little one can choose from. The clarinet, flute, or trumpet are great instruments to transition into if your child enjoyed the recorder. These are more advanced wind instruments that require more skill due to the more notes that are offered through hole placement.
Now that you know all of the things to consider when choosing an instrument for your little one and some suggested instruments that are good for their age range, remember to choose with your little one. At the end of the day, you could theoretically choose the perfect instrument for you kid but if they have no interest in it then they will never stick with it. Although music is a beneficial skill for every person, you child will get the most out of it if they are enjoying themselves.