There are so many instruments available to learn and each has their own advantages and drawbacks. Here are some things you can consider when deciding which instrument is right for your child.
We are firm believers that there is no age limit to music education. That being said, for formal lessons, you want to make sure your child is able to pay attention and sit (relatively) still for about half an hour. There’s really no point in spending your hard-earned money if your child won’t be able to follow along with the lesson. (Luckily, we offer free mini lessons to give you a chance to test how your child will do with them!)
Once you are sure your child is ready to learn, how do you decide if they should learn guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano, violin, cello, drums, voice…well the list goes on.
Most kids seem to gravitate towards guitar because it is such a common instrument in modern music, but if they are very little (3-4 years old) they may not have the hand strength to actually push down the strings. We want kids to enjoy their lessons and if they are struggling with the most basic parts they will most likely give up. Instruments like the violin are great for small hands because they come in such small sizes just right for even the tiniest players. There is also a lot of payoff with getting a lot of sound out of a long sweep of the bow versus just a pluck of a guitar string.
Another wonderful starting instrument is the piano. For a lot of children, the keys don’t seem as intimidating as strings and it’s much gentler on the finger tips. The patterns in piano seem to be easier to recognize as when the sheet music notes shift downward, you simply go to the left on the keyboard and upwards sends you to the right.
My experience is that children are ready for piano when they can read. They need to be able to track music from left to right just as they would when reading text from a book. The ideal age to begin lessons is around 8 years old. That being said younger students can be successful if they have the right balance of maturity and attention span.
–Ann Bailes (Piano Teacher)
Lately, the ukulele has been more popular with artists such as Twenty One Pilots making covers with them. It’s a pretty great instrument to start on and fairly simple to learn. If you think your child may be overwhelmed by a larger instrument, a ukulele may be a great stepping stone.
The other big (probably biggest) factor is just your child’s personal preference. If they hate an instrument, they just aren’t going to practice. If your child loves bluegrass, they may just find their heart lies in a mandolin or maybe they just really want to jam like their favorite rock stars on an electric guitar. It’s all about expression and having fun.
If you still have no clue which one is best, you can stop by our store and let your kid try a couple out with one of our teachers and see what connects!