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Choosing the best instrument for your child to learn

Updated on April 15, 2016
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Your young ten-year-old may have begged you to let him take up electric guitar lessons. While you love his enthusiasm, a guitar may not be the right instrument for him.

He may toy around with it for a while, then lose interest in it. Of course, you do not want to lose his engagement or your investment.

You must have a million questions on your mind. How would you pick the right instrument for him? When is it the right time for him to start lessons?


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How music benefits children

Do you want to give your child the edge he deserves? Music does just that. It is a universal language for everyone to embrace and enjoy. Its benefits for children are boundless.

1. Music boosts cognition

Music increases a child's brain power. According to countless studies, there is a link between music and academic achievement. Music specialist Meredith Levande of MonkeyMonkeyMusic.com verifies this. She states that it stimulates reading, emotional development, and math.

It also improves a child's memory. Music develops different areas of the brain. According to Miami Symphony Orchestra Maestro Eduardo Marturet, it boosts cognition.

2. It spurs social development

Music promotes a child's social development. A child learns valuable life skills. As a band member, he will realize how to nurture interpersonal relationships and empathy. Your child will understand the value of learning to work in harmony with others.

3. It raises confidence

Music allows a child to develop a skill on his own. It gives his confidence a leg up as he becomes better at it.

4. Learning music produces patience

Music teaches children how to cope with waiting. They will become indoctrinated into the school of hard knocks. Children discover that there is no way to learn a skill overnight.

5. It helps them to connect

Music gives a child direction and purpose. It is a way for them to unwind and relieve themselves, at least for a while, from life's worries. It is a better outlet for frustration than excessive eating or anger.

6. It instills discipline

Learning to play an instrument will show a child the need to set routines and targets. He will learn that an hour of practice a day gets him to where he wants to go.

7. Music helps children to express themselves.

Music is a form of self-expression. A child finds ways to bring out his personality as he plays the piano.

8. Music lessons boost creativity
Strumming a guitar brings out your young one's creative bent. He will learn different ways to enliven it.

9. Learning is constant.

There are countless ways to play an instrument. Your child will relish discovering new techniques, daily, as he fiddles with the violin.

When to start music lessons


Parents get excited when they find out that their children have musical inclinations. They become eager beavers when their kids start on their musical journeys.

When a child can begin lessons depends on whether he has the motivation to start them. It is a gargantuan task getting kids who hate doing so learn an instrument.

Then, there is the fun factor. Educational psychologists all suggest that learning takes place when people enjoy the process.

Music lessons can start anytime, as long as the child shows interest in them.


Which instrument do you think is suitable for your child?

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Preparing your child for music lessons

Now that you have piqued your young one's interest in music, it is time to ignite it.

1. Buy an instrument

The step, of course, is to buy an instrument. It is wiser to invest in a second-hand tool that your child can make mistakes on.

2. Put it a part of the house that is not lonely, but does not have distractions.

Put it where you can see him practice, but where he will not give in to phone calls from friends.

3. Keep the instrument tuned

Tune your music apparatus often. Hearing a novice playing does grate on the ears.

4. Have it in the house for a while before your child begins lessons.

Allow your child to get used to his new toy. He will grow to love it if he can tinker with it first.

5. Encourage him to play with the instrument

Let your child make mistakes. Nothing puts a person off learning more than a sharp scolding.

6. Make sure that your child knows the alphabet

The musical scale is different from the alphabet. There is no H on a scale. Make sure that your child knows how to spot the differences between them.


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Steps for picking the right instrument

You may become deaf from complaints if you choose the wrong tool for your child to learn. You know that you have done this if your child resists practice.

If you do not have the musical inclinations to select one, a few pointers will get you started.

1. Early start

Get your child engaged with music first. Clapping, singing and movement games will develop his aural, rhythmic and coordination skills.

2. Size

You may find your child's groans louder than the sounds of practice if his instrument is too big. Adult instruments are not meant for a child's fingers.

A small child may not be able to manage a baritone saxophone. The alto instrument may suit him better. It is wise to wait till he is older before he tries his hand at the tuba, bassoon or cello, which are bulky. Children of about age ten should be able to manage brass devices.

3. Dental checks

Your child needs to have a good set of teeth before playing brass or woodwind instruments. If your child wears braces, he should wait until after his dentist gives him the go ahead to remove them.

The device you pick will decide whether your child's musical path will be a smooth or rocky one. But bear these pointers in mind, and you will not make the wrong choice.

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    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 13 months ago from the USA

      I started playing piano at age 3. It was in the house from birth, and I wanted to "show up" my brother - who was two years older and struggling with the lessons my Mother was trying to give him. Every child will be unique. Thank you for starting the discussion. Music is a gift, that will continue to enrich your life until the end of your days.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 13 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A piano is the answer always liked to play the keyboard.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 13 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub!

      You have rightly pointed out about the benefits of musical instruments for children.

      When I was younger I learnt to play Guitar and Sitar. My children also were trained in musical instruments such as Harmonium, Tabla and Guitar.

      It helps children to be creative, self confident and they also learn to be social. Music is a kind of meditation and thus it helps the child to have control over his behaviour and be disciplined.

      Thank you for sharing!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 13 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I wanted to play the trumpet in grade school, but my father said that I could only play the piano or violin, which was not offered for lessons. I later got a guitar and enjoyed that for many years. I finally got to play the trumpet in high school, as well as the snare drum and tympani.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 9 months ago from Singapore

      Great advice. Might I add that parents should be prepared too that kids might wanna change instrument after a few months of listens, and so shouldn't be too harsh about it. I was lucky that I loved (and continue to love) the very first instrument I played. Some friends though, ended up loathing what they felt they were forced to learn. That's so sad.

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