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Musical Instruments for Children - That Will Keep Parents Sane
That parents will love
As a child and after months of badgering, I was lucky enough to be given an acoustic guitar by my parents. Needless to say that little did I realise that playing a guitar wasn't just about plucking the strings and 'Stairway To Heaven' would just magically be produced. Very quickly it dawned on me that it would take an awful lot of practice for my stubby little 8yo fingers to be able to even play the most basic of tunes.
Now I am the first to admit that I have no musical talent what-so-ever! This knowledge has been gained by endless last places in Karaoke contests and pleas from friends to stop making a racket whenever I am within tinkling distance of a piano. And what happened to the guitar? I still have it, in almost pristine condition, decades after I first polluted the airwaves with my random strumming.
Can I play it? No. What happened you ask? Well in what I can say must be a common occurrence throughout the world, my incessant attempts to play the chords eventually wore down my parents and step-brother tutor and the guitar disappeared from my room to be placed somewhere more safe. Not that I protested too much as even at such a young age I realised that a man should know his limitations, and one of mine was that I was never going to be Keith Richards.
However, my recent attempts to try and resurrect my musical career (mid life crisis anyone?) have fallen on not quite so deaf ears, resulting in banishment from the flat I share with my very understanding, daughter of a piano teacher, partner. What I need is a way to be able to practice (or mutilate, depending on your point of view) without disturbing both her and everyone human and animal within 500 yards.
This was further reinforced recently by the cacophony of noise produced by my 2yo nephew on a drum set an unthinking (or malicious?) relative had given him. What he and I really need are instruments that release the inner rock god whilst letting the mere mortals in our presence not suffer. My quest to find parent and partner friendly instruments starts here.
Photo Credits: The Author and amazon products.
Digital Electronic Drum Machine - The pitter patter of little drumbeats
A drum machine. Are you mad I hear you cry? Well grasshopper, this musical instrument and all the ones that follow have one very special feature, they come with headphones so that noise damage and frayed nerves are limited, yet the creativity of the budding musician is not stifled. Electronic drum machines comes with drum pads, foot pedals, pre-set songs and a variety of percussion voices. What more could your budding Charlie Watts want?
Electric Guitar - Stairway to Heaven
No list of electronic instruments would be complete without the electric guitar. Every kid at some stage wants to be on stage with an 'Axe' playing endless riffs to adoring fans. Well that was my plan anyway. Maybe, just maybe, if electric guitars had been cheaper all those years ago I may been able to practice just a bit harder and longer without driving my poor suffering family mad. I could've been a contender. Oops wrong profession. Acoustic, bass and lead guitar are all available, all stylish, all with head-jacks for that all important peace and quiet.
Electric Guitars - Making dreams come true since 1932
Electric Violin - Beauty and form
What would Stradivarius say about modern electric violins? Just like his classics they are a triumph of beauty and form. Electric violins are the perfect blend of a classical instrument and rock and roll. What better way to introduce children to this timeless instrument than blend it with 'that devils music that all the kids are now listening to'. Thank you David Bowie for that 1976 insight!
Your budding Beethoven can practice till their hearts content without bothering every member of your household... or street!
Electric Keyboard - Oh so much smaller than a piano
When you live with the daughter of a piano teacher, a discussion about electronic keyboards is comparable to showing a red rag to a bull, but when I look at that large, brown dust collector that sits in the corner of her mums house I feel a certain smug victory for electronic keyboards has been won. No one plays the piano (apart from my occasional blasphemous chopsticks rendition) as they don't want to disturb everyone else in the house.
I have one simple solution to this quandary, 1 electronic keyboard. Pop on the headphones and tinkle away. You can also play along to a multitude of pre-recorded backing tracks. Good times indeed... and there goes my invite to Christmas dinner.
Electric Keyboards - Get your child a great electric keyboard
Musical Instruments for children
Would you buy a musical instrument for a child to nurture their talent? OR Would you buy one to get some sweet, sweet revenge for loud, noisy gifts purchased for your children in years past?
Are you a nurturer or are you evening the score?
Electric Stylophone - Making a comeback 40 years on
A must have gadget in the 70's with over 3 million sold the Stylophone is best described as a simple organ that is played by either tapping or dragging a stylus across the 'keyboard' section of the instrument. Hence the least original name in music 'The Stylophone'. David Bowie was a big fan and the new version 40 years down the road comes with the ability to plug your MP3 player in to it so you can play along with your favourite tunes. And it works perfectly with headphones attached. Thanks Rolf Harris.
Rolf Harris - Fiddling with a Stylophone
Stylophone - Back from the dead
Headphones - Bringing harmony to the musical family
Whether it be in ear buds or giant 'cans' that cover your ears, a good set of headphones will continue to ensure that your budding Beethoven will be striving away whilst you remain blissfully unaware. Just make sure that the connector jack is the right size for the instrument you intend to use it on, otherwise all your hard work will have gone to waste as a screech, possibly resembling 'Smoke on the water' disturbs your pleasant Sunday afternoon reading the latest Bill Bryson novel.
Headphones - The perfect accompaniment
Musical Instruments from the Dark Side - Gifts that will make a lasting impact
So you have looked through all the considerate musical gifts that you could give that special child whose musical talent you wish to nurture. However you still remember the talking frog your sister gave little Billy 3 years ago and the hours of torment it gave you as little Billy never tired of the 'Ribbit Ribbit whose a big boy then' pre-recorded voice. It was a great day indeed when you 'accidently' drove over said frog and it burst into a 1000 irreparable pieces.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, so why not ignore all the above and buy a full drum kit or an electric guitar with an amplifier? Your excuse will be that you just wanted to nurture them and definitely not to even the score. (Oh and if anyone can find the harmonica given to me after the great guitar disaster, which disappeared almost as soon as I blew my first note, let me know. I fear it may have joined 'Old Rover' the dog down on the farm...)
Earplugs - When all else fails
If you ignore my advice and do buy one of the louder instruments on offer, then the least you can do for the about to be long suffering parents is buy them a pair of these earplugs!