A lot of parents share a bad habit when it comes to their child’s musical education. They’re so focused on enrolling them into lessons that they don’t consider which instrument is right for their child. Don’t be that parent. Choosing the wrong one can set your child back, potentially dooming their lessons before they even start. Take the time to explore the options with your kid and choose one that fits their age, personality, and interests.
You won’t be surprised to find out that the most popular musical instruments for kids are the very same ones that adults want to play. According to a recent study conducted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the UK, keyboard is the most popular instrument with roughly 30% of those surveyed playing it. Meanwhile, percussion and bass guitar had a less favourable showing of 6% and 5% respectively.
Though there’s no magic number when to enroll your child into music lessons, when exactly you start them on their musical journey will affect the kinds of instruments they can physically play. Some are simply not made for a child’s body. Take, for example, the bassoon, which measures nearly 6 feet tall and requires a large hand span in order to play. It isn’t suited for your 6 year old child. Meanwhile, the violin, guitar, or keyboard — all of which come in child sizes — are better suited for a younger student.
Of course, all music is performative, requiring each player to feel comfortable bringing life to their notes in front of others; however, there are some instruments that come with certain reputations, making them better suited for confident, extroverted children. Band instruments, like flute, trumpet, or saxophone tend to take the lead in the group. They literally play the key melody in an ensemble and involve more solos than other ones like the trombone, percussion, or bass guitar. Keyboard and guitar are a good middle ground for those who strike a balance between extroversion and introversion, as they can take center stage or play a more background part in any group.
Perhaps the most important factor in your child’s education is their commitment to their lessons, which only come if they’re actually interested in the instrument they’re playing. Ask them what they want to play and determine if it’s feasible according to their stature and your budget. Use YouTube to help them explore sounds, or take them to your local music store to see them up close and personal.
It may take a bit of time to settle on one, but it’ll be worth it. Take advantage of your local music store’s renting policy, and let your child test out a variety of instruments, so they know for certain they like piano more than the flute, the alto sax more than the French horn. With these things in mind, you’ll get your child’s musical education off to a great start.