At some point, most children show an interest in music. This could be anything from a passing interest in making noises and singing along to their favorite songs on the radio to a deeper interest and showing signs of wanting to learn how to play a specific instrument. As a parent, you might wonder if your child is too young to learn an instrument, but from about 5 years old, there are lots of benefits to learning to play, and plenty of instruments that are great for younger children.
Why Kids Should Learn to Play an Instrument
There are many benefits to learning to play an instrument at any age, but especially in childhood. These include:
- Improved confidence.
- Better social skills.
- Increased focus and concentration.
- A creative outlet for frustrations.
- Better test scores.
- Improved memory.
The recorder is often the first instrument that comes home from school with our children. It’s an incredibly popular choice for the first instrument and one that most children play at some point before they leave school.
- Recorders are affordable and accessible.
- Many schools offer lessons, so you don’t have to find your own.
- It’s fairly easy to learn.
- It’s a great start for children that one day want to move to woodwind instruments.
- It could get boring quickly.
- The recorder can sound awful if not played properly.
- Easy access might mean that children are keen to play something different.
Drums are a popular choice for children, if not for parents. Many children at some point ask for drum lessons or a drum kit, but most parents worry about the noise. Like all instruments, however, drums have their pros and cons.
- Drums are fun for children to play with and so offer a great way to get them into music.
- It’s easy to feel good at drums from the start, which can build confidence.
- It’s easy to learn simple beats.
- Playing drums can improve a child’s coordination and rhythm.
- Drummers are cool!
- Even smaller hands can manage drumsticks.
- Children’s kits are readily available.
- Drums can be very loud.
- Listening to the same beat over and over might get annoying.
- Full drum kits can be very expensive.
- Drum kits are large, making them less portable and harder to store at home.
Keyboard or Piano
When thinking about instruments for children, the keyboard or piano is often one of the first things that comes to mind, especially if you already have one at home.
- Most schools have keyboards and pianos, and they are often part of music lessons.
- Keyboards can be bought cheaply.
- They are easy to store and transport.
- Children can play melodies with only a few notes.
- Learning piano typically makes it easier to learn other instruments and to read and write music.
- Full pianos can be very expensive.
- Children might not fancy something so traditional.
The violin is a popular choice for younger children, mainly because it’s fairly small and easy for them to hold and carry. Their small hands can manipulate the strings easily, and the light instrument doesn’t put unnecessary stress on their small bodies. While the violin isn’t exactly easy to learn to play well, it is easy to start playing simple melodies and making beautiful sounds, which can be ideal if your child just wants to play before starting proper lessons. Many parents find that a violin rental is an excellent option that gives their child a chance to try it out for a while first.
- Violins are smaller and lighter than many other instruments.
- They are easy to carry around and won’t take up too much room at home.
- With only four strings, it’s easier for younger children to visualize and find the right finger positions than it would be on instruments with more.
- Violins can create truly beautiful melodies and often play the main melody in classical pieces.
- The violin is perhaps not as trendy as instruments like the guitar and might not appeal to your children as they get older.
- This can also make it harder to find good local instruction.
- Violins can be more difficult to learn than other instruments.
Even children younger than five should be encouraged to enjoy music if it’s something that they show an interest in. Play music in the house, sing and dance with them and buy them musical toys (or make your own) to help them to develop a love of music and reap all of the benefits that this includes.