Things to Consider When Choosing an Instrument for Your Child
Amidst all the decisions you as a parent have to make for your children throughout the early years, choosing a first instrument for your child is something that can be challenging.
Here are some common questions parents have when considering music lessons for beginners:
- Is music in their school not sufficient?
- Should I dive right into the Suzuki method with a 3 year old?
- My 8 year old daughter loves to sing; are voice lessons a good idea?
- My boys are dying to play the drums, is this a good first instrument?
These are all fabulous questions! And you know what? There are a variety of opinions out there that could support each of these questions.
In my experience, none of these pathways are wrong. There are some that will be more challenging than others and some that will foster musical development more than others.
Things to consider:
- School is always a great starting point! If you find your child is interested in a different instrument beyond the classroom recorder, discover your local community music school or a private teacher accredited by a professional music association. Chances are your child would flourish with an additional musical challenge!
- Singing in the context of a youth or children’s choir is a good choice. Children’s voices begin to develop and mature in their teen years, at which time, you can explore private voice lessons. Some children’s choirs include voice lessons in their choral program!
- The Suzuki Method is an excellent program but starting kids in any formal program when they are too young may result in burnout for both parent and child. Beginning lessons at the age of 5 or 6 gives them a lifetime to learn and grow in their skills. Take the early years to listen to good music, sing together, and attend concerts for music appreciation.
- The piano is a foundational instrument for any child’s musical journey. Children don’t have to worry about tuning their instrument, staying in tune or struggling with a finicky bow hold on a stringed instrument. The piano also teaches basic rhythm, counting, and reading music.
What children need most is YOU, a cheerleader and someone who will be there ready to help when needed. Keep in mind, learning an instrument is a commitment for both the child AND the parent.
…and if your ears can handle the sound of drums being played by a 5 year old, then by all means, try it out for a week!