Choosing a Musical Instrument for Your Child

Music can do wonderful things for children, it allows them to be creative, expressive and develop important cognitive skills that help them with math and science. Music is a wonderful gift to give your child. But remember, your child must be willing and ready to receive that gift and not have it forced upon them. Forcing a child to learn an instrument before they are ready can make your child’s experience with music very frustrating and can even breed resentment toward you or contempt toward music.

If you would like your child to learn an instrument, it is best to expose them to various types of music and allow them to experiment with different kinds of instruments at a young age. Children should be exposed to the major families of instruments such as winds, strings, brass and percussion. The more exposure your child has to music, the more likely your son or daughter will develop an interest in learning an instrument.

As you introduce your child to different sounds and types of music, see what your son or daughter gets excited about. Enthusiasm is a good indicator of a child’s interest. Many children get excited about the type of sound an instrument makes. If your child is interested in learning an instrument, you will have a lot less battles over practice time than if you choose an instrument for you child.

Here are a list of things you should consider when you are thinking about enrolling your child in music lessons:

  • Is the size of the instrument proportional to your child’s size and body type?
  • Is your child mature enough to handle the instrument?
  • Does your child have the physical requirements to play the instrument (some instruments, like the clarinet, require a child to have all of their adult teeth in to play; likewise, a large bass may not be the best instrument for a petite child)?
  • Do you have a budget that will support buying an instrument and providing lessons for your child (some music stores offer rent-to-own programs; inquire about these if you are not in a position to buy your child’s instrument right out)?

Once your child has settled on an instrument to play, it is important that they not hop around from instrument to instrument. A child should give an instrument at least one year before deciding to try something else.

Learning to play an instrument well takes time. It can be a tedious and noisy process that you, as a father, should be prepared for as well. You need to be ready for the beginner sounds your child will make—which are not very pleasing to listen to—and you need to be ready to encourage your child to press on when they become frustrated.