Help your child pick the right musical instrument

Musical Instruments, silhouette,
I remember the time that Jake brought a letter home from school explaining that he'd been given the "opportunity" to learn to play a musical instrument at school.  He was convinced he was going to learn to play the drums so I told him that he could on the one condition... that he teaches me too as learning to play the drums is on my bucket list.  He wasn't convinced but thought it might help with his college application

There’s a decent chance that at some point your child will ask to learn a musical instrument like guitar lessons online, or it might be something that you as a parent would like your kids to do. Playing music can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend time, and it is a great way to make friends and develop self-confidence too – so if your child shows an interest in music it’s a great hobby to encourage.  

You may also have experience of a child starting an instrument and then losing interest. Maybe you even did this yourself when you were younger. No one wants to spend vast amounts of money on lessons and instruments that will get tossed aside not long after; and you probably don’t want to force your child to become a musical prodigy if they don’t seem enthusiastic, either 

So how do you get your kids into music without wasting money? How do you know they are really interested and it’s not just a phase? The key is finding the right instrument. Kids (and grown-ups) don’t necessarily find their perfect instrument first time around. To develop a passion for a particular instrument you need to love the music that you’re making, enjoy your physical interaction with the instrument, and it needs to be fun.

With that in mind, how do you help your child make the right choice? Well, music taste is something that never stops developing, so a good indication for a young child is simply to look which musicians grab their attention. If your son is captivated by Jerry Douglas then maybe you need to get that boy a slide guitar. And if your daughter sees Sleater Kinney on TV and it looks like she’s having a life altering epiphany watching Janet Wiess, then I’m afraid to say maybe you’ve got a drummer on your hands. 

The other key thing is to listen to your child and try not to let your own preferences influence the decision. You might love the idea of having a flautist in the family, but if your child is telling you they want to play sax then don’t be surprised when the flute gets abandoned a couple of months later.

It might seem obvious but one of the most overlooked barriers to a long term musical commitment is that your child needs to actually like the pieces their teacher gives them. I remember losing my mind playing Camptown Races on the trumpet, and I look back now and think that maybe if I’d been playing Sir Duke I might have enjoyed it a lot more!

If your child isn’t getting fun pieces set in their lessons, look online! There are loads of free online tutorials and tabs to learn pretty much every song you can think of. Sit your child in front of Youtube and you’ll be amazed what they can learn for free on the internet.

The last, really important thing to remember is that some people just need to try a few things out before they find the right instrument.  If you can borrow an instrument from a friend, your school, or even hire one out, do that until you’re sure you want to spend the money on buying one.

Learning to play music could be a really positive experience for your child, but it might take a bit of patience and perseverance to find the right instrument. One thing is for sure, it will be totally worth it when they do and you can sit back and enjoy your coffee whilst listening!