When kids are faced with the opportunity to learn how to play music there are a few instruments that will often top their list of what to play. Although it may be tempting to push them towards an instrument that you think would benefit them the most, there is often value in allowing your child to choose which instrument they want to learn first. When they focus on learning to play something that they are actually interested in, they are more likely to stick with it and develop their skills.
Before getting into instruments kids most frequently pick to play, we asked Geoff Breen – Founder and Owner of Capstone Music in Burlington Ontario his thoughts. Geoff has decades of experience running Burlington’s Top Rated music lessons studio and knows a thing or two about the topic! When asked simply, “What’s the best instrument for a student to start on?” Geoff noted:
When a student doesn’t have a specific instrument in mind I always suggest piano as the first instrument to start with. It is the easiest instrument to teach basic musical concepts. low, high, quiet, loud, sharp, flat etc… and once the basic concepts of music are understood the difference between instruments ultimately is just buttons and strings!
Sounds like great advice and food for thought!
These instruments are the ones that kids will often choose to play, in order of how easy they are to learn.
This beginner woodwind instrument is ideal for young kids who need to learn the basics of breathing techniques and finger coordination. Although the sound can be a bit overwhelming for parents listening to their kids practicing, a recorder is a great first step towards learning an instrument like the flute or clarinet. Most school programs include time to learn the recorder, so further lessons aren’t always needed.
The ukulele is an instrument that is increasingly gaining in popularity and becoming more mainstream even in pop music today. Similar to a guitar but much easier to play, the ukulele is often chosen because it feels like a fun and silly instrument, however it can teach kids some serious music skills too. Kids who learn the ukulele will often be playing songs very quickly, motivating them to stick with it. It’s also a very low cost first instrument, and small enough to go anywhere!
The piano is an ideal first instrument for many children, especially younger kids just figuring out what they like. It is quite easy to learn a basic melody so kids will be encouraged by their new skills very early on. Playing the piano teaches children how to read music and understand music theory, including rhythm, harmony and melody.
Children who learn how to play the piano often benefit from lower stress, improved self-esteem, increased concentration skills and enhanced fine motor skills.
The guitar is a very popular instrument for kids to want to learn, largely because of how common it is to see people playing one. A guitar seems like a very cool instrument to play and is a great way to learn the fundamentals of music. The manual dexterity that is learned by playing the guitar can also help kids transition into other instruments down the road.
The drums can be a bit harder to learn than some other instruments because unlike a guitar or piano that mostly relies on hands and arms to play music, the drums require both upper and lower body engagement, especially as skills progress. Despite this, the drums are very popular with kids. Many are drawn in by the loud sound and the opportunity to take out their feelings on it, however they will quickly learn there is an art to the drums as well.
One thing about learning how to play the drums is that kids often don’t have to learn much about music theory and harmony, because everything they do is centered on rhythm. This can be a good thing for kids who struggle with book learning, but it can also make transitioning to a different instrument more difficult.
Now is a great time for music lessons!
Playing music is a common interest for many people and most will tell you that they started playing when they were a child. Learning how to play an instrument is easier to do when you are young, so taking lessons as a child is a great way to develop skills that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. With so many instruments to choose from, there’s no way they won’t find one they love!