Choosing a musical instrument for children can be a tough decision and there are many different factors to consider.
Your child’s age will be the first element to deciding on the right musical instrument. Young children under 8 have short attention spans and concentrate best with short bursts of learning and plenty of breaks. With this in mind, it’s useful to consider your child’s coordination skills in relation to their age. For example, keyboard and piano are a great option for extremely young children with little coordination who are starting their musical journey. A plus for keyboard instruments is they will always produce a note that is in tune, even if it’s wrong! Often the string family attracts youngsters thanks to the broad tonal variety that violins, violas, cellos and double basses offer. While these can be challenging instruments to begin, future string masters need to start young!
Fretted instruments such as the ukulele and guitar can be great for little fingers because the nature of these instruments help players produce the correct notes. Ukulele’s have soared in popularity in recent years, with many primary schools opting for the ukulele as a replacement to the recorder. Of course, the recorder is still a classic first instrument, and is an excellent introduction to the woodwind family.
Instrument size is another factor to consider, for both space in the home and carrying to and from lessons. Many come in smaller sizes nowadays, particularly all of the aforementioned string and fretted instruments. Most carry cases make travelling easy, with the cello and double bass proving a little harder to transport and store at home. The woodwind family is the most portable, as they all come apart into small pieces, and can be easily carried. The woodwind family has some smaller versions, like the ‘C clarinet’, which is ideal for beginners. For the flute, there are detachable head joints that are added on to make the reach smaller for little children, and there is even a ‘baby bassoon’!
Volume is an important feature when choosing an instrument. Is there room at home for your child to practice the same line of music over and over, as loudly as they like? If so, why not consider an instrument from the bold brass family. Smaller sizes of the French horn and the trombone are available for little ones. The cornet is the perfect mini substitute for the trumpet, and likewise the euphonium can be a solid choice if your child is too small for the tuba. While brass can be a challenging family to learn, small versions of the instruments are there for children who feel a pull towards them.
The good news is that instruments for beginners don’t need to come with a hefty price tag. Many beginner and second hand instruments are affordable options as your child grows and progresses.
Whatever instrument your child is drawn to, PlayScore 2 can help their performance practice and music reading. The app will accurately playback a piece of sheet music, so that learners can hear how pieces should sound while following the score. Playing along with PlayScore 2, it’s possible to slow the tempo, loop sections of the music, use the app as an accompaniment track, and maximise your practice time interactively and effectively.