If you keep up with parenting advice in print or on the Internet, then you have probably read heaps about how learning a musical instrument can have a positive effect on your children.
While there’s no debate that the benefits of music lessons for kids are endless, it is sometimes difficult to understand the best way to set your kids on the right track to becoming confident musicians (amateur or otherwise).
It’s become apparent over the years that forcing your kid to practice an hour a day, learn theory and attend lessons on the weekend can be extremely counterproductive – but of course, this is not the only approach.
In this post, we’ll look at several factors to consider and methods to employ to find the right musical instrument for your child and get your child the full benefits of musical practice.
Finding The Right Musical Instrument For Your Child
What Kind of Music do they Like?
First and foremost, consider what kind of music they like to listen to.
From an early age, this can be easily discerned by simply noting what genre of music makes them wiggle their butts and scream with joy. If they love country and bluegrass, you might not necessarily start them out on a banjo, but a string instrument like a guitar is a pretty good bet.
Later on, if they want to twang the five-string banjo, slide guitar, or standup bass, they’ll have a good foundation to build from.
If, on the other hand, they like the chilled-out rhythm of reggae or Caribbean music, you could get them started on percussion (xylophone is often a good starting point) and transition them to a drum kit or steel drums down the road.
What Kind of Investment Should I be Making?
Raising a child isn’t cheap, and paying for lessons and instruments certainly piles on some extra expenses.
Most music stores have rent to buy programs, and you don’t necessarily need to start with weekly lessons – ease your kid into music slowly and see if it takes.
If not, you can easily return the instrument and cancel the lessons. If your child is more interested in visual art or writing, then that’s great too. Anything to mitigate an addictive TV or iPad situation!
Cultural Values and Social Skills
If your child is crazy for classical, they probably want to learn piano or violin.
Learning classical will expose them primarily to Italian, German, Polish music – traditional European classical.
If they’re into jazz, then they’ll be wailing on the saxophone or clarinet, working in a style that was developed in the southern United States.
Depending on the instrument they choose and the style they pursue, your child will be tapping into a rich cultural tradition that will hopefully pique their curiosity regarding different places and histories.
Furthermore, playing in a band – at school or otherwise – will provide confidence and social skills as they work towards becoming a virtuoso.
In an age where it is easy for children to become overwhelmed by digital culture and the chaotic world around them, developing musical skills provides a chance for them to calm down and learn the value of patience and perseverance.
All you can do is nudge them in the right direction – just don’t push too hard.
Do you know that Travis Barker uses these drums during his concert and private practice?