Updated: Sep 14
So your child just mentioned they want to learn a musical instrument. Whether they want to learn an instrument for themselves or plan on joining a band, that's great! But where do you even start? Let's look at getting your kid started on a musical instrument.
Benefits Of Learning Music
Learning a musical instrument is more than just being creative and having fun. It helps with things like memory, focus, and motor skills. Music also improves reading and math skills. And one thing that highly gets overlooked is learning time management, working as a team, being held accountable, and building self-confidence.
Where To Begin?
First, see what instrument your child wants to learn and their goals with that instrument. Some kids may know and some may not know but just know they want to join the school band.
Many school bands or music schools have an instrument day where kids can learn about the instruments and try them out. If your child doesn't know which instrument they want to play, I suggest taking them to this. Instructors there will help guide your child.
Certain teachers will try to match your child with an instrument that will be easier for them to play. They will look at how their mouth is shaped to help determine if your kid will have an easier time with flute over saxophone. They'll take note of your child's hands and flexibility to see which instruments may suit them better. If your child still is unsure of which instrument after exploring the different instruments, you might want to consider which instrument will fit them best. But if your child has their heart set on a particular instrument, I wouldn't push them to play a different instrument just because something else might be easier.
So Now Your Kid Knows What Instrument, So Now What?
Great! So now your kid knows which instrument they want to play, but now what? Getting the instrument is next. No matter what the instrument, these are all things to consider.
To Rent Or To Own
Getting an Instrument From Somewhere Reputable
Should you rent or should you own?
How passionate is your child about the chosen instrument? If they are really passionate, more than likely, they'll keep to it. If they were unsure and it was an instrument you guys decided to just try, you'll more than likely want to rent. Keep in mind of your budget and what you can really do. If funds are low, but you have a little bit, rent. Rent over getting a cheap instrument from Amazon, you'll be buying new instruments every year.
What's In The Budget?
Once again, if your budget is really low, I recommend renting. Many music stores will rent instruments for cheap. If you have a budget and you know your kid will stick to that instrument, I recommend buying an instrument. When it comes to instruments, it really does become you get what you pay for. With that said, a cheaper-end student instrument will still do great for a child who is just learning. It might just require a little more maintenance, may not produce as nice of a sound, and might not be as durable. Most students end up upgrading their instruments as they become better, so that's always an option too.
Get An Instrument From A Reputable Place:
I highly recommend avoiding getting an instrument from yard sales, the market place, or Ebay. Temping, but many people selling instruments don't know about the instruments. Just because the instrument 'looks good' doesn't mean it is good. With woodwinds, pads could be damaged. Pads can run anywhere between $90-$150 per pad! That means if every pad needs replaced, you surpassed the cost of a new instrument. Dints and dings can lead to problems too.
So who is reputable? Going to any local music shop is reputable. There are many online music stores that are reputable as well. Make sure they have warranties. Some places you can go to are SweetWater, Sam Ash, Flute Center Of New York, FiddlerShop, Guitar Center, and many more.
You now have a very excited child with a musical instrument. Now what? If their school offers music class and band, make sure they are enrolled. If they don't or your kid wants to take a different route, start them with private or group lessons. Many instructors are shifting to group classes because the kids learn together, make new friends, are held more accountable for practicing, and have fun playing together as a group.
If you really want your kid to focus just on their skill and get one-on-one attention, get them in private lessons. If your schedule is busy and your budget is a little tighter, there are many online courses & learning groups too. There are so many resources now to help anyone learn an instrument.
And lastly, be supportive. Go to the band concerts, even if you know the orchestra may not sound as pretty. Learning an instrument is hard to do. It takes patience and hard work. When your child is feeling down or hard on themselves, give them words of encouragement.