Playing a musical instrument has many benefits, including helping to develop motor skills, aptitude, patience and creativity. Trying a musical instrument at an early age gives a child the chance to discover an interest he might really enjoy. It also offers him the opportunity to develop an appreciation for music, as well as a dedication to mastering an instrument. With so many options available, trying to select one instrument might seem an imposing task. But taking the time to consider the particular rewards and challenges each instrument has to offer can guide you and your child in the decision-making process.
The violin can be played solo or as part of a group, ranging from a small chamber music group to a complete orchestra. Violins come in a variety of sizes, from full-size to 1/16, allowing kids of all ages to play one with comfortable proportions. Furthermore, the violin is relatively small, making it easy for kids to carry around and take care of. Extra costs will be required for replacement strings, a bow and rosin for the bow.
The piano is played as a solo instrument, as accompaniment or as part of an ensemble. It is not a portable instrument, however, and can be quite an expensive purchase. The keyboard is an electronic version of the piano and can be a less expensive and more portable option. If you decide on an electronic keyboard for your child, it's recommended you choose one with weighted keys to resemble a piano's feel and style.
Drums are a vital part of many orchestras, bands and musical groups, and a kid can have a great deal of fun playing them. Those around him, though, might not appreciate the noise quite as much. Drums are also difficult to transport and can be a costly purchase.
The trumpet is part of the brass family of instruments. You'll find its strong, distinct sound in many musical styles, including classical, jazz, military and Latin. The child must be capable of blowing air through a mouthpiece, however, and some may find this a challenge in the beginning.
The flute is a woodwind instrument. Its sound is produced when the player blows air across an opening in the mouthpiece, a technique that can take some time to get used to. The flute is used in a wide range of musical styles, providing kids plenty of opportunities to perform. It is also one of the lightest instruments and is easy to transport, which makes it a convenient choice for many.
The clarinet is another member of the woodwind family. It requires a reed, a wooden piece attached to the mouthpiece, to produce its sound. Like the flute, the clarinet is a light instrument that's easy to transport and is commonly used in bands and orchestras. The clarinet is often a first choice for many because it can lay the foundation for learning similar instruments, such as the oboe, the bassoon and the saxophone.
The guitar may be one of the most commonly seen instruments in pop culture, making it an attractive choice for kids. Learning to press the strings to play the guitar may be a bit challenging for a child in the beginning, but the skill can make it easier to later learn similar instruments, such as the bass and ukulele. Guitars are available in acoustic and electric versions, though beginners might want to start on an acoustic guitar, which doesn't require the amplifier, cables and pedals an electric one does.
Although made of brass, the saxophone is a woodwind instrument. It comes in a range of sizes and types, with the alto saxophone being the most commonly played. The saxophone is slightly larger than the other woodwind instruments, but its rich sound can be a welcome addition to orchestras, jazz or concert bands.
The bongo drums are one of the more economical instruments and require little preparation to begin. There are no accessories required to play the bongo, and a child can start learning rhythm and the basics of percussion right away. The bongo can be a great way to introduce music and musical instruments to a child.
The trombone is a brass instrument that uses a sliding motion children may find fun. The instrument is larger than the trumpet and may be too large for very young kids. In general, though, less commonly played instruments like the trombone can be a great way for kids to experiment and have fun with while feeling less pressure to compete against others.