Band or orchestra is a cornerstone of American education and many students must select an instrument to learn. As their parent, you want them to enjoy and excel at this new endeavor, so take the time to figure out which is best for them. Here is how to help children pick the right musical instrument.
Ask Them First
Children often have an idea of what they would enjoy playing. They have heard from older siblings or seen older students around school with a flute or drumsticks and thought it would be fun for them, too. Instead of forcing an instrument on your child, ask them first. They will spend years playing this instrument, so value their input. If they are excited about a specific instrument, they will have greater vigor for daily playing and practicing. If they are interested in Sitar, you can arrange sitar lessons online for them. If it is bongo they like the most, go for the bongo lessons. Just do not force your choices on them If your child has no idea what they want, you should still offer suggestions and take their opinions first. The last thing you want for your child is to feel stuck playing an instrument they hate simply because they think you gave them no other choice.
Consider Age and Size
Age and size correlate to instrument choice in very practical ways. A short child with shorter arms can’t extend a trombone slide tube, and a taller one may feel cramped playing the violin. Though you should value your child’s wishes first and foremost, you can head off a lot of frustration by considering their size and physical capacities. A well-matched instrument may still require some adjustments. Your child must develop the muscle strength and dexterity to play, so expect some growing pains at the beginning.
Factor in Their Personality
Every kid expresses themselves differently, especially when it comes to musical instrumentation. One child may enjoy the piercing sound of a trumpet, while another enjoys the subtleties of the stand-up bass. The personality of your child makes a big difference in the instrument they play. Think about characteristics like introversion or extroversion, internal or external emotional processing, and whether they’re a leader or follower. A big personality needs a passionate instrument; a calm personality needs a subdued instrument.
Think About Instrument Popularity
There can only be so many drummers and violinists—other instruments must accompany these popular choices to create a whole band or orchestra. While instrument popularity shouldn’t impact your child’s dreams, there are practical limitations to consider. If the music teacher asks who is willing to switch, you should be ready to change gears and fill in where needed. Suppose the band teacher has a dozen percussionists but desperately needs a flutist. You should encourage your child to consider another path and prepare to step up to a new challenge.
Learning how to help children pick the right musical instrument will make the selection process much more manageable. When the time comes, visit a music store and check out the array of band and orchestra instruments. Test a few out and see what feels best. When your child feels comfortable and confident with an instrument, you know you’ve found the one.