How learning a musical instrument can help your child hit the right note
Learning a musical instrument can be great fun, but what factors need to be considered when starting out?
My daughter, aged six, loves singing and all things musical and has been known to set up a drum kit in the front room using old shoe boxes. Her headteacher would like everyone in the school to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, and I am hoping she will want to give it a try.
However, there are various factors that need to be considered such as which instrument to choose, the cost, the best time to start and whether the neighbours would tolerate the noise.
Children love learning new skills. Learning a musical instrument has been linked to improved language skills, motor skills, memory, behaviour and overall intelligence according to kidsdevelopment.
There is also the social aspect of learning a musical instrument as children may wish to join school orchestras or take part in music groups locally. Learning a musical instrument can be particularly good for children who are not particularly sporty and can give them a great sense of achievement.
Before taking up a musical instrument, children should be able to recognise numbers and know their alphabet up to G. Musicinfo4all has information on the different types of instruments available, their characteristics and how they are played. It is worth investigating if your school offers cheap or free instrument loans, as many do.
The BBC recommends instruments like the piano and recorder for younger children. Some string instruments are also available in smaller sizes. Each instrument is different but for instruments like brass and woodwind, it is best to wait until children have the strength to blow and have their second set of teeth.
Practical considerations, like whether the instrument is too big to carry around and whether practise sessions will disturb the neighbours, are also important. @JoanneMallon found the keyboard easier on the ear than the violin. @Dawnie_Brown recommends the use of silent brass mutes.
Although many children will be able to learn in school, some parents may want to choose a private tutor. The BBC offers a number of suggestions for choosing a music teacher, including asking local music shops, other parents and visiting local libraries for information and advice. Parents also need to remain sensibly alert to child protection issues.
Retired music teacher David Bramhall offers further information on choosing an instrument, finding a tutor and the issue of practise and music exams on his site Pay the Piper.
Is your child learning a musical instrument or is it something you are considering? Do add your own experiences in the comments section.
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