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Help Your Child Choose the Right Instrument

May 3, 2012

Country singer Dierks Bentley released his newest album this week, but be warned: country fan or not, his song “Thinking Of You” is sure to pull on your heartstrings.  Written for and featuring a section sung by Bentley’s 3-year-old daughter, Evie, the song shows a much softer side of the singer, who is better known for light-hearted lyrics like in “Am I The Only One” and his ode to Friday nights, “Tip It On Back.” (Check out a video of Evie performing alongside her dad in Nashville here.)

With a father like that, we’re guessing Evie will be picking up a guitar in no time.  But if you’re a parent with no musical background, it may feel overwhelming when your child shows interest in learning an instrument.

There are so many instruments to pick from, and so many reasons to select one or the other.  You’ll want to consider things like your child’s physical form, commitment level and portability of the instrument of choice.  Of course, keep in mind that many musicians start out on one instrument, and continue on to try out several different instruments as they progress.  So if your child comes home dreaming of piccolos and baritone saxophones, encourage him or her to start with something easier.  The most common choices are guitar and piano, but here are 6 more great instruments for beginners:

– Recorder – Simple, cheap and sturdy. Great for the youngest music students.

– Clarinet – Similar qualities as the recorder, and a great step up once the child “graduates” from the recorder. The clarinet is bigger and somewhat heavier, but fairly easy to get a sound on and operate. From the clarinet, many students switch to other instruments, such as bass clarinet, oboe or bassoon.

– Flute – Another common instrument in concert bands, the flute can be fairly easy to learn. Keep in mind, however, it can be pretty hard to get the first tone out of a flute, and your child may be discouraged if it takes days or weeks to get it right. Advanced, dedicated flute players may have the opportunity to move up to the piccolo someday, usually after four or five years.

– Alto Saxophone – When most people say “saxophone,” they’re referring to the alto sax. It’s the most common saxophone, and is of a size that can be handled by many different ages of people. From the alto sax, students often switch to other sizes of saxophone, such as the soprano (smaller), the tenor (somewhat larger), and the baritone (even bigger than that).

– Trumpet/Cornet – The trumpet is a common brass instrument, and the cornet is a smaller instrument that is very similar. Both are popular with beginners and experienced players alike.

– Violin – The violin is the smallest instrument in the violin family, a popular instrument among younger children who wish to be in an orchestra program.

You’ve got the instrument… need help finding the perfect teacher?  Search by zip code here. Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.



You might also like…

Supporting Your Child In Music: A Parent’s Guide
How to Tune Into the Perfect Music Teacher for You
5 Stages for Introducing Music to Children


Photo by LenDog64.


Suzy S.