Every parent is proud when they can see their child becoming an avid musician, and a good one too, and there are plenty of studies which show that learning music from a young age can increase your child's mental capabilities. However, when it comes to choosing an instrument for your child to learn, it's important to make sure that you get one that they are happy with, and of course to make sure that they actually want to learn in the first place.
Choosing the Instrument
Traditionally, parents will choose classical instruments for their children, with violin and piano being among the most popular. However, for the benefits that come with music lessons, any instrument is suitable, and of course it's important that the instrument your child learns is one that they are happy with, rather than one that you force on them.
If you find some examples of what each style of instrument sounds like, and the sort of music it makes, then your child will be able to narrow in on what they might want to learn. This way, you won't have to try every instrument around, just the ones they like the sound of.
If you have the opportunity, then let your child try out a few different instruments to see which one they like the idea of the most. Some schools will offer your child this opportunity, as will some shops. This will help your child get a feel, literally, for what each instrument is like to hold, the size and shape and the way it's played. This can be a great opportunity for your child to learn the difference between, for example, a violin and a guitar, or a clarinet and a saxophone.
For a few ideas on where to get started, here are some thoughts for a few common instruments:
Violin Family: The violin is a difficult instrument to learn properly and excel at, but children are generally adept learners. Learning violin earlier in life will usually be easier, and of course, learning violin comes with numerous opportunities to showcase talent should your child really take to it.
Guitars: Guitars are more commonly learned by adults who are looking to learn a musical instrument, but much like with the violin, the earlier in life you learn, the better you are likely to be. Guitars are generally not too pricey, and have a lot of options for advancement if the child continues playing into adulthood.
Drums: Drums are loud and take up a lot of space, but children who take to them tend to really love them. If you can put up with your child learning drums, then they are likely to really enjoy it. Electronic drum kits can help to make them a little easier to handle by giving you some options to control the volume.
Piano: The piano may lend your child some of the most transferrable music skills, teaching them some of the very basics of music just by learning to play. Like the violin, piano is an instrument that benefits from starting young, while adults may regret not learning it as a child. Finding space and money for your own piano is problematic, though, which makes practice and continued learning difficult.
Reeds & Double Reeds: Reeds are delicate, which means that you'll need to make sure your child is careful with them, so these aren't necessarily for very small children. Double reed instrument players are quite rare, however, so if your child does go on to be a musician they are likely to be in high demand.
Flutes & Reedless Woodwinds: Woodwinds without reeds tend to be quick to learn the basics for, so if your child is likely to lack patience for learning more complex instruments, such as the violins, a flute or even recorder may be a good way to get them started. There are plenty of different options, and with encouragement these can all be explored as your child continues to grow.
Vocals: Of course, everybody comes with an innate musical instrument, if they care to learn how to tune it. Your child may not like the idea of having to use an instrument, or may be enamoured with becoming a singer, either way a vocal music career is a great way to learn how music works, takes up virtually no space and saves on the cost of an instrument.
Finding a Teacher
Needless to say, an instrument without a teacher is not going to do you much good, especially for a child who will need expert guidance from their teacher. If you don't already have one in mind, then you can search for one on the Music Teachers website, which is a free resource for finding music teachers anywhere in the UK.