You want to give your child, relative or friend access to the world of music but are faced with the decision of which instrument to choose. You know that the acoustic guitar is the most common choice but what if he or she doesn’t like it? This is a very important decision, after all, the entry instrument is a long-term, possibly a lifelong path. So what can you do to avoid making a “mistake”? Well, in our opinion no instrument is a mistake, but it is important to get informed. Here are our thoughts and tips to help you with your big decision…
You’re in luck when the dream instrument has already been chosen
In the best case scenario your child has already targeted the dream instrument. Very likely s/he has seen their favourite band equipped with electric guitars, bass or drums on a stage, on TV or on the Internet and now wants to get on board. These musician heroes are often the initial hook and motivation at the same time. Maybe they were enchanted by the violins in the classical orchestra or are enthralled by the sound of the trombone. Interest can also come from a completely different angle, for example from music class at school, where various instruments are available for trying out.
Orient yourself on the taste of music
Your kids are not only individuals, they are unique. After all, this is the reason why you are so proud of them. That is to say: Deciding on the right instrument does not begin with the instrument, but with the child. The top question is: What kind of music do they prefer listening to? In the vast majority of cases, this will be the music they want to learn how to play. And for every genre of music there are some typical instruments. For example, the electric guitar is a popular instrument for rock, pop and metal. In country and folk music the western (steel-string) acoustic guitar, violin and banjo dominate.
Start cautiously to avoid frustration
If it comes down to encouraging undecided people at a young age, it makes sense to dedicate yourself to one of the classics, such as the recorder. Your children will not be overwhelmed by this instrument, they will learn the fingering, first melodies and basic knowledge of the notes relatively quickly.
Stringed instruments: compact & handy
Depending on the height of the child, you must make sure that the instrument is not too large. Various instruments are also available in sizes suitable for children in addition to the adult size. There are student guitars with a shortened scale and a smaller body, like 3/4 guitars or 1/2 guitars. You will also find Harley Benton electric guitars with a shorter scale. And, since we’re on the topic of stringed instruments, how about a ukulele, which is also small, handy and easy to learn.
Wind instruments for beginners
Transverse flutes, for example, are available with a curved head-joint. The result is that the transverse flute is shorter than the standard version, which is easier for kids to handle. A cornet is a good introduction to the brass world. It is somewhat shorter than a trumpet and therefore has a good centre of gravity for children. Of course, a cornet only makes sense once the youngsters have said goodbye to their baby teeth.
For the drummers of the future
For the rhythm section there are child-sized drum kits. If your children are not yet fully grown – which is usually the case with the FIRST instrument – the dimensions of a full-sized kit can be overwhelming. On a children’s drum kit they can more easily learn all the techniques without any impairment of posture and movement. And these are serious drum kits for beginners, they’re not from the toy shelf.
Can’t go wrong with a keyboard
A children’s accordion can be ideal for getting started, so can a piano or keyboard because it is really versatile and has many pedagogical advantages. Due to the keyboard’s black and white keys, it is probably the most musically logical (polyphonic) instrument. It is ideal for learning the first notes, which can be conjured up quite easily, and is virtually a guarantee for quick learning. Pieces of music from all genres and all levels of difficulty can be played on the same keyboard, talk about a lifelong instrument!
Where does the instrument stand on the popularity scale?
For the long-lasting joy of making music, consider how popular an instrument is. The guitar is one of the most popular stringed instruments par excellence. However, if the goal is to play in a band one day, it may well be that musicians are looking for a drummer or a bassist, because there are not quite as many of them. The same applies to violins, an instrument that appeals to many. In the violin orchestra, however, there is perhaps more room for the viola (or the cello). In this sense, “more exotic instruments” also have the potential of being a child’s very first instrument.
We hope this article has helped you decide on an instrument for your child, relative or friend. Please leave us a comment below and then go play some music already! 🤘