Kids Instruments – Learn to Choose the Right One for Your Child

Musical instruments have long been a part of children’s education for many beneficial reasons. In some schools, learning to play an instrument is a requirement. In other cases, parents choose to enroll their children in a private music class. But: it is noticeable how a child’s personality takes the backseat when it comes to choosing the right kids instruments. Have you ever considered this as a parent?

At a Glance

  • Your child’s musical instrument should match their personality as well as their body type.
  • It’s best to talk to your child’s music instructor to help find the most suitable musical instrument for them.
  • In general, the ideal age for kids to learn how to play a musical instrument is at least 8.
  • For younger kids, choose an instrument that is appropriate for their age (e.g., small violin or piano). However, keep in mind that most younger kids may not learn it as efficiently as kids over 8 years old.

In the book “The Right Instrument for Your Child” by Ben-Tovim and Boyd, it is interesting to find out that a child’s success in learning their first musical instrument also relies on the right instrument according to their personality. It is also worth noting that children can best learn musical instruments from the age of 8. Many parents would perhaps notice that younger kids who are enrolled in musical instrument classes often fail.

Parents’ Selection Guide for Kids Instruments

Now that we have addressed the common mistakes, are you excited to find out what instruments will suit your child? Keep reading!

Personality and Qualities
Recommended Musical Instrument
Possessive
Chess Players
Independent
Self-Contained
Enjoys being alone
Classical Guitar (then onto the electric or bass guitar!)
Quiet
Intelligent
Conscientious
Piano
Tense and Nervous
Irritable
Restless
Hyperactive
Well-coordinated
Percussions: Drums, Xylophone, Maracas, and Cymbals
Quiet and Behaved
Neither Isolated/Lone nor Friendly
Violin
Interested in Jazz MusicDouble Bass
Shy
Needs Respect but not the Limelight
Big Hands and Long Arms
Cello
Responsive
Kind
Likes to Work in Groups
Viola
Artistic
Sensitive
Quietly Sociable
Trombone
Responsive
Good-Natured
Likes “Leading Behind the Curtains”
Tuba
Easy-Going
Peaceful
Responsible
Gentle
Baritone and Tenor Horn
Prefers Smaller Groups
Intense
Hard-Working and Persistent
Conscientious
French Horn
Sociable
Easy-Going
Likes Independence
Individualistic
Can Mingle with Both Aggressive and Easy-Going Kids
Trumpet
Stubborn
Determined
Tight-Lipped
Prefers Very Few Friends
Oboe
Casual
Happy
Well-Balanced
Saxophone
Alert
Bright
Sociable
Has Different Hobbies and Interests
Clarinet
Shy
Enjoys Privacy
Seems Dreamy
Can Be Quietly Sociable
Concert Flute
Responsive
Has a Quiet Sense of Humor
Pleasantly Sociable
Bassoon

Your Child’s Body Type

It may seem trivial, but your child’s body size and type can also influence their success in musical instruments [Source: CNN]. Also referred to as “matching physicality”, there are musical instruments that are best handled by certain body types. For example:

Musical InstrumentBody Type
PianoBetter for kids with long, slender fingers; Short, stubby fingers may have a hard time moving from one key to another.
BassoonGood for bigger kids, NOT for small kids
Trumpet and French HornMore suitable for kids with smaller lips or mouth; NOT recommended for children with dental braces

The Selection Process

If you have found from the table above the instrument that may best fit your child’s personality, ask how they would feel about playing it. Watch out for matching physicality by observing how they handle their instrument. If it seems to overpower them or limit their movement in playing it, choose a similar instrument with a smaller size.

On the other hand, if your child seems to enjoy holding the instrument and can play it with ease, then it is obviously a good sign. With some exceptions, children with a strong desire to learn a musical instrument can eventually overcome their initial limitations with it, so pay attention to their interest as well. Another important consideration is how your child likes the sound that an instrument makes. If they show dislike towards the sound of a trumpet, then it is probably not for them.

Communicate with Instructors

Talking to your child’s music teacher can also help in finding the best musical instrument for your child. In some cases, a child’s personality towards an instrument when in school can be different from what you see at home. By discussing this with their teacher, they might be able to suggest a better instrument for your child if you need the advice.

Beware of the Social Pressure

It is perfectly normal for kids to want to be accepted and respected by other kids. However, choosing a musical instrument based on what other kids think are cool is a different story. For one, they may end up with kids instruments that are not recommended for their personality and just ends up failing especially if they are not really into it.

If this seems to be the case, calmly talk to your child. Make them understand how their preference is more important than that of other kids. After all, they will be the one learning and not them.  Encourage your children towards the instrument that can bring out their talent and skills and music. More importantly, do not forget to commend them when they make progress.


Kids Instruments for Boys and Girls

Just like in the field of children’s sports, there are musical instruments that have been stereotypically attached to certain genders, like in the case of drum sets being for boys only back in the days. Fortunately for everyone today, this way of thinking seems to have dissipated throughout the years. Imagine being a girl wanting to play the drums so eagerly but being told it’s for boys only. Disheartening, right?

Children today can have more freedom choosing their musical instrument without having to worry about old gender issues. As long as it suits your child’s personality, age, and physical capacity, boy or girl, it is theirs for the taking!


Kids Instruments For Younger Children

We have all seen kids younger than 8 impressively play a musical instrument. If your child shows a particular interest in one kids instrument at a younger age, encourage them without putting pressure. If you want to build their interest early, perhaps around the age of 6, do so gently. Do not force them especially if they do not pay much attention.

A small violin can be a good start for kids younger than 8 since this instrument does not have keys so your child can just enjoy and freely explore the sounds that they can make. Afterward, they can decide to choose their own instruments later on based on their developed understanding and interest in music. A piano can be a good start as well for similar reasons. However, keep in mind that most younger kids may not learn it as efficiently as kids over 8 years old.


Musical Instruments by Age

Child’s AgeRecommended Musical Instrument
4-6Piano
Violin
7-10Piano
8-10Guitar
Clarinet
10Trumpet
Cornet
10-12Drums

Growing-Up

Some children who have successfully learned how to play a musical instrument in their childhood years may move on to other instruments as they grow up. Just like when introducing kids to new hobbies that may suit them, allow children to experiment with other instruments so they can explore more of their potential in music. If they want to be in a band or be a future rock star, be supportive of the changes that they choose to explore. It is always better that you are there as a parent to guide them as they go than to keep on restricting them and be no longer privy to what is going on with them. It’s a musical instrument, after all, and which parents would not be proud knowing their kids have a musical talent? Right, none.

 

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