As a parent, you want to expose your children to as many interesting experiences as possible, and that includes exposure to music. Most music teachers agree that it is not a good idea to expose children to formal music lessons too early because that is a sure way to put them off music. We recommend avoiding lessons before the age of eight, unless they show a real interest in children’s musical instruments before then. Expose them to different styles and genres of music. Take them to live music experiences as often as you can.

They should be able to recognise numbers and know the alphabet up to G before taking up a musical instrument. They should also be developmentally ready as well, both physically and emotionally. For example, children should wait until their second set of front teeth are fully grown before picking up the trumpet or cornet.

The recorder is a very popular first childrens musical instrument, and is a good introduction to other wind instruments as a child grows. When played well, it can be played up to concert standard, and can be a very rewarding and beautiful instrument. A child can play a recorder early, as soon as his or her fingers are big enough to cover the holes.

For other wind and brass instruments, the child needs to be big enough to hold and blow them. Strong lips and being able to produce a good “puff” is crucial. These instruments do not usually come in smaller equivalents, and when they do (the piccolo or soprano saxophone, for example), they require a higher degree of skill, so they are not good choices for young children. Most children start with the cornet and progress to larger and more complicated instruments as they mature.

The piano can be played as soon as a child can reach the keys and have enough strength to press them down. Some children can handle a violin as early as age four, but most start the violin when they are six. Stringed instruments often come in smaller sizes, so children can start playing them at a young age. Some stringed instruments can be one-eighth the size of full sized instruments. Most guitars, for example, come in smaller sizes and are suitable for children age eight and above.

Sometimes children and their parents forget that the singing voice is the perfect musical instrument. Children should be encouraged to sing from a young age and have confidence in their own ability. Singing is something that all children can be involved with and is a great group activity for school music sessions.


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