What’s best musical instrument to learn first?

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  sesuna 4 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #187420

    bfpro

    Hi my 5 year old son loves music. I have bought him some of the first act musical instruments and he is always playing with them. I want to send him to get some formal training in learning how to play an instrument. I enjoy listening to music but I have never played.What do you think would be the best instrument for him to begin learning.

    #997990

    DivasMomma

    drums are great if you want to learn beat quickly, but i would say piano is great for learning melodies and such…gl!!

    #997999

    DK615617

    I would say piano. You have to learn bass clef adn treble clef which sets you up for almost any other instrument. You also learn to use BOTH hand, verses primarily one hand as with a lot of other instruments. With the piano there is a wide variety of music available……harder to have that variety on some of the other instruments (try playing melodies from movies or radio on the violin, it isn’t the same!!)
    Guitar is also a great choice, but for a child that young I would go with piano. There hands are small for reaching the chords on a guitar. Plus with a guitar or other stringed instrument there is the issue of tuning it everytime you pick it up, as well as proper placement of fingers (making it difficult for a young child to master) With the piano if you know the right note, you press it down. :)
    I teach piano lessons to kids as young as 4. If you call for a teacher and they say the child is too young run the other way. No good teacher will turn down a 5 year old without having met them to see there maturity level. I was 5 when I began lessons. I also teach violin. I do not generally recommend string intsruments so young. I know that most of the research done on music making kids smarter involved piano lessons due to the fact that they have to read both clefs and use both hands at the same time. It does wonders for the brain!!!! :)
    Good luck making your decision. If you do decide to go with piano lessons and you live in the US, I can give you the name of a teacher in your area that is affiliated with the National Guild of Piano Teachers, a great organization that encourages children to enjoy music. Teachers that are in the organization have great standards and offer recitals and other opportunities for their students.
    If you have any other questions feel free to pm me.

    #998043

    bkallens

    My husband’s degree is in Music Education and he always says that our son is going to learn piano because it provides a great foundation for starting any other instruments down the line. If you don’t have a piano, you can get pretty nice electric piano’s with weighted keys that feel much like a real piano. I like that I can play on my electric piano with headphones on and not disturb the whole house!

    #998047

    mcmama

    What are the first act instruments? Are these an early childhood set?

    To answer your question:

    Violin.

    Yes.

    Violin.

    When they are properly instructed, and there’s a group component such as Suzuki, it is really great. You can size violins and cellos to little hands and bodies. But they have to grow into pianos.

    They learn fast. It is not easy. It is very rewarding.

    When children start violin, and then later they start piano, they often give up the violin because the piano is an easier instrument. If you wait until third or fourth grade (age 9 or 10) which is customary in American schools to introduce strings, you lose a lot of opportunity. Also by then, some of them have started with piano, or group recorder, and they don’t want to struggle with the basics. But when they are little, they take to the challenge.

    Get a teacher who knows how to teach violin to little kids. Get a violin that is sized right (usually 1/16 or even 1/32 for the littlest).

    I used to be an administrator of a music school for strings. I don’t play, but I have seen the youngest children succeed quite well.
    [URL="http://musiced.about.com/od/beginnersguide/a/vsizes.htm"]http://musiced.about.com/od/beginnersguide/a/vsizes.htm[/URL]
    [URL="http://www.elisabethmorrow.org/summerstringfest.html"]http://www.elisabethmorrow.org/summerstringfest.html[/URL]

    #998054

    Labhaoise

    I do not play any insturment at all, but I would have reccommeded the piano aswell. Simply because when I started learning it, it was easiar than guitar… my fingers could simply not stretch enough to make the chords. Whatever you choose, make sure that you try and make it as fun as possible, so taht your son enjoys it.

    #998058

    DK615617

    [QUOTE=mcmama] When children start violin, and then later they start piano, they often give up the violin because the piano is an easier instrument.
    [/URL][/QUOTE]
    I must say that this comment to be rather silly. I am not trying to offend you, but if you do not play either instrument, than who are you to judge? As a music major, who is very capable on both instruments, I totally dissagree with you.
    With the piano you are reading 2 clefs at the same time and then playing 2 different things with you hands at the same time! I have adults that I teach that are good on the violin but can barely do basic songs on the piano….they lack the ability to do 2 different things at once. (like patting your head and rubbing your stomach) :)

    [QUOTE=mcmama]
    If you wait until third or fourth grade (age 9 or 10) which is customary in American schools to introduce strings, you lose a lot of opportunity. Also by then, some of them have started with piano, or group recorder, and they don’t want to struggle with the basics. But when they are little, they take to the challenge.
    [/URL][/QUOTE]
    This is not true either. It all depends on what school you are in as to what age they start you as a group. Around here some start at 5, some at 12. I don’t start any students on strings until they are at least 8. I am sure Suzuki works great for 5 year olds, but they are not learning note reading skills which is part of the whole “music makes you smarter” thing that all the parents are after.
    I don’t know what opportunity is missed by starting strings later, after the piano. I found violin to be easy, and I was always ahead of everyone else because I had the knowledge from the piano.
    I have never had a violin student drop the violin due to the piano being easier. I have never heard of such a thing.

    [QUOTE=mcmama]Get a teacher who knows how to teach violin to little kids. Get a violin that is sized right (usually 1/16 or even 1/32 for the littlest).
    [/URL][/QUOTE]
    No matter what instrument you choose you need to make sure the teacher is good. What school they went to is not nearly as important as what they do with the kids. Do they have opportunities for them to perform in recitals? Do they offer any competitions? (some kids thrive on that, while others don’t like it at all) If they do is it manditory?
    Word of mouth is the best way to find a teacher, or you can call a music store (Steinway is great for knowing which teachers are good & they are happy to help you find a teacher)

    #998064

    mcmama

    I was a music major. A singer! Don’t have great keyboard ability, and had to really work on ear training and ensemble.

    I taught early childhood music (ages 3-5). Not violin. Rhythm games, songs, music and motion. Some of the kids were also taking piano or violin or cello.

    My kids played piano. I sing and play guitar. They also played violin, but got the customary late start.

    Yes, you are learning two clefs with piano – polyphany, two hands, chords, harmony, melody, synchopation. But when you make a sound on the piano, it does what is is supposed to. With violin, as with any string instrument, you learn to make the instrument make the sound. So that is what I meant by easier instrument. It does become an issue for some children.

    Young violinists who don’t have opportunities for keyboard or for ensembles can be at a disadvantage. But at the music school where I worked with teachers from the prep division of Manhattan school of Music and Juilliard, I did see children who would drop violin once they started piano. Easier gratification. Less problem for parents getting them to practice piano rather than violin.

    Little ones who learn with family support in private and in groups can learn a great deal with violin with a teacher who understands how to teach the very young, and with opportunities to play with other children.

    And yes, Steinway is a great place to find out about teachers – in some areas, teachers will use the showroom hall for recitals, and give students the opportunity to try different pianos. Local colleges, universities, and church or synagoge music programs are great places to ask too.

    #998086

    QueenAngie

    Good for your son!

    Encourage his musical talent and gifts!

    I come from a very musical family too.
    Growing up, I thought every family had a grand piano and a metronome in their music room.
    My elderly Dad is a retired minister and still plays the grand piano 2 – 3 times a week for enjoyment.
    He also plays several instruments – the accordian, the organ, trumpet, drums, french horn.
    My elderly Mom was a vocal major and also enjoys playing the piano.

    My personal talent is not exceptional, but it is enthusiastic.
    And as an adult, it is purely for my own pleasure.
    14 years of choir,
    6 years of piano,
    8 of flute & piccolo,
    1 year of organ – but I am not coordinated enough to do 2 hands and 2 feet at the same time.
    Guess I’ll never be able to fly an airplane or a helicopter!
    *giggles*

    Two of my sisters are music therapists.
    One played the church organ weekly for 25 years.
    Several others are in their church choir or soloists.

    My entire family learned to play the piano and at least
    one or more musical instruments in school.

    Two sisters have had their children go through the Suzuki violin method. Then piano.

    Violin first?
    Piano first?

    My parents always said the piano first, musical instrument 2nd.

    The most important thing is to start your child on something that interests him or her.

    Encourage that talent and daily practice.

    #998138

    bfpro

    Thank You all for your great replies and help. Iam leaning towards piano. He doesn’t mind he just wants to learn to play music. Does anyone know of a teacher or place to go in the Queens area of New York? I don’t have a piano and don’t really have room for a piano.Is it necessary to have a piano in the house for him to learn.

    #998141

    DK615617

    It isn’t necessary to have a piano, but you would need a keyboard with full size weighted keys. You need to have at least a keyboard, because practicing is very important! :)
    I will look up your area to find out who I would recommend.
    You are lucky, I beleive that the Steinway factory is in Queens!! I think they do tours, it is amazing to see how they build the piano, by hand!!!! My husband goes up there for training from time to time. It is an amazing place!

    #998144

    mcmama

    Check out Queens College in Flushing. They have a wonderful music school, and I am sure you can make some connections there.

    Also, Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music may maintain directories of people who have been affiliated with them in some way who teach in your area. They also have prep programs for young children which may be of interest. It’s good to look into whatever resources they may have in NYC, whether for teachers or for concerts, classes, or special programs.

    #998146

    mcmama

    [quote=Labhaoise]I do not play any insturment at all, but I would have reccommeded the piano aswell. Simply because when I started learning it, it was easiar than guitar… my fingers could simply not stretch enough to make the chords. Whatever you choose, make sure that you try and make it as fun as possible, so taht your son enjoys it.[/quote]

    There are guitars now that are sized for young children. One of my son’s friends started on this when he was 5, because he was more interested than piano or any of the string instruments. They changed guitars as he grew. He kept this up for a while, and then when he was older followed his brother to the woodwind section. Today he plays sax, and he is in 9th grade.

    #998149

    ruthann8

    I loved music! My school didn’t offer band until 4th grade, so my mom had me take piano lessons to learn how to read music and then when I got to 4th grade I choose the sax and then in 8th grade I started the Oboe. The Oboe was by far my favorite.

    In my opinion I would start with the piano until they are able to decide what they want to pursue. Some instruments take a certain amount of physical coordination that a 5 year may not be able to do very well and may get discouraged. And some instruments sound awful if not played properly further discouraging a child. But you probably know best how coordinated your child is!

    I never pursued the piano after I started the sax and to this day I cannot get both of my hands to cooperate to play the piano. I can read the music I just can’t get my hands to work!

    #998154

    DK615617

    212-246-1100
    Here is the phone # for Steinway Hall in NY, they should have a list of teachers on hand for any area of NYC. I would call them to see who they would recommend.
    I put a call in to the National Guild of Piano Teachers as well to find out who is in your area.
    I hope you find a teacher that your son likes!
    Steinway is really good about keeping a list of qualified teachers on hand.

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