Creative Child

Kids Activities: Choosing a Musical Instrument

So your child wants to play a musical instrument? How exciting! Now, you must help your child pick out the best option for them. This is a perfect kid's activities project. Remember, though, let your kid decide which instrument they'd like to play. You want them to enjoy it.

Information to guide you through the options you have:

My own formal music experience began in 7th grade with the clarinet. Now, some 26 years later, as I reflect upon my choice of instrument, it's clear that was less than an educated choice.

I remember expressing interest in joining the school band.

"Would you like to play the clarinet?" My mother asked me.

"What's a clarinet?" I responded, sending my mom into a frantic search through the family encyclopedia for a picture of the clarinet.

In fact, the sole reason my mother had suggested the clarinet was simply because a friend of the family happened to have an old clarinet sitting around collecting dust.

Even though I still play and teach the clarinet, I've always felt I might have been better suited for another instrument. As you and your child take the first steps toward picking out a musical instrument make sure you take these thoughts into consideration.

1. The Instrument

If your child has a strong idea of what he/she wants to play explore that option. Take your child to a music store and talk to an expert in that instrument. This should not be a purchasing trip but rather an educational experience for you and your child. Ask the store employee to show you the various instruments and explain the uses for each. 

When your child picks out the instrument they want to play they will have a higher level of success with that instrument, because they decided they wanted to play it. Make sure the instrument is one of their choice.

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2. Speak with a Music or Band Teacher

These teachers are happy to speak with parents about students interested in music. They can also can give you information about the musical experience your child will be able to expect if they should enroll in the program.

3. Would They Rather Sing?

Does your child have a beautiful voice? Check out the vocal/choral program. Many school choral programs are active in the performance realm and have show choirs that combine choreography and song.

4. Other Ways to Inspire Musical Interest

Take them to a concert or orchestra. If you can't do that, visit your local library to find CD recordings of specific instruments and ensembles.

This will give you and your child a good idea of what kind of sound to expect from the instrument. It is important that a student likes the sound his instrument makes.

It has been shown that students who like the sound of their instrument will practice more often!

5. Practice Area

Make certain your child has a quiet, isolated practice area, away from the hustle and bustle of the household.

How to get your child to practice without tears.

6. Purchasing an Instrument

It's difficult to contemplate buying an expensive instrument for a child when you are not certain of his dedication or his long-term commitment. However, if you pinch pennies in the beginning and purchase a low-end student instrument, your child will very likely be discouraged. Lower-priced instruments tend to sound bad, break easily and need many repairs. On the other hand, I would not recommend rushing out and purchasing a top-of-the-line professional instrument for a beginner. We all know how rough kids can be on their belongings.

One alternative to purchasing an instrument right away is to rent one. Call your local music stores and ask for their instrument rental and purchasing options. Some stores offer rent-to-own plans, so ask for the details.

You could also ask the school music teacher about rental plans on school-owned instruments. Most school music programs own instruments and rent these to their students. Check the quality of these rentals though as some of them may be in a less than desirable condition.


Remember: All the guidelines given here are meant to help you through a confusing process. However, I would like to re-emphasize that your child's choice of instrument may need to override all other considerations. Discuss your child's choice with him, then come to an agreement. With a few careful considerations, playing a musical instrument can be a rewarding, life-enriching experience for your child and you.

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