Children can gain a huge amount of pleasure from learning a musical instrument, plus it can also boost the development of vital skills. Here we look at the benefits of learning a musical instrument.
Being able to read music and play a musical instrument is very rewarding for children and can boost their confidence enormously. Anyone can have a go at learning an instrument and, if children have the opportunity or inclination, it’s a possibility well worth exploring.
You can encourage their interest in music by making them well aware of different music styles from a young age. This could be through listening to music at home or on the radio, or taking them to concerts. As an introduction to an orchestra and the many different instruments in existence, going to a concert featuring an orchestra is a great introduction. Sitting near the front will give you a good view of what’s going on and they can see the different instruments more clearly.
Skills Learnt Through Playing An Instrument
Learning to play an instrument provides children with a range of skills, many of which are transferable and appropriate to various different situations. For example:
- It helps them gain the ability to read music and make wonderful music through playing an instrument.
- It provides patience – as it’s not easy or straightforward to get to grips with an instrument.
- It boosts self-confidence – playing music helps children feel good about themselves and their achievements.
- It helps improve motor skills, as there are special techniques you need to use to master each instrument.
- It helps children feel part of a group and have a sense of belonging.
- If they play in an orchestra or have group lessons with other peers, then there’s the added benefit of improving their social interaction skills too.
When Can Children Start Learning Instruments?
Children can begin to play some basic instruments, like the recorder, from the age of four to five, and the recorder often features in primary school music learning. In general though, children could start to learn the recorder as soon as their fingers become big enough to cover the holes.
With other woodwind and brass instruments shouldn’t be learnt by children until they’ve got their second set of teeth, as they put pressure on the teeth and it could cause problems. String instruments such as violins can be played by children as young as six years old, although their first attempts sometimes put parents off the violin!
Like violins, guitars are available in mini sizes for children and are mostly suitable to be learnt by children from the age of eight upwards. It depends in part on a child’s size and their ability to be able to stretch their hands.
Some schools still offer the chance to learn a musical instrument, especially the recorder to start with, and instrument lessons may be available through your Local Education Authority’s Music Services. If you’re not sure, it’s worth enquiring to find out what’s available in your area.
There are also lots of music teachers across the UK offering private tuition for children of all ages. If you’re not sure which instrument your child would like to play, or be best suited to, then a music teacher may be able to offer them the opportunity to try out different options.