Music plays an essential role in shaping the early years of a kid’s life. Along with instilling a love for music, it helps to ignite all areas of their cognitive development and skills.
Many child development experts opine that exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Playing musical instruments helps bring their body and mind to work together.
You never know if your child has an aptitude for playing an instrument and becomes the next musical prodigy. For this, you’d need to introduce them to music and instruments from an early age.
What is the best age for kids to learn music?
Past studies have concluded that early exposure to music and instruments helps children cultivate interest and the necessary motor skills required to play music in the long run.
Let’s take a look at what different ages you can begin introducing them to music lessons.
The age of four to seven is considered the ideal time to start learning musical instruments. Not only do your kids begin to understand the basics of music, but they also start learning any given instrument as quickly as possible.
According to PBS.org,
A growing body of research indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children. The mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime development stage, making it of utmost importance to expose them to music.
Parents who want their kids to learn to develop a meaningful relationship with music can start “music lessons” soon after birth or within the first year. These music lessons needn’t be formal because the goal is to develop skills in identifying music, melody, and instruments.
After birth to 3 years old
Babies easily fall asleep to lullabies and soothing music. When you introduce music at an early age, they will begin engaging with it. As they start growing, they will be able to familiarize themselves with music even more.
Experts believe that kids start recognizing a wide range of songs and instruments around age two.
By age four, most kids already build a foundation that prepares them for formalized music lessons. This is the age when they can start playing instruments to further their skills.
You can start weekly classes to take up the basics of music theory and learn to play in a group. If your kid desires to adopt it as a hobby, you can also sign them up for private lessons.
By age nine or ten, kids will amass various skills associated with playing their choice of instrument and physical strength. By this time, the music lessons should transit from only gaining experience to improving performance ability.
Some of the ideal instruments for early learners are Banjo, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Saxophone, Trumpet, Ukulele, Violin, and voice.
In summary, you should introduce music to your kids in their first year and start providing formal lessons when they reach the age of four or five. Although mastering the musical instrument will depend on your child’s learning speed and teacher’s ability, exposing them to music and different instruments will help them learn music naturally.
Factors to Consider when choosing the proper music lesson
This is what you have to consider when choosing the proper music lesson for your kid.
As mentioned before, age is the first consideration when choosing the proper music lesson for your kid.
A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in language acquisition and reading skills. Hence, you should seriously consider immersing your kid in music from an early age.
For late starters, you can consult music instructors to find the right instrument for your kid. Some are inclined towards string instruments, while others may enjoy percussion.
Choosing the right musical instrument
With so many instrument families and a diverse range of instruments within each family, choosing the right instrument is half the battle of learning to play music.
Choosing the right music starts with choosing the right instrument family:
Some instruments are expensive and hard to acquire. If chosen with great care, a quality instrument can last for years!
The group classes will be cheaper than taking a private class; however, when you see your kid advancing in learning the instrument or even mastering it, you must take private classes no matter what. The cost for taking private lessons will vary depending on what city or suburb you live in and the availability of instructors.
Top Eight Music Lessons for Kids
Here is the list of the eight most popular music lessons for kids aged five years and above. Check out this list of potential instruments that they can play and love.
The xylophone is probably the most accessible instrument to play by any kid’s age; hence, you would often find it in Nursery classes. Although young kids won’t automatically start playing the right tunes, they’d at least recognize the sound that can be an excellent start for beginners.
The xylophone belongs to the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. It’s a lot similar to Glockenspiel and essentially consists of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano.
You can easily find xylophones designed with bright colors and animation that your child will find fascinating.
How to start with Xylophone music lessons?
Start with checking whether your kid is up for xylophone.
- Before spending on a set, take your kid to a music store and let them familiarize themselves with it.
- If your kid likes piano, they will likely enjoy playing the Xylo.
- Once you’re sure, you should find one for your kid to practice on. Decide whether you want a used or a new xylophone. Most Xylo comes with either wooden or metal frames.
- A wooden Xylo is of better quality but more expensive. Metal xylos are cheaper and lighter.
- Ensure to get mallets.
Work on the fundamentals
- Toddlers don’t need xylophone lessons as they’re still too young to be with instructors. You should let them play with the instrument to keep themselves engaged.
- You can start with lessons for kids aged four or above. Find the nearest music instructor to help your kid with their first lessons.
- The instructor will primarily work on making them learn reading music, including other staff, notes, time signatures, musical notation, etc.
- Let them experiment with different mallets. Harder beaters produce sharper sounds than soft beaters.
Here’s a link to the YouTube video teaching kids to start with Xylophone.
This six-string instrument is probably the most played musical instrument by kids after piano. Kids gravitate towards the cool factor that the guitar brings, and it’s easier for them to emulate their favorite musicians.
Guitar, belonging to a string family, is a great foundational instrument for kids aged four and above. It’s great to teach about the basics of string instruments and develop the manual dexterity required to play other instruments.
You have a great many choices of the guitar when starting. Kids should pick up the guitar type that they feel inclined to. If they enjoy rock music, they should take up the electric guitar, which has low action and thin strings appropriate for small hands.
The acoustic guitar has a high action that requires applying more finger pressure and is lighter to pick up and play.
The beginners may find the strings that are set too high challenging to play. We recommend the proper string measurements as such;
- Electric Guitars 2-2.3mm
- Acoustic Guitars 2-2.7mm
- Nylon String Guitars 3-3.6mm
How to start with guitar music lessons?
- If you feel your kid being inclined towards guitar, you can start with these basic steps.
- It’s a good idea to wait until your kid is at least six years old before starting guitar lessons. The smaller hands mean harder to reach around the guitar neck.
- The younger the kid, the better the teacher needs to overcome the difficulties the kid will face.
- Motivation is the key to practice more. If your kid isn’t motivated to practice, they’ll end up quitting. This can be hard for some parents to fathom, but pushing children into learning guitar doesn’t always work.
- The goal is to instill wonder and excitement around music. Experiment with different things and find what interests your kid.
- You can find many YouTube channels and websites dedicated to teaching guitar to beginners. The beginner videos are great for learning basic string actions and chords.
- If you see your kid advancing in guitar, it’s time to take formal lessons. Guitar lessons typically cost anywhere between $20-$40 per 30-minute.
Ukulele is another great beginner musical instrument for kids. The ukulele is a guitar-like instrument from the lute family of instruments, and it employs four nylon strings.
The Ukulele is far easier to learn than the guitar and other stringed instruments because the soft nylon strings are gentler on fingertips. The small neck size reduces wrist tension, and fewer chords are easier to remember.
How to start with Ukulele music lessons?
- Kids as young as three can start learning Ukulele, but a good starting age is generally five and above.
- The most important aspect of teaching the Ukulele to kids is getting them interested in playing it. Once they’re interested, they can easily pick up basic chords, strumming patterns, and songs.
- Get an instrument from the store. Cheap toy-like Ukulele costs $35 and under. Most beginner and mid-level Ukulele start at $50 and go up to $150. The high-end instrument costs $500 and up.
- Start with basic lessons. Show them how to hold the ukulele and tune the instrument. The further steps should cover learning chords and strums.
- The essential basic chords to remember to play the most songs are C, D, G, and Em.
- You can find many tutorial videos and strum books that will help to get started with Ukulele.
- Most kids learn a great deal from free tutorial videos. You can take up private lessons to help your kid familiarize with the instrument or to install the interest.
The piano is one of the most played musical instruments by kids because it’s fun to play and offers advantages, including developing concentration, lowering stress, improving self-esteem, and advancing motor skills.
Although many parents force their kids to take up piano lessons, most kids are naturally attracted to the piano. With the right attitude and encouragement, kids of any age can start learning piano.
How to start with piano music lessons?
- The piano is one of the few instruments that combine all elements of music, including melody, harmony, rhythm, and dynamics.
- The best age to start piano lessons is between the ages of six and nine. It’s essential to determine when your kid is ready to start. Start with determining the physical factors like hand size, coordination, agility, finger independence, and social skills like the ability to focus and practice.
- Allow your kid to take up piano lessons in the school to start with instilling their interest.
- Buy a quality keyboard or kids piano from Casio, GoPlus, KORG, and Yamaha to avoid tuning pianos.
- Consistent practice is the key to learning the piano. Start with letting them practice 30 minutes every day.
- Keep the piano in an active part of the home so it remains accessible to them at all times.
- Focus on accuracy instead of speed. Kids should practice slowly to learn the instrument better.
- Once your kid is ready to follow directions from instructors, you can start with private lessons.
Drums are favorite musical instruments for kids and toddlers because they’re louder. Parents may be wary of buying a drum because of their noise factor, but the drums can be so engaging for kids starting in learning music.
The study has revealed that learning drums at an early age helps kids to understand rhythm. The best age to start is between 6 or 7 when they gain the mental focus need to learn the instrument.
Moreover, learning drums help to strengthen their ability to focus and work on impulse control.
How to start with drum lessons?
- Drums are great for young kids as it helps to develop their motor and coordination skills. Drumming is a multi-sensory activity that requires using multiple senses at the same time.
- Buying a 3-piece drum set right away is not a good idea. Let them practice junior drum kit and cymbals at the beginning.
- To make sure they have fun playing the drums, encourage them to practice every day and stay positive.
- Once they get the hang of it, you can consider buying them a basic set like Ludwig 5-piece junior drum set, Complete 5-Piece Black Junior Drum Set, or Alesis DM6 USB Beginner Electronic Drum Set.
- The advantage of choosing an electronic drumset over the traditional one is that you can plug in a headset to the electronic drumset and listen to it without creating any loud noises.
- If you see them getting better at it, consider taking them to private lessons and let them alone to experiment.
- More importantly, protect their hearing by limiting the practice session and buying well-cushioned earplugs or earmuffs.
The recorder is a common choice for kids who enjoy playing wind instruments. If your kid loves playing flutes when they’re young, they’d love to pick up a recorder as it’s easier to learn than other wind instruments.
With enough practice and instructions, kids can quickly master the recorder, which is often a rewarding experience.
Most instructors advise that you let your kid learn recorder when they’re six or above because learning to develop coordination takes a long time for kids younger than six. It can take as long as 1/2 to 2 years to develop this coordination for kids below six.
How to start with recorder lessons?
- Recorders are an excellent stepping-stone to more challenging wind instruments such as flute or clarinet; hence, you should encourage your kid to take up a recorder.
- You can buy a budget recorder made out of plastic for your kid so that they can practice anytime. Once they have learned to play the instrument, you can upgrade to wooden ones.
- Teach them to assemble the recorder. It comes in three parts; mouthpiece, finger holes, and bottom. Some recorders come in one piece.
- Explore video tutorials on YouTube and websites to start with the basics. For more expert instruction, consider providing private lessons where the instructor will correct tonguing technique, breathing, and fingering to get the right note.
The violin is a rather challenging piece of musical instrument for both kids and adults. It takes a lot of conditioning and practice to learn the instrument, which often requires perseverance and professional instructions.
Although an instrument from the string family, learning the violin is way different than learning the guitar. Most experts talk about the steeper learning curve and manual dexterity required to push through the initial learning stage that many kids lack in. Once they’re able to push through it, they can quickly master the instrument.
How to start with violin lessons?
- Start with determining if your kid is up to learning the violin. It’s a good idea to send them to music classes in school to get them familiarized with violin.
- Many instructors advise parents to encourage their kids as young as three to start learning violin, but it’s a good idea to wait until they’re five years old.
- The kids can’t simply learn to play the instrument by seeing the tutorials; hence it’s a good idea to send them to classes.
- Once they start showing interest, you can consider buying their first equipment.
- Buy or rent a quality violin meant for young players. Don’t forget to buy the bow. Your kid will also need other items like a chin guard, shoulder rest, carrying case, electric tuner, and rosin.
- They will need some uninterrupted practice every day, so ensure to create a flexible daily schedule.
- Find a violin teacher that specializes in teaching young kids. You can schedule a home visit or take your kid to the training center.
The trumpet is unlike any other musical instrument because it’s harder to learn. Learning trumpet requires kids to use a muscle that they don’t regularly use; hence it takes a while before they can start playing the primary melodies.
The trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. Many high school march bands also use trumpets which makes them a potential musical instrument for your kids. Scoring a place in the marching band can be the most awarding experience.
A good age to start playing the trumpet is at around 6 to 10 years of age. Many instructors advise your players to start with a cornet before moving into trumpets because cornets are physically shorter and easier to hold.
How to start with trumpet lessons?
- Start with introducing trumpet to your kid through school music class or private lessons. Many brass instrument schools are great for introducing the instrument to young players.
- Learning trumpet requires a lot of endurance and higher register playing, which often scares many beginners. With continuous practice and professional instruction, they can overcome it.
- Once they’re willing to start with the instrument, consider buying a beginner trumpet that costs $400 to $1200. Intermediate trumpets usually cost $1200 to $2300.
- With dedicated private lessons, your kid can explore seven different pitches of trumpet required to master the instrument. With continuous training and experiments, they can learn it within the next four years.
- Ensure to provide a daily practice time of 15 to 20 minutes to obtain a good and sustained sound quality.
How to make music lessons more effective?
Making your kids pick up a musical lesson is never easy. It often requires a lot of patience, money, and conditioning. The sooner they pick up music lessons, the easier it becomes for parents to encourage their kids. Moreover, kids can quickly become bored with the monotonous routine of music lessons and are likely to abandon after a while.
Fortunately, we have collected plenty of resources and methods to help you encourage your kids to complete their music lessons.
Explore student-instructor relationship
Taking private lessons is one of the most effective ways to mastering any instrument.
Many group classes are conducted with numerous students starting at different levels, making it difficult for your kid to enjoy the dedicated learning time. Private lessons can help eliminate the crowd and distractions.
Incorporate practical engagement
Music is best learned by doing, not by reading. Make their lessons active by incorporating practical engagement through daily practices.
Make the best use of tutorials.
The internet is filled with a great many resources for both learning and mastering an instrument. Your kid can take advantage of this by following different tutorial videos through music apps for kids.
Encourage them to join music groups.
Playing in a group helps to instill confidence and self-esteem. Encourage your kids to join music classrooms to meet with like-minded pupils where they can socialize and talk about music.
Perform to an audience
Performing is an essential aspect of music education. Allow your kid to perform in front of family members, friends, and guests. This will help to instill confidence and the ability to assess their skills.
How to introduce music to toddlers?
The age below three is the best time to introduce music to kids. Introducing music in their early years help to familiarize them with music, notes, rhythm, and musical instrument.
Here are some fun activities to introduce your children to music.
- Make a musical instrument with your kid from everyday objects.
- Sing to them!
- Teach them to whistle, which can be fun and rewarding.
- Play musical games such as musical chairs and clapping games.
- Let them play with different musical instruments such as flutes, xylophone, drums, etc.
- Encourage educational children’s TV programs.
To give them a great start, you should start enjoying the music with your kid. Let them pick their musical instrument because you can’t force your kid to learn something they aren’t willing to learn. Encourage them as both a parent and educator to strengthen their ability and confidence.