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A Teacher’s Guide to Selecting Musical Instruments for Kids

One factor to consider when selecting musical instruments for kids is their natural ability.If you have a classroom of eager kids who are ready to begin their musical journeys, you want to help each child take the right first step. These tips will help you select musical instruments for kids based on their interests, natural ability, personality, and age.

1. Interests

One of the best predictors of future success and enjoyment is a child's interest in, and love for, the instrument itself. If a child loves the sound of a violin and can see themselves playing in a symphony someday, chances are they'll excel as a violinist. That's not to say that kids shouldn't be encouraged to try instruments outside their comfort zone, but their preferences should play a major role in determining which instrument they'll play.

2. Natural Ability

If you notice that they have an aptitude for creating sound with a reed, that’s a strong indicator of their natural ability and affinity for a certain instrument. Let each child try out the main instrument groups to gauge their reaction and first notes: brass, strings, percussion, and woodwinds. If it’s music to your ears, you’re on the right track.

3. Personality

For kids who love being center stage, suggest instruments that often play solo, like flutes, saxophones, and trumpets. They play a higher melodic line and stand out from the rest of the band. Shy kids might prefer instruments that are generally placed further back in the band or orchestra and often enjoy playing the harmony. Those who are athletic or energetic will likely love the hyperactive percussionist role.

4. Age

Very young kids--especially those under six years old--often do best starting their music experience with the piano or violin. The piano teaches them the perceptual skills they need to play harmony and melody parts at the same time. And because violins are available in smaller sizes and don't involve the frets or keys of other instruments, children can focus on musical phrasing and the actual sounds produced without the distractions of disproportionate instrument size or confusing moving parts. Both the violin and the piano give young children a good foundation that will allow them to continue with those instruments or choose something new when they're a little older. 

For personalized help with choosing instruments for kids, feel free to stop by our musical instrument store in Fitchburg, WI or give us a call at 608.661.8600 today!

Check out more tips for teachers who are looking for better ways to incorporate music in the classroom here.