Music Lessons – Choosing a first instrument to learn

by / Friday, 11 July 2014 / Published in Advice
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Music Lessons –  What’s a good first instrument?

Piano?  Guitar?  Drums?  Cello?  Ukulele? Kazoo? :)

Are you thinking about music lessons for yourself and/or your child?  We’re often asked questions like “My child wants to learn music, what instrument should s/he start with?” or “I want to take singing lessons, but I’ve never done music before, how should I start?” or “My son wants to play guitar but his hands are still small, what else can he do?”

There are a few factors to consider when thinking about music lessons:

1) Motivation:  Why do you want to take music lessons?  Some people are inspired by seeing or listening to a certain player.  Others are familiar with the benefits of studying music (read more here) and would like to experience the benefits themselves.  Sometimes we are looking for a social outlet, other times, we long for something that is uniquely ours and gives us time to ourselves.

Also consider psychology – do you like to see immediate results?  Do you think you will want to stick with the instrument and improve or would you rather play something that it relatively easy to learn where you could perform competently quite quickly?

2) Physical considerations: Some of us are never going to play the guitar or electric bass well because our hands are small/not terribly strong.*  Equally, people with larger hands/fingers may have difficulty on a small instrument such as the violin.  Some instruments such as the concert harp can be heavy and unwieldy. (*On the point of small hands and guitars, Daisy Rock make great guitars for girls, with smaller necks)

3) Family: We know of one family who raised a string quartet.  It was never especially clear whether the children chose their individual string instrument but by the time the youngest was 10, the family had a lovely string quartet who were well known in the area (and, importantly, each child was happy with his/her instrument).  At least it’s fewer children than trying to raise a football side!  :)  We don’t advocate this approach, but if you have more than one child think about how/if you’d like them to share learning an instrument (in which case the piano is the practical choice) or if you’d like to encourage diversity in their musical explorations.

4) Future scenarios: For families, consider how your child’s music education may fit with his/her overall education.  It may sometimes be advantageous to play an unusual or difficult instrument.

Given that we started this post with a few questions regarding music lessons, we’ll do our best to give an answer.  Actually, it will be two.  The first answer is if you or your child love a particular instrument, go for that.  The love of a certain instrument will go father than anything else to encourage practicing, discipline and improvement.  Who knows where that will take you?  The second answer is in the case where you don’t have a strong feeling for a certain instrument, the piano is really the perfect place to start.   A solid few years of music lessons on the piano set the stage for playing any other instrument and understanding music theory.   No other instrument accomplishes this quite as well.

What are you waiting for?  Why not get in touch and we’ll find the perfect music teacher for you.

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