Selecting Musical Instruments for Children
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Selecting musical instruments for children seems like the responsibility of parents. Piano seems to be the starter instrument of choice for many parents who have pianos in their home. But what if your children don’t want to play the piano? Or, what if they like to plink upon the keys but have no interest in doing more than that? What’s a parent to do?
Playing an instrument has many benefits, including helping children learn patience, develop coordination, stimulate their creative juices, and so on. Some children have obvious talent, while others not so much. But, I feel that if the selection of musical instruments for children is left to their own choosing, their natural guidance systems will lead them to the instrument(s) that ‘sing’ to them.
Selecting Musical Instruments for Children with Different Learning Styles
In Child Sense: Helping your child pick the right musical instrument, Priscilla Dunstan of the Kansas City Star (Jan. 24, 2011) wrote a very interesting article regarding the tendency for even young tykes to gravitate toward certain musical instruments for children based around their dominant sense: visual (see,) auditory (hear,) tactile (touch,) taste and smell.
Here’s what Dunstan says about the musical instruments for children learning best through vision: Visual children prefer order and perfection. They do well with instruments like the piano because they can see the keys, and make the visual connection between their fingers, the keys and the musical notes. Further, in piano, how the musician plays and looks is very ordered, which is a comfort to a visual child. Even better, being able to play the piano is an impressive skill, one that friends and family will appreciate and praise something very important to visual children.
Musical instruments for children learning best through hearing are different: Auditory children will respond to the freedom of a string instrument. They are equipped with the skills to know, better than their classmates, when finger is off, making a note sharp or flat. Auditory children will enjoy the freedom of being able to create their own music, or being able to replay what they hear on the radio, rather than practicing off a score. Try to allow your auditory child this freedom in their musical learning.
Not surprising, the musical instruments for children who learn best through touch will be those played with physical components: Tactile children will enjoy group lessons, and will likely choose instruments that are physically demanding, like trombones, tubas, or cellos. They like being able to physically wrap themselves around an instrument and have a good laugh about it with friends. Tactile children are comforted by rules, and will try to follow them whenever possible, making them great band and orchestra members. They will love being part of an event like a concert, and find a performance with an audience exciting and fun.
And what about the musical instruments for children who learn best through taste and smell? Taste and smell children respond to magical-type instruments. They will like the flute or harp, for the way it feels, or because it might remind them of a special movie. Your taste and smell child may choose an instrument that her favorite cousin plays, or one that Grandma likes. You can use music to teach taste and smell children another way they can express their feelings. Music can be a great outlet for their special brand of sensitivities.
I found it fascinating to learn that certain musical instruments for children are better suited for certain kinds of learners. And, since I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I couldn’t help but think of Hogswart students going into Olivander’s Wand Shop in Hogs Meade. In this magical shop, young wizards do not choose their wand…the wand chooses them! It seems if only parents would allow their children to seek out their own musical expression, the instrument will call to them, and they will answer.
Do your children play a musical instrument? Which ones? Do they suit them? Please feel free to leave a comment about musical instruments for children in the box below.