Children below the age of 8 can be fickle-minded about almost everything, simply because this is the exploratory stage and everything in the world before them can be fascinating. Being an Asian parent myself, it is tempting to assume we parents know the best. While this may be true to some extent, the only way they can learn is through exploration. After all, I recall that during my younger days, piano is one of the most commonly sought-after musical instrument to pick up. Not anymore today. The young are exposed to various genres of music through various media. Musical instruments are also more easily available, and relatively affordable.
At Perfect Pitch, we have created such a program called PerfectStart™ 1+3 for children and their parents who are undecided which instrument to pick up. It consists of one 2hour class covering 4 instruments. The child gets to be the judge to pick their instrument of learning for the next 3 one-on-one lesson. Since the start of this program more than a year ago, we have very positive feedback from many parents. Most of the time, parents were amazed at what their child chooses, then goes on to truly enjoy learning the instrument… and continues doing so for a long time!
At the ages before the child enters primary school , it doesn’t really matter which music instrument they start with. All music instruments will cover all the key foundations to music: beat, tempo, pitch and dynamics. There is not an instrument which is more “superior” than the other, although there are some instruments more technically and physically challenging to begin with. Some instruments, due to the sheer weight and size, will be more suitable for bigger kids. That is the reason why most of the common instrument classes would require a minimum starting age of 5 to handle the instrument properly.
So which instrument should one start with? It also boils down to the objective of learning music. I think most parents would agree that you do not send your child to music lessons for the primary reason for them to be a professional musician when they grow up. We know, from well researched articles that music, as with all the other arts, develops the child’s imagination and creativity. Above all, it cultivates commitment, discipline, social skills and builds confidence too. So any instrument would be fine for your child. As long as he or she enjoys learning the instrument, no matter how long it lasts, the journey would be a rewarding one for the child, and for you too.