Sports and activity information for the ALL STAR in your house

Web Search


Selecting a first instrument

Fundraising Ideas
How to choose a music teacher
Musician's Friend Review
Types of bands and required instruments

Choosing a First Instrument for Your Child

Childhood is a wonderful time to learn an instrument.  Children have a limitless capacity to absorb information.  In selecting your child's first instrument you must keep in mind their age, finger dexterity, size of hands, length of arms and ability to carry the instrument. 

There are certain instruments that a small child will not be able to physically hold because of the weight.  In addition, they may not have the physical strength to produce a tone on certain instruments.


Band/Woodwind Instruments...

In general, band instruments, like the flute and clarinet, are best if started in fourth or fifth grade.  These woodwind instruments require finger dexterity. The small size of a child's hands and arms will definitely make it impossible for them to play even a simple melody on one of these instruments.   Small fingers will not be able to properly cover the tone holes on a clarinet. The flute requires long arms, since the instrument is held out to the side.  The saxophone requires larger hands and fingers to reach the keys.



Brass Instruments...

The brass family, require a lot of wind which is physically impossible for children under 9 years old.  Brass instruments work best with firm, straight, permanent front teeth and thin lips. Trombone playing will require long arms. Tubas are heavy and bulky to carry, so a small child will have difficulty.




Traditionally the first instrument of choice is the piano.  The instrument requires fairly simple movement and you can get immediate gratification from simple combination of notes.  The downside of the piano is that the instrument is large and you need to have the space to keep it. A child does require good coordination to be able to play the piano. 



String Instruments...

The string instruments are also a very good choice for young children because they come in a variety of sizes to fit any age student.  Violins are smaller than Violas but both require sufficient arm strength to hold up the instrument. In addition, they are small instruments that will not be difficult for your child to transport.  Cellos are larger and more difficult to transport. 



Guitars come in left or right handed and acoustic guitars come in different sizes.  The guitar however is difficult for young children because it will make fingers very sore.  An electric guitar with solid bodies may be too heavy for a young child to handle.


Percussion Instruments...

Percussion instruments normally start at the age 7.  You will find that they come in a variety of forms from small hand-held drums to complex systems.  Practice pads are an alternative to a full drum set. 


It is also important to keep in mind that the lessons for some instruments can be more expensive than others.  Also, the cost of purchasing or renting the instrument will vary.  Some instruments can have high repair costs and others may need additional equipment.

The important thing to remember is that changing from one instrument to another is quite common and easy to do once your child has been taught basic music theory.