When is it wise to learn a musical instrument?

Published on : 11 February 20192 min reading time

Listening to music is one thing, creating music yourself is completely different. In a parental home that is filled with music, where children like to sing songs and dance to music, at some point the thought arises of how beautiful it would be to play an instrument yourself. At what age does it make sense to start with a musical instrument? And which instrument should my child learn?

Musical prodigies such as Mozart, Anne-Sophie Mutter or Lang Lang began learning to play a musical instrument very young. Not because they were already considered particularly gifted at that time, but because it is quite possible to be mature enough at the age of 4-5 to devote themselves intensively to an instrument. It is not necessarily a question of musical intuition, but of the child’s patience, attention, perceptiveness, ability to concentrate and dexterity. And: at the child’s request to learn an instrument!

But how can children discover a desire for a certain instrument and how can it be distinguished from a current mood?

Children who have had their first experiences with music spontaneously show their preference for one instrument or another over time. It may be because of the sound, the form or the sensual experience of the material the instrument is made from. Sometimes it is also due to the way the instrument is played, the way the sound is produced. Also the frequent hearing of music directions, with which an instrument is used, plays a role. Thus the child used to classical music decides differently than the child used to pop or jazz. A restless child chooses differently than a calm, balanced child.

As parents, we should listen to the child’s desire for a certain instrument. Your child will enjoy a chosen instrument for a longer time, at best it will accompany your child for a lifetime. If you are not sure which instrument is right for you, let your child try out as many instruments as possible. It can happen in an instrument presentation with an orchestra, in a children’s concert or also in the music school in the early education group or on “open days”. In a one-year trial course, your child has the opportunity to get to know six different instruments in a playful way. They are taught an instrument for a few weeks. Such courses are called “instrument carousels”.

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