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What to look for when choosing first instruments for young children -
When looking for musical instruments for young children, you want to make sure they are engaging, fun and child appropriate. There is such a wide variety of children’s instruments available out there and it can be hard to know what to look out for and which to choose to ensure you are providing your children with the best musical experiences possible. As a music teacher who has used many an instrument, I know that if you do compromise on quality, you will be compromising the durability, intonation and value.
Ensure you consider these four things:
High quality and durable
When a child is playing with their musical instruments day in, day out and potentially not being as gentle as we would like, it is essential for the instruments to be made of high-quality materials, that are durable and sustainable. After all, we want them to last!
This is imperative. Instruments that are pitched (e.g. xylophones, glockenspiels, bells etc) meaning they make a sound or sounds that have a high or low tone, should be in-tune with correct pitch and intonation. This is important, as if one key of the instrument is either sharp or flat, meaning the pitching is incorrect, your child is going to be hearing it consistently out of tune, which will have an impact on their developing aural and auditory skills.
Safe and Child-friendly
Child-friendly instruments should be made with materials that are non-toxic and as natural as possible to ensure the safety of young children. As babies explore things through their senses, in particular their mouth, it is important that they will be safe and protected in doing so.
Bear in mind where your child is at in terms of their development, so that they can appropriately play and explore the instrument. Are they at an age where they can pat a bell? Or perhaps a little older and they can use a xylophone or drum mallet? Can they follow simple rhythm patterns and musical concepts? Make sure the instrument is appropriate for where they are at now, but also challenges them to grow and provides them with an opportunity to learn new skills. This will make it all the more fun!
With the right musical instruments for your child, they will be captivated in a wonderful world of magical, musical play and exploration!
Written by Michaela Ivory, Music and Singing Teacher, “The Musical Mum”.