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any music teachers about? 6 yr old boy... what instrument?

(29 Posts)
threenoisyboys Fri 03-Sep-10 21:01:09

hi all,
Im after some advice. my 6 1/2 year old boy is very keen to start learning an instrument and i was after some advice.
as he'd going into year 2 his school now offer cornet or violin. He is VERY keen to do cornet/ brass but i read somewhere that he has to have his grown up teeth at the front(they are not even wobbly yet)... is that correct?
other option could be piano ( I played a bit in my teens so would be able to help him practice)but we live in a cottage and I'm not sure we would physically get a piano through the front door.
any other instrument suggestions that might grab him and would be good for a musical novice??
thanks x
p.s. I'm honestly not being a pushy mum. he is a very quiet chap and generally avoids club/ after school activities but has got very excited about starting to do music

scurryfunge Fri 03-Sep-10 21:02:32

Oh, I would get him a drum.

Definitely grin

domesticsluttery Fri 03-Sep-10 21:07:03

DS1 started piano lessons once he turned 7, and DS2 looks likely to do the same. His teacher doesn't insist that they have a piano to practice on, a keyboard/digital piano is fine as long as it has full sized keys and the full number of octaves.

(I'm not a pushy mum either grin)

mumoy Fri 03-Sep-10 21:13:11

The best thing is to find out what he really likes because then he may actually practise and want to keep going - take him to a music shop and see what he goes for!!!!
My daughter was four when she expressed (understatement of the year!) an interest in the harp, but we did not start her on lessons until she was 5. Two years on she is going strong and still loving it.

threenoisyboys Fri 03-Sep-10 21:22:49

hmmmmmmmm well he REALLY wants a trumpet/brass instrument.. cornet seemed good idea. i will have a chat with school on monday about teeth issue ( is that true by the way- does anyone know?)
I havent even consider keyboard rather than piano.
I might plan a music shop trip... (any friendly ones in suffolk/norfolk???)
harp is AMAZING!! wow I am v. impressed

JeffVadar Sat 04-Sep-10 10:50:50

DS plays the tuba, and his teacher says that it is easy to switch between brass instruments as your mouth changes. So I would go for the cornet.

It takes quite a long time to get good on the violin, so he will make quicker progress on the cornet too. If he is keen, then go for it and good luck!

ihearthuckabees Sat 04-Sep-10 11:27:00

Why don't you join the abrsm forum and ask the teachers there (associated boards of the royal school of music -

I'm not a brass teacher, so wouldn't want to comment, but as a woodwind teacher I would not recommend someone starting so young. I don't feel they have the physical strength yet. Strings are fine (and I think it's even advantageous to start early on violin). But as someone above says, it's is important that he feels an affinity to the instrument. If he doesn't like violins, there's no point in making him learn it.

Piano is a good option for this age groug, and has the advantage of teaching him treble and bass clefs (right and left hands) which will be handy if he ever wants to learn a lower instrument (like cello, trombone etc), but not all teachers will accept pupils who only have a keyboard. The touch of a piano is very different from that of a keyboard. A keyboard can be a good temporary option until you know whether he will enjoy learning an instrument, but then I'd recommend a digital piano - smaller than an acoustic and light and easy to move around, but similar touch to a piano (the more expensive ones are pretty good imitation of a piano IMO). Hope that helps.

musicposy Sun 05-Sep-10 01:42:39

I am very sure you need adult teeth for brass instruments. Your embouchure will change as your baby teeth fall out and the new ones grow, making it very hard to learn properly during this time.

Violin or piano would be good. Digital pianos are excellent nowadays and will last you right up until the very highest grades, fit in relatively small spaces and are not too expensive (plus they don't need tuning, saving a potential fortune). I definitely wouldn't recommend starting on a keyboard unless you have no other option (I let pupils do it as a temporary measure, but once they know they want to continue, I push hard for them to upgrade). This is because you really need to build up finger strength from the beginning - beginner books are designed to gradually do this - and keyboards do not have weighted keys. If you change from a keyboard once you are further along you will hit problems with technique.

musicposy Sun 05-Sep-10 01:43:47

However, you could learn keyboard on a keyboard grin. It's not the same thing!

snorkie Sun 05-Sep-10 11:06:25

There's a book called 'The Right Instrument for your Child' that has interesting advice about choosing intruments. It recommends going and trying out some at a shop so your child can see which he likes. It also has some personality type tests as it thinks certain instruments suit more active children & so on. As I recall, it reckoned brass was generally best for more energetic kids and strings for the quieter sit-down types. It also covers things like the teeth issue as well (I have a hunch you are right about that). Piano is a more solitary instrument, and you don't get the option to join a group with it until you get very advanced.

Lancelottie Sun 05-Sep-10 17:10:57

That's interesting about the brass for brassier types. DD has learnt cornet for a couple of years now and is doing just fine, but is starting to yearn after a cello. She's the epitome of sit-down types, whereas her rowdier brother seemed to try everything under the sun before falling in love with his wretched euphonium. i don't think my car can fit a cello AND a euphonium at once...

DD started before her front teeth fell out BTW, and we were thoroughly lectured on here for it. I blame Mumsnet for the fact that her teeth fell out the following week (and the six-month gap in lessons that followed).

BTW DS was ushered into his secondary school brass band, wind band and G&T music group before they'd even heard him play, which is a minor benefit of playing a rare breed instrument!

Lancelottie Sun 05-Sep-10 17:13:24

A further BTW:

Our secondary school brass band (ordinary comp) has around 12 boys and one girl. The string band has pretty much the opposite proportions. If your boy isn't your typical footbally type, he might have more chance of finding like-minded boys in a brass group.

Katisha Sun 05-Sep-10 17:24:15

I always feel solo instruments are better as second instruments and that you are always better off starting with piano. Goves you a lot of musical knowledge early on. And you can play it by yourself without needing accompaniment/res f band or orchestra...
How about a Clavinova - full size and touch sensitive. YOu can often pick them up second hand.
I bought one when I lived in a terraced house as you could also turn it down! YEs a real piano is the idea, but not always possible depending on circs. (Am ex music teacher and now work in the classical music industry.)

Katisha Sun 05-Sep-10 17:25:12

Sorry about typing...

clam Sun 05-Sep-10 17:31:04

You could fit a digital piano through a normal house's doorways. And I've decided they "count" as proper pianos now. Used to be a bit catsbumface about them, but succumbed when I couldn't hack being without a piano in the house any longer (used to play to a high level and missed it) but the only place to put it was under the open stairs and they were short enough to fit.

Don't know whether this might be an issue for you one day, but I have heard ....<< lowers voice to a whisper>> ... that "unusual" instruments can be useful in the selective secondary schools bunfight. Along with weird sports to a high level.

fsmail Sun 05-Sep-10 17:35:47

My DD likes the drums and is a quiet type but it is a good way for him to express himself loudly without being centre of attention which he would hate. Drummers are normally at the back.

He tried the violin at 7 but enjoyed it a little but has stuck with the drums for over a year now, so doing well. He is now also teaching himself keyboard and is also sneakily trying to have a go on the guitar when his Dad not about (guitarist in a band) as he does not want his Dad to teach him. I would just bear in mind that they will change and drums take up a lot of room and are quite pricey.

It is easier to pick up a good second hand keyboard and violins take up hardly any room. The ukelele is supposed to be the easiest and I am teaching myself that at the moment and it is going well. I could never cope with the guitar plus they only cost about £20 for a starter. I learnt the flute at school which was easy to learn and to carry round. Much easier on the ear for parents do than most other instruments.

pigsinmud Sun 05-Sep-10 21:14:26

Dh is a brass teacher. Your son would need his adult front teeth - top and bottom. They need to be fully through. Dh would not be impressed with a teacher who taught a child wit their adult teeth.

I'm not sure about the personality thing. Ds1 is very shy, but plays trombone in the school orchestra. Dh is pretty quiet and he's a trumpet player!

pigsinmud Sun 05-Sep-10 21:15:58

That should say "without their adult teeth" not "wit"!

Southwestwhippet Sun 05-Sep-10 21:20:43

My brother was desperate to learn the French Horn but had to wait until he was seven, something about developing his ambature.

Both my brother and I started on the violin, at seven he gave it up to play his much long for brass instrument. However the musical skills he had learnt on the violin stood him in very good stead, ie reading music, understanding phrasing etc.

I think the general advice is to stick to piano and strings until about age seven.

AnyFuleKno Sun 05-Sep-10 21:23:54

agree with snorkie, that book is brilliant

Clary Mon 06-Sep-10 01:06:20

My DS2 is 7 now but starte dpiano at 6yo.

Advantage is that it's pretty quick to get something that sound snice (unlike violin IME!)

Yes he is too young for brass or woodwind, teeth/finger reach.

If no piano, have you looked at digital piano - not much cheaper but much more portable.

Lancelottie Mon 06-Sep-10 12:24:11

Ah, Schilke, we meet again! Yes, I remember it was your DH who kindly came on and explained why we shouldn't let DD start so young. Their teacher apparently started cornet at 2 and a half (brass band family for generations, and he was principal soloist with the NYBB at something silly like 13) so he was a bit bemused when I mentioned it, but we did give it a break anyway. For DD, it was more a case of assuaging the boredom of pootling along to her brother's lessons every week and not getting to make the noise herself!

wheresthegin Mon 06-Sep-10 16:08:55

Brass teacher here....
Wait for teeth to grow properly. A yr 4/5 child will make quicker progress than a yr 2/3 child, and there will be no danger of harming the teeth growth. Nothing lost. I personally think yr3's are generally too young for brass.
Just my opinion. Cornet nice to start on though. Or tenor horn.
Get him learning the piano as soon as poss though!

lovecheese Mon 06-Sep-10 16:33:20

Can I hijack a wee bit?

DD aged 6 has expressed an interest in learning to play the violin, god help us, after trying one out at an open session. I have done a bit of research and it seems like the only option locally would be a private tutor at nearly £15 a session. Now I am loathe to buy the thing and sign up for a course of lessons if she hates it after 5 minutes.

Does this idea sound reasonable - I can get her to a local, well run music club at the weekend to have a go at playing the recorder; my theory is this would see if she can get the hang of reading music and understand tempo etc; if she likes this, then consider the violin. What does anyone think?

mumoy Mon 06-Sep-10 21:24:44

When my DD started playing harp we found a great private tutor the price of a half hour session was £10 to start but that was because she was so small (5 years old), we discussed beforehand that we would take the lessons on a week by week basis - if one week she was really doing well the lesson might go a bit over half an hour but if on another week she was tired or just playing up as 5 year olds do we would cut the lesson short. This worked really well, two years on she is now doing one hour lessons comfortably. I would try and find a tutor who would be prepared to let you pay on a week by week basis to start with. I know they often rely on the income so we have written into our contract that a cancellation period (4 weeks notice)and I also pay for late notice lesson cancellation (less than 24hours before a lesson. It works for us and because my DD loves her lesson only illness keeps us away!
Also find out how much it costs to hire an instrument until you are sure(we are saving up feverishly now to buy her a harp!)as up to now we have been hiring but are now convinced it would be worth buying one, unlike my cousin who bought her DD and DS all their instruments and now has a cupboard full of unused instruments!
Good luck with it all and don't forget to buy ear plugs!!!!!

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