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Can anyone suggest an instrument for mildly dypraxic DS?

(37 Posts)
thatsenough Sun 04-Dec-11 11:23:04

DS (age 6) is desperate to learn an instrument like his school friends, but I'm not sure piano or violin (which seem popular choices) would be the best choice as he has poor finger strength and grip.

We are not a musical family, so I have little clue of what would be best but I have been putting ideas of brass instruments in his head - we are still waiting for his adult front teeth and he is getting more impatient as he sees his friends trotting off to lessons every week.

His instrument of choice for the last few months has been a harp! God knows where he got the idea from, but I have neither the money or the space for one.

Any suggestions would be appreciated thank you.

LIZS Sun 04-Dec-11 12:08:51

ds plays a brass instrument - just a few keys to worry about ! Could he try recorder in the meantime to get his fingers moving and learn to read music

thatsenough Sun 04-Dec-11 12:29:25

Thank you LIZS, they do have a recorder group at school that I could ask about and we do have a toy version at home that he plays with - he can just about manage London's Burning which is the only song I can play!

PurplePidjInAPearTree Sun 04-Dec-11 12:46:32


You don't have to be as accurate about where your fingers go as on a violin, the strings are lighter (nylon as opposed to wire-bound on violin/guitar), it's nice and quite, you can learn loads of pop songs on it, and it's eminently portable.

I know people who own and work at this shop so that or a similar deal will be good value for money

Wafflenose Sun 04-Dec-11 17:42:27

Something where the fingers are reassuringly visible would be good. Trumpet might be suitable - not too big, doesn't require the finger accuracy of recorder or clarinet and only uses a few fingers of one hand. I have taught saxophone to someone with dyspraxia. He found it hard to start with, then did well and made a nice sound, but you need to be very much older for that. I would have thought recorder would be hard for a dyspraxic child (am wondering if I might have taught some without knowing though?) because the fingering and blowing has to be very precise, but if he can already manage a tune on that he'll probably be OK on most things. Agree strings and piano are difficult.

mrswoodentop Mon 05-Dec-11 23:38:30

My dyspraxic ds learns the cornet ,smaller and lighter than a trumpet.He has had a lot of gun with it

madwomanintheattic Tue 06-Dec-11 00:08:27

we got dd2 a keyboard precisely because she has really poor fine motor control. blush
she can't do blowing and her fine motor is too shot to hold an instrument up and work her fingers though... she would love to play the recorder but it just doesn't work.

she wants to learn guitar but we're holding off for another year or so.

mrswoodentop Tue 06-Dec-11 07:52:31

Sorry meant to say fun not gumblush

3kids2many Sat 10-Dec-11 18:30:48

My dyspraxic left handed son has played the trumpet/cornet since he was 8 he is now 11 and also plays the piano. he has taken to both like a duck to water.

3kids2many Sat 10-Dec-11 18:31:57

He never got the hang of a recorder.......................

mousysantamouse Sat 10-Dec-11 18:36:13

brass instruments are good for that, euphonium (sp?) or trumpet/cornet. but should wait to start until the new front teeth are through.
you can get good mutes (silent brass) so tbat the noise isn't an issue.
brass instuments are great, low maintainance, don't break easily, sound not horrible quickly...

Themumsnot Tue 13-Dec-11 18:40:36

My dyspraxic DD1 took up the violin at age 7. She is 14 now and Grade 4. She will never be a brilliant violinist, but she plays in school bands and orchestras, is doing Music GCSE and generally getting so much out it. She chose the instrument initially and I was a bit dubious, but it has genuinely done amazing things for her fine motor control and wrist strength and helped a lot with her co-ordination as well. She took up ballet too, which again was a bit counter-intuitive, but although she has struggled from time to time to keep up with the more naturally able children in her class it has improved her gross motor skills beyond all recognition.
The key is to let them choose the activities themselves and not put them off because they are not naturally suited to them. Sure, she has had to work hard and struggle in both violin and ballet to achieve a level that many children might attain quite easily, but she values haer achievements all the more highly because of it - and so do we.
We are also unmusical ourselves, but we found that just being supportive in the normal parental way was enough to help her. Let him go with what he is naturally drawn to.
Having said that DD2 chose the cello - bulky and expensive - I could have done without that so maybe steer him away from the harp!

ZZZenAgain Wed 14-Dec-11 13:11:22

Cornet might be doable for him. I would maybe start with singing. In this way he can learn notation, rhythm, etc before the manual manipulations.

Guitar is not as difficult as violin. You can see where you are putting your fingers for instance and you need not place the left hand quite as accurately, also the frets help. You do need to be able to place fingers with the left hand, whilst doing "running fingers" - alternate index and middle finger on the strings and other methods to pluck so it is not easy either.

You can get small harps by the way to get started on or even just to stick with as a folk music instrument. Have you seen those?

If it is a choice between piano or violin only, I would go for piano, because the notes are set out there in front of him which makes the theory easier to understand. If as you say, he is only mildly dyspraxic, it may need a bit of time with things but he will get there IMO

ItsSnowDarling Thu 12-Jan-12 10:02:51

I really must appologise to all of you, after posting I got caught up in the whole Christmas madness and forgot all about the thread I'd started, it was only when DS started to talk about instruments again last night that I remembered.

Anyway thank you for all the suggestions, I am waivering towards a cornet or brass instrument as I think he'll find it easier. Although interestingly DH has suggested a keyboard as it might help him in the long term - unfortunately DS is very much a give up if he can't do it straight away type of child and I am reluctant to invest in a keyboard if he's not going to use it.

The folk instruments sound interesting and I will have a look at those.

aliciaflorrick Thu 12-Jan-12 10:06:40

My dyspraxic son plays the piano it's helped his fine motor skills and his concentration levels - with a piano you can get a tune out of it fairly quickly so it helps keep their interest. My DS will never be brilliant but he takes a lot of pleasure from his piano lessons and enjoys playing.

Lancelottie Thu 12-Jan-12 10:11:38

Another dyspraxic brass-playing son here! (In fact, I'm looking at the whole brass band in a new light... maybe they all have coordination problems?) I've since been told that music was the best thing we could have done for his motor and brain development all round.

We went for euphonium, which sounds very mellow and was initially cheap as the local band lent it to us for free and did starter lessons for £20 a term, as it's a 'rare breed' instrument. Five years on we've had to buy one (it's about 50 years old but still cost £600 -- ouch) and cough up for proper lessons (also ouch).

Not-at-all dyspraxic DD also plays brass but finds it a bit loud for her tastes.

ItsSnowDarling Thu 12-Jan-12 10:15:56

I'm really pleased with the parents of dyspraxic parents saying that it can be done!

I need to do some more research and find out what is available locally, the school do provide lessons at a cost, but it might be best to find somewhere away from school.

We are still waiting for him to lose his front teeth which is very frustrating.

And loud would be good (for DS, not me!).

Lancelottie Thu 12-Jan-12 10:32:15

Euphonium is loud, all right...

Also very heavy, but as DS's teacher said when he was little, at least it pins him to his seat!

ItsSnowDarling Thu 12-Jan-12 10:34:16

Heavy could be a problem as his upper body strength is poor. Lower body is fine and he's a great little skier and quite fast on his feet too - trying to get him to kick a ball is a whole other problem though!

Colleger Thu 12-Jan-12 13:25:12

My son has undiagnosed LD which seem similar to dyspraxia. He plays the bassoon and although it is big he has a spike on it so most of the weight is taken by the floor. He can also sit and play. He too has quite poor upper body strength.

Colleger Thu 12-Jan-12 13:25:43

There is also a mini version which would be lighter and more manageable.

Lancelottie Thu 12-Jan-12 13:27:58

Hmm. Cornet and trumpet are actually more of a problem, then, as you do need a strongish arm to hold them up, whereas the euphonium, tuba and tenor horn sit in your lap (at least when you're little).

vixsatis Thu 12-Jan-12 13:30:33

My son is dyspraxic and learning the piano was a disaster.

He now learns the tenor horn (switched from the trumpet for some reason I don't really understand) and has singing lessons. He particularly enjoys the latter

ouryve Thu 12-Jan-12 13:37:09

A wind instrument, where breathing and fingers are coordinated rather than whole arms and hands doing entirely different things would possibly be easiest. I'm mildly dyspraxic and learnt to play the flute and recorder to a fairly high standard (yes, it is possible to make a recorder do more than just squeak and it's often a good place to start). I never got anywhere with guitar or keyboards, though (heck, I rely heavily on spellcheck to make my posts legible and relatively coherent on t'Internet!)

ouryve Thu 12-Jan-12 13:42:10

And this thread just goes to show how different people can be, even with similar sounding difficulties.

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