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Thinking of starting DD on an instrument?

(12 Posts)
joan24793 Wed 05-Jun-13 14:02:52

DD is 7 and I have been thinking of starting her on music lessons but, I don't know which instrument? I thought maybe piano because shes young and I've seen other children begin young and manage. Any ideas/advice?

brainexplosion Wed 05-Jun-13 15:00:19

What does she WANT to play?

quip Wed 05-Jun-13 15:27:07

Be guided by your dd.

But be aware that stringed instruments are harder than wind instruments to start off on. It takes longer to get to the stage of being able to play Christmas carols, say. However they are lovely instruments once you get going and very logical fingerings.

Piano is great though and will give your dd a good foundation. Have you got a piano at home already?

joan24793 Thu 06-Jun-13 13:04:56

My dd wants the violin, but I don't want to encourage her into something she may find too difficult. We haven't got a piano no, and I could imagine that's costly to hire?
I'll probably just let her decide and if she finds it difficult there's no harm in changing instrument. I just don't want her to be put off music if its difficult.

Does anyone know of any trustworthy music teachers we could try?

claraschu Thu 06-Jun-13 13:34:34

If you are willing to give her support and encouragement (as in: helping her practise almost every day and keeping in touch with her teacher about how to help her), that will make an enormous difference.

Here's my opinion about the pros and cons of different instruments, if that might be helpful (we are a family of string players).

Piano starts out being easier as you can play little tunes just by pushing the right keys down, and it isn't difficult to hold. It is MUCH harder to get to the stage where you can play with other people, and it can be a bit mechanical, especially if not taught well, as you are not physically creating the sound with your body. I don't think piano would come particularly easily to someone who struggles with reading because you have to learn to take in a lot of information at once, as you are reading several different lines of music at the same time.

Some wind instruments are initially easier than strings, but it is MUCH more competitive to get into an orchestra (4 flutes, over 30 violins), and the chamber music repertoire is nothing like as good or extensive. If you might have access to a jazz or improv group later on, there are opportunities to play wind instruments there.

String instruments are hard to hold and hard to tune at first. Learning to create sound on them is an ongoing process (challenging but fascinating), but, if you have a good teacher and the child and parents are both committed, you can quickly get into an orchestra or other group. The repertoire is amazing and the sounds are, I think, the most personal, maybe because they are closest to the human voice.

Guitar is a great instrument if the child likes folk and popular music, and it is easy to learn a few chords which will go with lots of simple songs. I think there are many guitar teachers who don't teach kids how to strum a few easy chords (which is what they would most enjoy), but teach a very plinky plonky sort of classical-ish guitar playing. I think a friendly guitar playing teenager and a few YouTube videos might be a good way for a 7 year old to start.

Any instrument is extremely rewarding and difficult if you are very advanced; this is just the beginning stages I am describing.

claraschu Thu 06-Jun-13 13:37:37

Sorry I should have clarified "struggles with reading". I wanted to warn you just in case; I know you didn't say anything about that in your posts.

Gunznroses Thu 06-Jun-13 13:40:42

You dont need to buy/hire a piano, just get a keyboard. ds is a grade 3 piano, did it all on a keyboard bought from Argos. Its after grade 3 that i'd start thinking of buying a proper piano.

joan24793 Thu 06-Jun-13 16:59:04

Wow, thanks for so much detail Claraschu, it's really appreciated. It seems that the instrument will be down to DD ( although I may be cheeky and favor her taking violin ). Just to find a decent teacher now!

mirry2 Thu 06-Jun-13 17:01:40

Why not start her with a recorder/ Its cheap, easy to play simple tunes and most schools (I think) teach them so she will have a head start if she likes it.

claraschu Thu 06-Jun-13 19:46:46

Of course that's just my opinion OP, so take it with a pinch of salt.

The problem with recorder is that kids (at least in our local school) get put off by the group lessons. There are too many children all making a horrible noise and they progress too slowly. Also, without one-to-one instruction, lots of 7 year olds don't get the hang of fully covering the little holes. (I think recorder can be a really fun way to start, but signing up for recorder group at school can also just be a downer, and less fun than having your whole lunch playtime.)

clairebaines Fri 07-Jun-13 10:25:16

I used the Arts academy when my son wanted music lessons. They are home tutoring so don't know if that's what your after but they are really good. I highly recommend them.

ZZZenagain Fri 07-Jun-13 11:54:21

She is young but not young to be starting an instrument, so I wouldn't choose piano on the basis of her age. She could also learn violin, viola or cello, or quite a few other instruments. I don't know about wind instruments, it seems tooth development can play a role. I have never looked into them so I couldn't advise on that.

If she likes the sound of violin, why not try it? You could also play her a few youtube videos of cello and see which sound she prefers. She could also go into a shop with you, look at the instruments and hold them.

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