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What age did your child start learning an instrument (and what was it?)

(38 Posts)
HorridHenrietta2 Sun 30-Oct-16 20:32:19

As title says, ds is 4, I would definitely like him to learn an instrument but when should I start him and where do you find a music teacher that teaches little ones? Thank you.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Sun 30-Oct-16 20:40:16

Depends on the instrument. For piano - they need to be able to stretch hands enough to have a finger on 5 separate white keys (about age 5 I'm told). Violin can be started earlier (Suzuki violin goes from 3 I think).

For other instruments, a big question is can they get a sound out of it - so you need to try a few out.

Really though - for music you need to let DS lead. Let him try/fiddle with a variety. If you push him to an instrument he dislikes, he won't want to learn.

Helenluvsrob Sun 30-Oct-16 20:42:30

We are a musical family , and apart from lots of informal singing they started piano and recorder at 7.

Dh is head of music in a prep and they have stopped recorders in year 2, though everyone learns from year 3 up. They do more singing and percussion type activities. The benefits of lots of singing at 5/6/7 is huge.

Unless you go down the Suzuki learning by ear route and can put huge amounts of input in , formal lessons, barring Mozart type kids, really isn't all that before they can reliably read and sit still well..

Even at 7 they need a lot of parental supervision for practice and it can fast become a miserable thing.

BackforGood Sun 30-Oct-16 20:44:42

Aged 7 for piano for all of mine. Plus they all started learning another instrument (trumpet, flute and guitar) at about 8. dd1 had had the opportunity to do about 6 weeks of descant recorder lessons at school before that.
I looked in to it quite a bit beforehand, and the overwhelming advice was they need to:
be fairly fluent readers
be tall enough / have a wide enough hand span / have adult teeth come through (depending on instrument) - but physically be ready
be able to concentrate during the lesson and commit to some practising between lessons

generally this tends to come together once they are 7+

notbothered12 Sun 30-Oct-16 20:45:53

All mine started piano in Year 2 so 6. And the DSs started a string instrument each in Year 3 so 7. They were all good readers in Year 2.

ClassmateHB Sun 30-Oct-16 20:47:36

Ds started guitar aged 8, and two years on still does it. Ds2 started aged 7 and gave up after a few weeks. Had a taster session of drum lessons aged 8 and he isn't quite ready. So depending on the instrument, and the child, around 7-9 for starting I think.

HorridHenrietta2 Sun 30-Oct-16 20:49:14

Great, that's a really good guide, will stick to general musical type activities for a few years then.
Thank you smile

sluj Sun 30-Oct-16 20:52:22

Both mine started trumpet at about 7 when the adult front teeth were in place. One then moved to a French horn a couple of years later.

InflagranteDelicto Sun 30-Oct-16 20:55:15

Both ds and dd2 did the wider ops in y3, on the cornet. Ds has stuck with the cornet, although he hates practising. He'll never get far, but enjoys playing in a silver band, and music is for pleasure, after all.

Dd1 has done serious singing through church since she was 8, and is progressing well.

Dd2 has just begun learning trombone. She loves the instrument, and is keen, although needs a fair bit of support with practise (means I've been learning the basicsgrin) but has to play D# instead of D because she can't quite reach!!!!

BikeRunSki Sun 30-Oct-16 20:58:08

Just 7 - Ukulele. music teacher comes to school straight after school and teaches groups of 4. That was a year ago, DS is still going and wants to move onto guitar next year.

Th whole school learns violin in Y3 (where DS is now).

gillybeanz Sun 30-Oct-16 20:58:27

Give him lots of opportunities to play music, listen to good music whichever genre you prefer.
Open his mind to all different sounds.
Go to a music shop and buy some small percussion instruments.
I got a huge trunk, like pirate chest full for under £100, but was about 10 years ago prices grin
Failing that, make your own cheaper versions.
Save the lessons until he is older, he will probably gain much more.
Music shouldn't be a chore, or hard, but fun.
Singing is free and is so good for their soul grin

My dd singing from months old, then echoing bird song, transport, usual everyday sounds. We showed her bits of music and she started formal lessons about 6, on violin. Teacher was recommended by a friend, we trialled for a while, it didn't work so we changed teachers and it was a good relationship for a few years.

I think it's important to let the child find the instrument. It might be completely different to what you'd choose. Watch some of The Proms with him and point out the different instruments. Listen to Peter and the wolf. grin

Some instruments you can't play at 4, this was why we put her off until she was a bit older, she still chose violin but she could have changed her mind.

LordPeterWimsey Sun 30-Oct-16 21:01:57

Piano lessons (through school) from 5. "Musicianship" classes and singing, but no other instruments yet (she's 6 now). I expect she will want to add a second instrument but we're going to let her lead.

ImpYCelyn Sun 30-Oct-16 21:07:20

Violin at 5 for DS1. Ds2 is 4.6 and wants to start. He could but I'm waiting til he's 5 at least too.
Practise is tough. Short and sweet works. Also I play along (also a violin player --but not a violinist, I'm way too rusty--).

Starlight2345 Sun 30-Oct-16 21:10:30

DS started guitar in year 3..

raspberryrippleicecream Sun 30-Oct-16 21:13:20

DS1 started trumpet at 8. Later switched to trombone/ tuba and is still playing at uni.
Also started piano at 10.

DD started violin at 8 and alto Sax at 9. Violin dropped after 4 years, but still plays Sax in bands at 16.

DS2 begged for piano lessons at 6, which I thought was a bit young. Gave in and he flew! Started clarinet at 7 and trombone at almost 9. He also asked to be a Cathedral Chorister at 9.

Wafflenose Sun 30-Oct-16 21:15:13

If you wait until 7-9 years old, a vast amount of instruments will suddenly become possible. I started my two on the recorder at 3.5 and 4 respectively, and now at 11 and 8 they still play. It's possible at 4, although slow. I now think glockenspiel is a great choice for a 4 year old - it has the same layout as the piano, doesn't rely on having big enough hands, and many have the notes stamped on/ different colours, so you can invent your own notation (letter names, colour codes or just a few tunes by rote for now). I wish I'd done more of that when my two were little.

Wafflenose Sun 30-Oct-16 21:18:14

I forgot to answer the original question properly...

DD1 (now 11)
Descant Recorder at 3.5
Flute (with a curved head joint) at 6.5
Treble Recorder at 7
Piano - waited until she was 10, and she is now flying with it.

DD2 (now 8)
Descant recorder at 4
Cello at 5
Treble Recorder at 7
Clarinet (much to my surprise) at 8.

The little one likes to pick out the odd tune on the piano, but is already doing enough. She does whole class trumpet lessons at school, and doesn't like them much. Both have ukuleles too.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 30-Oct-16 21:20:04

Piano and drums from age 7. Being able to read really helps. Plus reception makes them too tired to do much more than reading. It helps if they are old enough to see the link between practice and progress. Music shops sometimes have taster days when you can try different instruments. We got the piano a while before lessons and they enjoyed improvising.

JemimaMuddledUp Sun 30-Oct-16 21:21:26

DS1: Piano at 7, violin at 10
DS2: Trumpet at 7
DD: Violin at 6

HardcoreLadyType Sun 30-Oct-16 21:22:19

DD2 started the violin at 3. For her, it was much too early, but then, she did like identifying as a violinist, so I don't really regret it.

DS started when he was 5, I think. That seemed a good age, although he isn't such a lovely player as DD2 was at the same age, but that's more to do with her being more musical.

One of their teachers once told me he started to learn at 13, and was playing with the LSO at 21. I'm guessing it wasn't his first instrument, though.

HorridHenrietta2 Sun 30-Oct-16 22:05:06

Brilliant, thanks for your input, there's a music school near me so they might have taster days. Will leave it a good while yet though.

Ferguson Sun 30-Oct-16 22:32:24

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about young children learning 'an instrument' - and sadly some parents force it on a child, or seek reflected glory for themselves if a child progresses.

Our DS started 'playing' on our Yamaha organ, at two years old; by 4 or 5 he was starting to pick out tunes, and teaching himself to read simple tunes. To him it was a great big 'fun' toy, and he absorbed music because he wanted to, and at that stage there was no formal 'teaching' or 'learning'.

Fleurdelise Sun 30-Oct-16 22:46:38

DD started piano a week after she turned 6 and clarinet a couple of months before she turned 9. But she was getting ready for formal lessons since she was a baby, my FIL is a musician so he introduced her to singing since she was a baby (all day long, she still does it), I still have these lovely memories of them singing together when she was about 2, he also introduced her to musicals, she loves them. We also listened to classical music so when she did start formal lessons she doesn't feel in a different world.

sofatrainer Sun 30-Oct-16 22:51:55

10 and drums
We are the least musical family

FV45 Sun 30-Oct-16 22:53:19

DS1 started acoustic guitar aged 13 and is now a very proficient player. Does A level music and plays in a band. He never showed any interest before then though did sing in the choir and did dance so creative and musical things.

DS1 aged 7 just started drum lessons and his brother teaches him ukulele. We'll see how things progress.

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