Advice please on helping a young child enjoy and continue with taking up an instrument?(23 Posts)
Please can you share with me any tips on how to help a child in the early years to continue to enjoy learning an instrument? Does it depend largely on getting the right teacher/ come from them/ a combination or are there helpful ways to make practicing more fun?
I'm feeling a responsibility to DS (5) as he's shown an interest in music and taught himself a lot on the piano and wants to start lessons, on the recorder. But what if he finds the discipline of lessons too much? or are there ways to keep it mostly positive?
in essence I see some children after a while resent the pressure to practice and am not a tiger parent but also don't want to pay for lessons unless he wants to make an effort and do something with it!
My DSD is a total whirling dervish but manages perfectly well to have keyboard lessons - the lessons actually improve his concentration and enthusiasm for crazy. I wouldn't encourage the recorder though due to it not being a 'proper' (in terms of being able to join the school band/orchestra) instrument if he wants to take it further.
Thank you. I do hope the same goes for DS! And that's interesting to hear about the recorder; Thank you
At 5, I would absolutely recommend recorder - all the primary schools I've worked in have allowed recorder players in their school orchestras, and also the secondary school too! As well as being a great instrument in its own right, it's extremely transferable to all the other woodwinds for children of around 8/9+, and learning to read music is useful for any instrument they might move on to. I'm currently teaching all of Year 1 at the private school where I work (6 weeks' trial lessons, after which they can choose whether or not to continue). At the village school, I start them in Year 2, but I started my own children at 3 and 4 years respectively. Here is my older daughter (she's now 11, but this is an old video) showing that the recorder can be great all by itself. Excuse the 'interesting' camera work... my DH thought he was being clever, but it just looks silly!
And the more mellow treble recorder... this is more recent, but I'd forgotten about it. It sounds nicer, but has a completely different set of note names, and neither of my girls were big enough to play it until they were 7.
A good Keyboard (full size keys, and 76 of them) should have enough to keep him occupied for at least ten years!
A Keyboard can interface with computers and other electronic instruments, for composing, recording, multi-tracking, and playing in styles appropriate to the various instrumental sounds (probably around 500 of them). It will also have several 'drum kits' so the student can create rhythms and backing tracks for literally EVERY style of music.
[Search my name and other music terms to see my other entries on the topics of music for children.]
For a full range of sounds and features, see the Piaggero NP-V60
(the NP32 has limited facilities.)
Thank you so much amd Waffle she sounds amazing ! Wow, I've never heard the recorder played so well . i do feel conscious i am not a music teacher nor musical so not able to support him much!
Ferguson he would love that I suspect and we already have 2 good pianos (they were already here) but it's helping him along with it that I feel unable to do. his school introduce more music in year 2 though and encourage individual lessons then too.
I think it would be fine to start him on short individual lessons, but please let him choose the instrument himself. In a few years, many other possibilities will open up, but for now he could do keyboard, piano, recorder, violin, cello, ukulele. I would recommend 5-10 minutes of practice per day, but if he doesn't feel like it sometimes, then that's OK.
Is he just 5 Daffodil? I started mine when she was 4.5 or nearly 5 with the piano and for 1.5 years it was mostly on listening to her teacher playing nursery song, her learning was really slow. It came to the point that our neighbors' children who shared the lesson with us quitted and my daughter was so bored as no progress made I knew I had to change teacher to make it a little more serious for her to be engaged. I personally think it could be too early, recorder seems a wonderful instrument to start. Piano: might be after 6 years old(unless anyone in your family can play well so he has seen and listened to piano playing since young age. Violin however could be an instrument that you can start early. I heard people play suzuki method and going through books rather than exams like abrsm. You can start this book at young age. My daughter plays violin and piano however it still takes alot of nagging everyday for her to practise.
He is nearer 6 and wanted to do the recorder rather than piano which he says he can already play(!)
It's nice hearing your thoughts and I sometimes wish a music student boarded with us so DS had an enthusiastic role model!
I think the child needs to choose! He's an OK age for recorder, quite young for piano, and there's plenty of time. I'd go with what he wants, and he might well add piano later, when he's reading music well. I think piano is under-rated as a second instrument - everyone in my village seems to start at 6, and a fair few have given up by 8!
Daffodiltime he sounds really cute! For what it's worth, I loved learning the recorder at around his age. I just had the class lesson for a year when I was 7, then moved up to middle school and played in a lunchtime group. If only I'd known then that recorder lessons were a thing! If that's the instrument he wants to learn, I would go for it!
My 5 year old literally plays the worlds smallest violin.
It's a good choice as you can get a tiny one -like the ukulele.
Another recorder fan here. It is a " real" instrument you know 😂 , my youngest has just done her a level recital today on it.
10y old dd plays recorder. Really enjoys it! Went on a recorder day recently (and even got to play tenor and bass, never having seen them in real, let alone played on it before). but yes, opportunities a bit limited to play together (at her school), but not impossible.
Even if just to start with recorder I think it's a great instrument. In my old age, I don't play/can't play my brass instrument anymore but can still join in with dd on the recorder.
I heard an interview on radio 2 at some point this school year with chris evans inyerviewing recorder players. There are different types that make different sounds. You might be able to google it??
My dd loves wayching youtube videos of recorder lessons. Theres one of taylor swifts shake it off! And it is simple too!
My dd also has violin lessons. The key there for her is low pressure.
Just to add DD is 9 and plays piano. She would love to play in the orchestra but can't. It's usually the music teacher who plays this to lead the orchestra. Whereas there are several recorders in the orchestra.
My little one started piano and recorder aged 5. Her teacher is fun, understanding, kind but expects her to work well and encourages her when she does. She loves it. She began the clarinet 15 months ago (an Eb small one) and has moved onto a Bb now. She loves all the music so practises happily. In terms of keeping her interest, I try to expose her to all the opportunities possible, workshops, ensembles, concerts, youtube. She had a wonderful time at the Proms last summer and the free workshops with those, she loves the Sparks programme with the RCM. There's lots of opportunities.
See if you can find a teacher who uses the 'colourstrings' method en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colourstrings?wprov=sfla1
It's child led and has a very different approach to teaching music. My daughter started music classes at 4 and will take an instrument at 7, son started at 2 and will probably take instrument at 5/6 as he's super keen. I'm currently in the waiting room whilst DD has her lesson
Definitely go for recorder if he's keen to learn it. There are so many amazing things happening in the recorder world at the moment. Have a look at the national youth recorder orchestra or BBC Wales orchestra are premiering a piece later in the month with one of the girls from young musician of the year. Really inspirational stuff. Also have a listen to this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V7AExB1y9kQ
From a teachers perspective, if he wanted piano lessons too and you haven't already got one, don't go for a keyboard that plugs into a laptop or a really basic keyboard. They don't have all the functions needed for even the most basic exams/pieces. I have a few students with these and it's a nightmare. Especially when they have used their computer time before the lesson and we have to wait for a parent to grant permission.
I'm going to read this all through again I'm so grateful for all the help. I think I feel particularly anxious when it seems his 'thing' and I've always felt music is a world foreign to me, like a different laguange only other people have .
He had his first recorder lesson at school and was enthusiastic which was a great start for him who finds new things scary.
daffodil you've had some good advice - I just wanted to add that it's a mistake to think that if a child chooses the wrong instrument to start with or stops after a few years that it's necessarily a "waste".
My DD started recorder at 4/5 and we stopped the lessons when she was 10 because she wasn't practising. She was about grade 5 standard, so reasonably competent but there were no signs of any particular gift. That might have been it for music, but a year or two later she picked up a guitar, and within two years was good enough to play semi-professionally. She also started piano lessons two years ago and is about to take the local equivalent of grade 8! She can also play a bit of sax (alto sax has same fingering as descant recorder).
The recorder lessons were "wasted" in that she doesn't play recorder now, but the early exposure to music education has made it possible for her to take up other instruments and progress very rapidly once she was motivated to do so.
In a less impressive way, I also play a bit of music having had piano and clarinet lessons as a child - you don't really lose it (or it comes back very quickly). I attend an adult jazz/contemporary guitar class and have a significant advantage over other students because I can read music and have a bit of theory.
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