By Mercedes Killeen
Choosing a musical instrument can seem daunting. Many parents pick something they think their child will like, but which the child ultimately isn’t really interested in. Then, the student loses motivation and eventually gives up.
It’s also pretty common for music students to start out with one instrument, lose interest, and then stop playing altogether. It can be difficult to find the right choice for you/your child, but there are some tips to keep in mind. Let’s look at the best ways to team up with the right musical instrument.
Dos and Don’ts
In general, there are some basic tips which hold true for most people:
- Choose an instrument you genuinely enjoy playing. This might seem obvious, but it’s not always a given. Pick an instrument which brings you joy! Test out different musical instruments, and pick the one that you find fun. You can do this either in music class or even at a music store. Get a feel for a few different instruments.
- Choose something you like the sound of. This is where your own musical taste comes into play. Think about your favourite songs—which instruments are being used? Let this guide you. If you find an instrument cool/interesting, you’re much more likely to stay engaged with your studies.
- Choose something that’s realistic, in terms of size/weight. You also want to be practical. If you are very young and small in size, make sure you can actually carry your instrument. You’ll need to bring it to and from school/lessons, so this needs to be realistic.
- Don’t feel like you need to splurge. While it can be tempting to buy a super expensive instrument for you/your child, it’s likely best to start small. Tristan Greene writes, “We suggest you start cheap. You can leap out of the gates and buy something gig-worthy if you want, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a beginner’s model when you’re a beginner.”
- Don’t pick an instrument out of obligation (and don’t pressure your child to do so). It really doesn’t make sense to pick a musical instrument due to pressure from others. If your parents are insisting that you play the piano, but you really hate playing the piano, try to explain this to them. At the end of the day, you need to be able to keep up with the practice, and that’s way easier to do when you enjoy the instrument.
Note: If you’ve already picked an instrument and no longer enjoy it, you can try all of the above tips. But also keep in mind that it could be best to stay within the same family. For example, if you tried to learn acoustic guitar, maybe you’d like the ukulele instead. See if there are any similar instruments which can build off your existing knowledge. If not, keep looking!
In summary, you/your child should try out different instruments before choosing one. Experiment with several options (if possible) before landing on your preferred instrument.
Once you’ve tried some instruments out, pick one which brings you happiness. Don’t just base your decision on what your parent wants you to play, because you’ll lose interest pretty quickly. (And, if you are the parent, try not to pressure your child into what you want for them.) Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your music lessons.
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Mercedes Killeen is a Toronto-based professional author and editor. This article was written for Axtell Music.
For Mercedes freelance services visit fiverr.com/killeenm