Many parents are
presented with the idea of music lessons by their children. That's
because children have a natural love of the sweet and happy sound of
At around six years, many
kids will want to start an instrument because they see their friends doing
so, and because most school instrumental programs do not begin until the 4th
The two most common
choices are the guitar or the piano.
The correct choice
actually, is up to your child. In fact, if they said they wanted to play
the bassoon because they saw it in a movie, I'd let them have a shot at
it. Seriously, you want the child to be happy that they were allowed to
make the choice. They will have more fun with it if you let them have
their way with this choice at first. Later, when they are wildly bored
with the bassoon, suggest the piano or the guitar.
But most kids will want
piano or the guitar, anyway. Which might be the better choice for a
Here are a few things to
guitar is rather the more glamorous choice, perhaps because of the
"Elvis Syndrome" that entertainment for kid's drums into them.
But the guitar is deceptively difficult to get started with for most
kids. First and foremost, a guitar must be tuned by the player or it
will sound very bad, and the child will not want to play a bad,
discordant sound. Tuning is not easy to learn or to maintain,
especially for a child beginner. So unless you are prepared and
qualified to tune the guitar, I'd stay away from it unless the child
insists. If the child insists, learn to tune a guitar, quickly.
piano, on the other hand, needs to be tuned twice a year at very most,
and is always ready to play a tune if you want to. Pianos tend to be
more rugged than the guitar, which is really quite fragile because of
the thin neck and the tendency for six year olds to drop and generally
abuse things. It's fairly hard for a child to abuse a 500 pound
guitar is arranged such that the two hands perform two different
tasks, the left hand pressing the strings, and the right hand
strumming. The piano is arranged such that the two hands perform
largely identical and interchangeable tasks. Thus, in terms of the
usage of the two sides of the brain, the piano might seem easier for a
child, still building the neuron path between the two hemispheres. And
frankly, it is easier for kids. The piano has the added advantage that
it can be played fairly well with an index finger alone, which is
easily within the comfortable motor skills of the average child of
this age. That's a big plus for kids who are by this age refining
the coordination of their arms and legs, and fingers.
Ultimately, the guitar
will win out as the child gets older and there are more and more images of
cool guitarists. Many kids, boys especially, who are faithful piano
students when younger, drop it when they approach puberty because they
begin to see guitar as cooler.
But as far as musical
education goes, the piano is a far easier instrument on which to gain a
deep knowledge of musical theory, perhaps because on the piano there is
only one unique piano key for each note, whereas on the guitar the
entirety of notes must be divided onto only six strings, making
calculations and motions sometimes beyond the reach of most kids. There is
a knack to the guitar that some people have and some don't. You have to
try it to find out which type you are.
Remember also that almost
every great composer has been at least a competent pianist, if not in many
cases a great one. This is perhaps because it is easier to play quickly a
huge variety of notes and sounds on the piano that the guitar cannot hope
Nonetheless, the guitar
is an endless favorite, a noble instrument that historically predates the
keyboards and has been a favorite for hundreds of years. Almost all
popular music nowadays and for the past fifty years has been designed
around the sound of a guitar.
Whichever instrument your
child chooses, music lessons and indeed all musical activities have
demonstrable benefits for children. Here are but a few I have witnessed
from piano lessons:
handling of tasks
Let your child try the
instrument they wish, and see the results. Then, move on to another if the
child wishes. It's important that the child feel part of the choice and
is excited at the prospect of learning the instrument, rather than having
a choice forced upon them.
also WHY THE
PIANO IS THE BEST CHILD'S MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
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