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Music for kids

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basil

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Does/will your kid learn to play an instrument? At what age should you start? Which instrument?

DH thinks our future kiddo should start playing the violin at 5 or 6, cause that''s what he did, though he never plays anymore. I think piano cause I always wanted to play piano as a young kid, but I couldn''t until we finally got one when I was 12, and I always felt like I missed out on a lot of years. And kiddo taking lessons gives me an excuse to buy a piano
 

pennquaker09

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I started piano at 3/4. It was something that my mom put me in. She made a point of exposing me to different things. I can''t give you a reason for why I kept at it, but I studied piano until I was 18. As I got older, tt was something that I really enjoyed. So, obviously, that would be my instrument of choice. I think it''s a good one to begin with.

Technically, I have a piano, but there are two reasons why it''s still in Alabama. For one, we don''t have anywhere to put it here. It''s a grand piano. Secondly, my little brother is now learning to play and my stepmom tells me that he''s really taken to it. So, it has to stay there until we move to a bigger house, and that won''t be until we figure out when we''re going to add another kid to the mix.

Band instruments can be started later. And they have the chance to pick what they want to play. I always knew I wanted to play the saxophone, so I started that in the 5th grade.

I think the violin is an excellent idea though. And they''re cheaper than a piano!
 

VegasAngel

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I imagine my daughter will learn to play an instrument, She loves music & dance. My husband plays guitar & keyboard & our daughter has shown interest in both.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Sounds like a piano would be a great idea especially if you''re wanting to purchase (or possibly rent) one and have room in your home. My friend''s son plays the piano and, although I''m not exactly sure when he started, I do know it''s been at least since he was 6. He goes to lessons every week and likes it a lot. Another friend has a son who plays the piano. He''s 8 and also has been playing for at least a few years.

Like Penn said, band instruments can be started later. I think a child would enjoy an instrument of that sort in a group setting a lot more. I began playing the flute in 6th grade.

Oh, and keep in mind, your child may not even take interest in an instrument and that is even more a reason to go with one YOU like. If your child sees you playing, they''ll want to play along with you. It''ll be "fun," rather than forced on him/her.
 

elrohwen

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I think I started in fourth or fifth grade, so that sounds like a good age. However, when I picked an instrument my mom said if I was going to start, I had to play until I was 18. I love this rule because it forced me to stick with something and become very very good at it. Sure, there were times I didn't want to practice, but my whining was minimal because I knew I wasn't going to talk her out of it. If I thought I could quit at any time, I probably would've made a fuss on days I didn't feel like playing.

With that said, if my kids aren't particularly interested in instruments, I won't force them. For me it was a good choice because I wasn't into sports really. If my kids are playing a few sports every year, then I think an instrument is just added stress. FI is hoping for the athletic kids, and I'm hoping for the musical kids


ETA: I played cello, so I'm absolutely hoping my kid wants to play another string instrument. It would be so cool to play duets
Ultimately it would be up to them what they wanted to play.
 

soocool

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My daughter began playing violin at age 4 (Suzuki Method) and the asked to learn piano around age 6. We got a keyboard to start off with because when they are beginners they do not use all 88 keys. It was about a year later when we knew she was comitted to the instrument that we bought an upright Steinway. She now has been asking for a baby grand and at this point (she''s 16) I think she can wait and buy her own when she''s older.

BTW, sometimes colleges sell pianos that people donate, for a very good price if you don''t want to spend the money on a new one. A friend of mine bought hers this way and a neighbor of mine who tunes pianos went along with her to make sure she bought a good one (kind of like buying a diamond I presume). All she had to do then was find a way to get it home. Even so, it was so much cheaper than buying new especially if you don''t know if your child will continue.
 

iluvcarats

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Apr 17, 2008
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My kids both started piano at 6.
They take lessons at a local college.
At first, I could help b/c I played, but now my daughter is way beyond me.
Their teacher is very strict, and sometimes I am surprised at her, but they always rise to the occasion, and now they can both read music, they hold their hands in proper position, and play with the right fingers on the right keys.
For 10 and 6, I am impressed.
DH comes from a very musical family (Broadway etc.) and I am just glad that my genes didn''t cancel it all out
 

Elmorton

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Jul 5, 2007
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When I was a tyke, I started out singing - I started children''s choir at my church around age 5? Singing is great because I already knew how to read music once I started an instrument. Did piano in elementary school (3rd grade?) and then band though the school started in 5th - both of these felt "late" to me, since it took a long time to catch up with others who had been playing longer.

Our current church has an evening music program for ittty bitty kids starting at just a few months old, toodlers, etc - I think it''s called "Musikgarten", and I really hope it''s still going on when we have kids. I''d love to have our children involved in something like that. I don''t expect my future kid to be a musical phenom, but I think music helps with a lot of cognitive skills.
 

ladyciel

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I started piano in 1st or 2nd grade after a friend of mine started showing off what she learned in her first few lessons. Then, in 3rd grade, the high school''s orchestra came to my school and played for us to advertise the free lessons we could take at school using the Suzuki method. I went home begging to learn the cello; my parents looked at the rental prices and basically said violin or nothin''. So, I started the violin in 3rd grade (and have always and forever since longed to be playing the cello). Since I could already read music through my piano lessons, I struggled a lot with the Suzuki method (for those unfamiliar - Suzuki says you''re supposed to learn by listening and mimicry, not by reading/looking at written music). I eventually convinced the teacher to just let me use the written music rather than the tapes, because it was counterproductive otherwise. THEN, in 4th grade, the band instruments were introduced at school, and I begged to add the saxophone to my repertoire. Parents said 2 instruments were enough, no dice on joining the band.

My suggestion would be to start something pretty universal like the piano early, and then really listen to your child if he/she expresses interest in other instruments/activities. Instruments commonly found in band/orchestra have a social element to them that mostly solo instruments (piano) do not offer. But, at the same time, you don''t have to worry about your child leaving his/her piano outside, on the bus, at a friend''s house, on a chair to be sat on, etc. Also consider what the music program is like in your area''s schools. In many areas the band kids get a LOT more money/focus than the orchestra kids, in large part because the band plays at sporting events.
That often means more concerts, trips, competitions, and fun. Should they take it REALLY seriously, though, and want to make it a profession, the strings get quite a few more job openings in city symphonies (sometimes 10+ seats an instrument vs 1-3 for the winds/brass/percussion).

Haha, you can REALLY over-analyze this question, apparently.
 

elrohwen

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Ladyciel, I had no idea that the Suzuki method was taught like that! My teacher always used the books for the songs, but she didn''t follow the actual method. I remember listening to how fast the kids played on the cds and was so glad she didn''t make me use the method. It would''ve taken me 6 months per song to get that good. I''d much rather move on from songs faster and then go back to try them again when I''m better. And forget about learning by listening and mimicry!
 

Italiahaircolor

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Dec 16, 2007
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I started piano lessons when I was about 6 and studied on and off for many years...I still have a beautiful ivory babygrand that I just adore.

I think piano is just the more practical of the two instruments. Unless of course you''re willing to conside guitar lessons -- which would have longevity due to games like Rockband and Guitar Hero, which makes intruments cool unlike when we were kids and they were matronly and boring.

From my own personal experience, I won''t force my child into an intrument at a given or set age. I want them to come to music and gain a love for it because it is something they choose for themselves, not because I played or because it''s my dream for them. I think the people that are most successful are those that chose to play because they enjoyed it, the ones that select their own instrument...and that''s just exactly what I will want for my own baby. And if they never come to music, that''s totally okay too.
 

elrohwen

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Date: 4/10/2009 11:36:30 AM
Author: Italiahaircolor
I started piano lessons when I was about 6 and studied on and off for many years...I still have a beautiful ivory babygrand that I just adore.

I think piano is just the more practical of the two instruments. Unless of course you''re willing to conside guitar lessons -- which would have longevity due to games like Rockband and Guitar Hero, which makes intruments cool unlike when we were kids and they were matronly and boring.

From my own personal experience, I won''t force my child into an intrument at a given or set age. I want them to come to music and gain a love for it because it is something they choose for themselves, not because I played or because it''s my dream for them. I think the people that are most successful are those that chose to play because they enjoyed it, the ones that select their own instrument...and that''s just exactly what I will want for my own baby. And if they never come to music, that''s totally okay too.
My cello skills apply pretty well to these games.
I always joke that my mom paid tons of money for cello lessons so that I could impress people at parties.

Honestly though, I always wished I had learned the guitar. Sometimes I think about taking lessons when I''m not so busy.
 

ladypirate

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 30, 2007
Messages
4,553
Piano is a great instrument to start on (I started playing around 5 or 6) because it gives you such a great foundation in music in general. Even if they decide to move onto another instrument when they''re a little older, piano is a great way to start out.

Granted, I played classical piano for years, so I''m also biased.
 

ladypirate

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Jul 30, 2007
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4,553
Date: 4/10/2009 11:36:30 AM
Author: Italiahaircolor
I started piano lessons when I was about 6 and studied on and off for many years...I still have a beautiful ivory babygrand that I just adore.

I think piano is just the more practical of the two instruments. Unless of course you''re willing to conside guitar lessons -- which would have longevity due to games like Rockband and Guitar Hero, which makes intruments cool unlike when we were kids and they were matronly and boring.

From my own personal experience, I won''t force my child into an intrument at a given or set age. I want them to come to music and gain a love for it because it is something they choose for themselves, not because I played or because it''s my dream for them. I think the people that are most successful are those that chose to play because they enjoyed it, the ones that select their own instrument...and that''s just exactly what I will want for my own baby. And if they never come to music, that''s totally okay too.
Where were instruments ever matronly and boring? I thought playing in rock bands was always cool!
 

vespergirl

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Jan 29, 2007
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5,497
I am a children''s piano teacher, and I think that depending on the child, either 5 or 6 is a good age to start. 6 (first grade) for most kids, but 5 if the child is expressing interest themselves AND seems to have musical talent.

I will add, though, that I teach a few kids now who have parents that NEVER make them practice. I have tried talking with the parents, and they don''t understand the importance of daily practice, yet they complain when their children don''t progress. It''s sad, because very young children need to be prodded & reminded to practice by their parents - it''s unrealistic to expect for them to practice in a regimented way without some urging. Just had to throw that in - can you tell I''m getting a little frustrated here during recital season?
 

soocool

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Date: 4/15/2009 2:22:52 PM
Author: vespergirl
I am a children''s piano teacher, and I think that depending on the child, either 5 or 6 is a good age to start. 6 (first grade) for most kids, but 5 if the child is expressing interest themselves AND seems to have musical talent.

I will add, though, that I teach a few kids now who have parents that NEVER make them practice. I have tried talking with the parents, and they don''t understand the importance of daily practice, yet they complain when their children don''t progress. It''s sad, because very young children need to be prodded & reminded to practice by their parents - it''s unrealistic to expect for them to practice in a regimented way without some urging. Just had to throw that in - can you tell I''m getting a little frustrated here during recital season?
My daughter has been playing since the age of 6 and at times I still need to remind her (she''s now 16). When she was little I made sure we set aside a certain time each day to practice and stuck to it. She is the only one of her friends who has stuck with the piano for so long and she says she wants to continue. She gave the violin up a couple of years ago, because with high school work, sports, etc. it got to be too much. But she loves piano!
 

vespergirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
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Date: 4/15/2009 3:07:30 PM
Author: soocool

Date: 4/15/2009 2:22:52 PM
Author: vespergirl
I am a children''s piano teacher, and I think that depending on the child, either 5 or 6 is a good age to start. 6 (first grade) for most kids, but 5 if the child is expressing interest themselves AND seems to have musical talent.

I will add, though, that I teach a few kids now who have parents that NEVER make them practice. I have tried talking with the parents, and they don''t understand the importance of daily practice, yet they complain when their children don''t progress. It''s sad, because very young children need to be prodded & reminded to practice by their parents - it''s unrealistic to expect for them to practice in a regimented way without some urging. Just had to throw that in - can you tell I''m getting a little frustrated here during recital season?
My daughter has been playing since the age of 6 and at times I still need to remind her (she''s now 16). When she was little I made sure we set aside a certain time each day to practice and stuck to it. She is the only one of her friends who has stuck with the piano for so long and she says she wants to continue. She gave the violin up a couple of years ago, because with high school work, sports, etc. it got to be too much. But she loves piano!
That is so great! I started playing at age 7, and my parents also had to force me at times to stick with it (ages 10-12 were the worst), but I continued with lessons through age 17. Then I went to Boston U. as a Communications major, but discovered that I missed music! So, I transfered to Berklee College of Music, and ended up getting a music degree instead. Unfortunately, after 4 years of all music, all the time, I ended up working in law firm marketing, of all things, after college. However, now that I am a SAHM, I have become a children''s piano teacher - a perfect work-from-home career!

This story just goes to show that playing piano is a great skill that your daughter never lose, and will always appreciate, even if she comes away from it from time to time. Good for you for getting her to stick with it!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I took piano and clarinet when I was a kid and hated them both. I finally settled on singing which my mom loved because she didn''t have to buy any instruments!!

I''ll be open to my child trying/doing any sort of musical instrument. They''ll probably be exposed more to singing though as I still enjoy it and am constantly doing it.
 
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