By Tala Alat, Special to Gulf News
Published: 07:00 December 23, 2012
Before you settle for the purchase, make sure you have a good understanding of the instrument, and your child’s interest levels
In recent years, music teachers in the UAE have been noticing a significant increase in children who wish to study music. The number of applications from parents has doubled, and some schools can hardly accommodate everyone.
Modern culture, as depicted on television, can entice many into the world of music as it showcases artists who have shot to fame, apart from revealing their glitzy lives. Which, in a way, is not a bad thing for children to observe because beyond the glamor, many of these artists have wonderful talent and are contributing to the legacy of music in unique ways.
For parents whose children have decided to invite music into their lives, one of the most difficult decisions is to how much to invest in a musical instrument. It is not an easy decision, understandably, because parents have to deal with the opinion of children who often tend to change their mind. I know two ways to solve this problem.
1) Find out which musical instruments are being taught in the school. This will help you zone in on any one instrument.
2) Find out if there are any restrictions to age or other factors when it comes to playing and practicing an instrument. For example, guitar lessons preferably, start from 10 years. For accordion or saxophone, a child must be developed physically, because these are very heavy instruments to handle. To learn the violin, a child should have a naturally well-developed ear for tone and melody.
3) Research on the internet about the qualities and background of various musical intruments. Learn about their history. Share with your child the information you have acquired in a way that is easy and interesting for him to listen to. Show your child beautiful pictures of the instruments so that visually, he begins to appreciate and fall in love with them.
4) Listen to the sound of musical instruments and see how musicians play them. Visit stores that deal in musical instruments and spend time touching, playing and learning about them. Attend musical concerts with your children. Participate in musical moments at shopping malls and stores where the instruments are being played, so yours and your children’s exposure to them can connect with each other. The internet has abundant information on virtually all musical instruments. Watch YouTube clips on musical instruments of various kinds and artists playing them. You will get to learn a lot this way. However, be aware that a video clip will make less of an impression on your child as compared to attending a live concert and watching an artist play.
A cheap or inexpensive instrument does not mean low quality. Experts recommend that for children who are just starting their music sessions, it is advisable to buy an inexpensive instrument first. Almost all leading manufacturers of musical instruments offer a range prices, and for beginners, there is ample choice. When buying an instrument for your child, you, as a parent, need to be serious about what you are doing.
The most popular instruments:
It is a classical instrument, which has been a popular choice for parents down the centuries. In the US, for instance, almost any school can teach violin for free. Today, violins are sold in various sizes and for children of different ages so there is no stress about what to buy. A violin is also a fairly compact instrument, lightweight and doesn’t require special care. It is, therefore, the perfect musical instrument for children.
These are, of course, a bit louder than the other instruments, but nevertheless playing drums is fun. It can get your child to completely immerse himself in the experience as compared to mindless computer games. In addition, drummers are a core asset to music groups. You can also play solo on drums.
This is a great musical instrument that provides unlimited opportunities to develop the musical potential of children. After only a few lessons, your child will be able to play simple, well-known songs on the piano. Sure, the size and the cost of a piano can be formidable but you don’t have to buy an expensive, huge masterpiece for beginners. An electronic keyboard, which sounds like a classical piano, will do fine with its price and compact size. Of course it is not good enough for a serious study of a piano, but to get your child interested in the initial stages, it is perfect. When your child displays true talent and a passion for the piano, it is worthwhile investing in the real deal. Electronic ones have two distinct benefits. First, they are compact and light enough to transport. Second, the possibility of adjusting the sound volume will make lessons comfortable for you and the others, and a selection of tones offers welcome choice.
This is the most common and affordable musical instrument for children. It has a beautiful sound, comes in compact sizes and is affordable. It offers amazing opportunities to create music and its sheer popularity will not allow your child to get bored with it. Classical, acoustic, bass, electric – there are so many options to choose from. There is a guitar for every child’s aptitude and ability. Even a beginner can play songs on a guitar with ease - the instrument is so friendly. Your child can be the star of any party.
This is an amazingly elegant musical instrument. It is small, lightweight and doesn’t require time-consuming maintenance. It is less loud than others, and that should please parents and neighbours. However, training on the flute can be difficult in the beginning, as it requires breath control, among other strengths.
A common instrument taught in US schools. In this region, it is not as popular, but still, this instrument is an integral part of many musical styles and genres such as jazz, to give one example.
ONE LAST TIP:
When choosing a musical instrument, don’t get swayed by the glamor of the brand. Trust your instincts and take an informed decision. Take your child along with you to the music store before deciding to buy one. It is important to feel that you have found “the one” instrument that will become your child’s lifetime companion.
The author is a musician and piano teacher at a music school
We invite you to visit:
www.GreatMusicalInstruments.net for affordable quality musical instruments.