Every parent loves to share their passions and joys with their kids. You might remember how much fun you had riding bikes, playing basketball, or drawing when you were a child, and you want to give that same gift to your kids. This is often why parents share music with their children: to bond with them and spread something that has given them so much joy.
As it turns out, though, musical instruments for kids have even more advantages on top of creating these bonding opportunities. How can making music help your child develop? And which instruments are the best starter instruments for your kids?
Why Musical Instruments are Great for Kids
Toddlers and kids have a lot on their to-do lists. Their brains and bodies have an entire human’s worth of skills, senses, and cognitive functions to develop. It turns out that in several ways, making music can benefit those developmental journeys.
Fine Motor Skills
Playing music requires precise movements of the hands and fingers, and this is even challenging for many adults. Practicing these types of movements goes a long way toward helping kids develop their fine motor skills. As an added advantage, hearing the notes they hit tells them whether they’re making the right motions with their fingers and hands, so it either reinforces or corrects them along the way.
On top of learning how to control their fine motor skills, kids are developing their hand-eye coordination. When children learn to read sheet music and translate the notes they see into the correct key presses, strokes, and finger arrangements on their instruments, it’s a tremendous exercise in coordination.
Some instruments also help kids develop the tricky skill of controlling each hand separately and coordinating their hands’ movements. For instance, kids playing the guitar need to coordinate their strumming fingers with their other hand’s fingers on the frets.
Using our five senses comes naturally to adults, but kids’ brains are still learning how to interpret and respond to sensory signals. Musical instruments can help kids make great strides in sensory development by giving them a variety of auditory stimuli. Budding musicians also learn to differentiate between pitches, giving them a finer sense for interpreting sounds.
Strong cognitive development sets up any child for an easier academic life and a greater potential for a successful career. Musical instruments can be a terrific way to put your child’s cognitive development on the fast track.
When kids hear and create music, it stimulates their brains in a unique way to forms and strengthens synapses which boost their cognitive strength. The younger a child is, the more pliable their brain is, so playing music has an even greater impact on toddlers and young kids.
Best Musical Instruments for Kids
If you want to give your kids all the benefits that come from learning to make music, which instruments are best for starting their skills? Try these top choices.
Xylophones are classic instruments for kids. For one, the keys are fairly large which makes them usable for young kids with limited fine motor skills. The simplistic arrangement of the keys is also easy for kids to interpret and learn.
The piano is often considered the most fundamental instrument for musicians to learn because it’s such a clear representation of musical scales and note transitions. It’s an instrument that translates well to other instruments, making it terrific for kids who want to become lifelong musicians. For kids, start with simpler pianos like an 18-key piano.
Kids and babies love maracas! Not only are they easy to use for children of any age because of the simple motor skills they require, but it’s easy for kids to alter their sound too based on how they shake them. The maracas’ simplicity and ease of use make them a top choice among parents who are looking for their kids’ first instruments.
Much like maracas, drums are easy instruments for kids to learn in their early years. They don’t require as much fine-tined coordination as intricate instruments like pianos and guitars. Still, percussion instruments are terrific ways to introduce kids to music and to the concept of turning specific motions and actions into sounds.
Drums and maracas are perfect for kids’ first instruments, but what about the next step? When kids are ready to add some complexity to their musical talents, a tambourine is a great option. Kids can apply the percussion skills their learned from their drums but with the added shaking motion to use the zills (or tiny cymbals) on the sides.
For children who have some familiarity with music already, the guitar is a wonderful instrument to take their skills and their development to the next level. It gives kids exceptional practice in highly-precise fine motor skills because they don’t only need precise finger placement and pressure on the frets to create the right notes, but they also need to perform different actions with each hand while maintaining the same rhythm.
The accordion may not be the first instrument that comes to a parent’s mind, but it’s actually a great instrument for kids who are learning to make music. Not only does it provide them with the skill of matching their motions and finger arrangements to make the notes they want, but it helps them learn to multi-task because the sound depends on their key presses as well as the way they manipulate the bellows.
Giving Your Child the Gift of Music
Every parent wants their kids to have a fun and fulfilling childhood while also developing the skills that will help them become successful, well-adjusted adults. Musical instruments for kids can accomplish both of those goals at the same time, while allowing you to share your own love of music with your children.
To start shopping for your child’s first musical instrument or the next pieces for their collection, shop our wooden musical instruments for kids online.