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What Musical Instruments Are Good For Preschoolers

by on 08/03/2018 367

What Defines a Preschooler?

Before we begin to discuss what’s the right instrument for your preschooler, let’s first briefly talk about what makes a preschooler a preschooler.

  • What behaviours to expect?

  • What your preschooler should be able to do?

A preschooler is simply a child of 3 or 4 years old. Your child is sadly no longer a toddler. “What can I expect my preschooler to do or learn at this age?” One might naturally ask. According to one paediatrician, an author of six children health books, Dr Meg Meeker, remarked that a child of 3 or 4 is ought to have both of these;

  • Fine motor skills and,

  • Gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills refer to a child’s ability to learn to use his or her smaller muscles. Muscles in the hands, fingers and wrists are a good case in point. If you see your child is able to assemble Lego bricks, you can safely assume that his or her fine motor skills are doing great. Gross motor skills, on the other hand, refer to a child’s ability to perform whole body movement, such as standing, walking, running and jumping. If your preschooler is able to ride a bicycle or paint your walls with crayons without a care in the world, that’s precisely his or her gross motor skills at work.

Lastly, take into consideration the fact that every child progresses differently. Your preschooler might be able to perform one specific skill earlier or later than others. Don’t worry. It does happen. Notwithstanding, if you think your preschooler’s overall development does seem to progress at a worrying pace, consult your paediatrician at once.

The Right Instrument

Learning to play an instrument has numerous cognitive benefits. According to Dr Anita Collins, Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Education at the University of Canberra in Australia remarked that,

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout.

So, having decided to let your preschooler learn music, you next find yourself caught on the horns of yet another dilemma. You wonder which instrument to choose. "What's the right instrument for my child?" one might ask. Wrong question. You don’t choose the instrument. You help your preschooler choose the instrument.

Two crucial factors you need to consider here. First, your child physical limitations. Second, ask your child whether or not s/he likes the instrument; the sound it produces.

Moving on, let’s discuss physical limitations. If your preschooler is unmistakably small, the bassoon might not be an ideal instrument for your preschooler. Ron Chenoweth, the band and orchestra division manager for Ken Stanton Music stated that,

Someone with very small lips might be better suited for the trumpet or French horn, while someone with larger lips might have trouble playing those instruments.

It’s therefore important that you help your preschooler choose the instrument that’s physically not too big nor too small for his /her size.

The second factor is fairly self-explanatory. Let them choose what they want to play. Forcing your child to play an instrument s/he doesn’t want to learn, rarely helps to cultivate the love of music making. If your preschooler doesn’t like the sound of one particular instrument makes, s/he won’t enjoy playing the instrument. They thus have little motivation to practice. In the end, they resent the instrument they were forced to play.

The Bottom Line

The key question remains, what’s the right instrument for my preschooler? Dr Robert A. Cutietta, the Dean of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the author of “Raising Musical Kids” postulated that the violin and the piano are the best introductory instruments for any child below 6.

Not only the instrument violin comes in different sizes catering to different age groups, it can also help teach your preschooler the concept of musical phrasing. The piano, on the other hand, helps your preschoolers understand perceptual and musical skills and music theory at its most basic. Both of these instruments, in short, are known to help establish a major foundation for music learning. Once your preschoolers have acquired these basics, they can easily learn a different instrument at a later age.

All in all, it’s important that your preschooler has a say in what sort of instrument they want to learn and play.

“I think parents should follow their intuitions with respect to keeping their children engaged,” Dr Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory told TIME Magazine.

“Find the kind of music they love, good teachers, an instrument they’ll like. Making music should be something that children enjoy and will want to keep doing for many years!” Added Dr. Nina.