ADULT'S INSTRUMENTS

Children are often mesmerised by live music. Who better than mum, dad, grandma, grandpa or nanny to be their favourite star? Starting on a good instrument is very important to keep you motivated. Music-making with your children will be all the more enjoyable if you love the instrument you are playing on.

Here are some links to online stores that sell affordable beginner instruments that are a pleasure to play on. Remember to check the variety that stores offer to get the best deal for you. The linked instruments are only suggestions, to make your busy life as a parent/carer easier. Investing in a good beginner instrument will go a long way if your children pursue music well into their school years.

Guitars

Ukuleles

 

Soprano ukuleles are small, lightweight, easy to play and well-pitched to be audible without being too loud. The other sizes are concert, tenor and baritone ukuleles. Ukuleles are a great hit with young children. They love exploring the strings and picking up the instrument trying to imitate you. 

Amazon is a go-to for a lot of people when it comes to buying online, but musicians also shop at stores like Gear for Music, GAK, Thomann and PMT online. A personal favourite is Thomann. They offer great prices and variety. An added bonus is that you can hear sound samples of many of the instruments on the Thomann website. Check out the links below, but remember to compare prices on other sites when you buy. 

Guitars

 

Guitars are among the world's favourite, most loved instruments. If you include the 'air guitar', it may even be the most-played instrument of all time!

Buying a guitar can be particularly daunting because of the various types, shapes and sizes available. As a beginner who wants to learn around young children, a few features will help you make a better choice to suit you and your young musician.

Classical (or Spanish) guitars have nylon strings that are softer on the fingers as compared to steel strings. Classical guitars are lighter too. The neck on classical guitars is broader, meaning that your have to stretch further stretch to play chords. Nylon strings are great with very young children who will want to pull and tug at them while you play. Little hands are safer from getting cuts from tugging at nylon strings. Classical guitars have a gentler, more muffled tone than their steel-strung counterparts. 

Steel-strung acoustic guitars are great if you like full-bodied, strong accompaniment to your singing and also great to play around older children who understand that they might get hurt if they pull at your guitar strings. Steel strings are harder to play, especially at the initial stages, when your fingers need to get used to pressing down firmly to get clear sounding chords.

Electric guitars are great, and sometimes much easier to play, but take much longer to set up if you have to keep your home clear of wires and equipment. They are also quite heavy and less portable than acoustic guitars.

When buying your first guitar, remember to get a size that suits you and make sure the strings are close to the fretboard (this is called the action). A good action will save you loads of aches as your fingers acclimatise to your new instrument. Choose a guitar that suits your environment. I've listed a few, just as a guideline. When buying a guitar, you'll come across the words dreadnaught, classical, Spanish, cutaway, parlour, etc. Find out more about the jargon and guitar sizes here. In addition to size, the shape of your guitar is important for your comfort when you play.

Pianos

 

Pianos make music accessible to adults and children. Chances are that most western musicians, whatever the genre they play, are familiar with the layout of a piano even if they don't play the instrument. Many musical concepts like scales, chords and intervals are explained using the piano. 

You can make a fairly good sound on the piano instantaneously, unlike a violin, where you have to spend time developing bow technique, or a guitar, where you need to master how much pressure to put on a string to get a clear sound. You'll be motivated to practice more, especially as a beginner. Pianos are not as portable as smaller instruments, so think carefully and buy what suits you and your child.

Like all instruments, pianos are available in different sizes and varieties. You'll be directed to digital pianos via the links below, because I'd like like to focus on low-maintenance, affordable instruments that you won't mind your child trying out as you learn to play. Invest in an acoustic piano once you're sure that you or someone at home is going to learn to persist up until an intermediate level at least. 

If you're interested in playing the piano and hope that your child develops interest too, a digital piano is very useful. You start with something closer to an acoustic piano than a keyboard. It's important to play on a good acoustic piano to know what the keys feel like when you play them. Different acoustic pianos feel different when it comes to response and resonance. Digital pianos are very much the same and get closer to the acoustic pianos as they get more expensive. If you and your child are looking at doing exams on piano, a good digital beginner instrument is great to take you through grades 1- 4 at least. Digitals are good for near-silent practice (you'll still be able to hear the sound of the keys) and help you stay clear of disturbing others with repetitive practice of tricky passages. 

 

Keyboards

Coming soon!

Percussion

 

Coming soon!

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