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Introducing children to music and rhythm

Helping children lean to play an instrument


How many of us wish we'd learned to play the piano when we were kids but never 'got around to it'? While you might assume you need specific skills to play an instrument the truth is anyone can give it a go, so whether your child has shown a particular ear for music or not, trying their hand at a musical instrument will give them real pleasure and a sense of achievement.

So, when to begin? When your child starts school they will probably be introduced to the recorder as a first instrument. Children can play as soon as their fingers can cover the holes. The recorder is a great introduction to the family of wind instruments, and might lead them on to discover instruments such as the flute, clarinet or oboe as they get older. Simple percussion instruments will also be something your child has a chance to play with at school (and earlier, at pre-school or playgroup).

Your school may also offer instrumental lessons which take place either during school hours, in lunchtimes or out of school hours.  These classes may introduce your child to other instruments – guitar, piano or every parents favourite since your child hit a pan with a spoon, the drum to name a few.

Some experts say formal music lessons aren't really a great idea before the age of about eight. Children need to be equipped with adequate levels of concentration and 'pushing' children into timetabled, structured classes at an earlier age than this may have the undesired effect of actually turning your child off music. But if your child appears to have a natural aptitude and is keen to learn it really is up to you when you start formal musical instruction. If your child is ready for formal lessons you'll need to do some careful research to find a good teacher both you and your child are happy with. It's also worth having a 'taster' session which you can attend - you'll know instinctively if you're happy with the teacher's manner and form of teaching, and will just know if anything doesn't feel right. Also, your child will have a chance to see if they really would like to pursue lessons before committing to what could be an expensive mistake!

Sounds good? Want to know where you can find a local music teacher?
Your local education authority may hold a list of reputable teachers. As is often the way with child-related activities, word-of-mouth is an invaluable way of finding a good recommendation.  Your local netmums site – www.netmums.com – has listings on their After School Activities sections for music tutors and classes.  You can also use the netmums noticeboard to ask for recommendations of qualified teachers.


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