Everything you wanted to know about starting an instrument

All your friends have got their kids started, lessons underway, some are doing a few grades. And you’re not quite sure where to start. Here are a few pointers to help you along the way. Personal advice alert – not every teacher will agree with me!

Every child starts learning their instrument at different ages…and it doesn’t impact on their future success.

There are countless professional musicians who started learning their instrument in their teens and a horde of adults with instruments in the attic, completely untouched, who started learning at the age of 5. Just start your child off when they are ready and when you have a little bit of time to make sure they settle in with some kind of regular practice routine (if only a few minutes on most days).

You can choose your instrument for any number of reasons

Because it’s small and practical and you don’t need a car to transport it (flute), because your child saw a busker and said “That’s the one!” (saxophone, clarinet), because you like the idea of your child learning a sociable instrument that can be played in an orchestra (violin), because you know you child is a bit of a rocker (guitar/drums), because you found a teacher you love and they happen to teach the accordion.

Whatever reason you have, take your time, have a trial session with the teacher before committing, set yourself a trial period before which you don’t give up on your choice (whether that’s 5 or 15 lessons).

You don’t have to buy an instrument straight away

In fact, most instruments can be hired for £10 to £15 a month and you can always have a trial session with a teacher who has a spare instrument, before you go any further. Make sure you get advice from your teacher about what size and type of instrument you should buy and what music books you need.

You don’t need to practise every day…

…but you do need to play your instrument on most days of the week for a few minutes. Once you do this you’ll be up and away.

Don’t start an instrument when you’re about to move house, or just about to start school, or have other big family disruptions that might make the first few months difficult.

Good luck with choosing your instrument – it’s a big adventure! If you want some friendly advice, don’t hesitate to call MusicMaps – we’re always up for a natter.