Choosing a musical
instrument for your child

It is essential to take into account their choice and not yours

By Yann Merceaux

Previously published on January 25, 2020

All children are naturally attracted to music and musical instruments. Music is present everywhere in our daily lives and therefore in theirs. If educational games are based on music from the very first months of baby’s life, it is because it has many benefits for children.

It is very common for children to ask to play a musical instrument. Which one should they choose? What will learning to play a musical instrument bring them? This is what I will explain to you.

boy playing guitar -

Image: Public Domain

While it’s not easy to know which instrument is the most suitable for your child, you can help them by showing them all the musical instruments that are at their disposal, giving them details, explaining how the lessons go, how long it takes to master an instrument etc. to help them make a choice.

Learning to play an instrument: the benefits for the child

The advantages for a child to play a musical instrument are visible from the first moment he or she starts playing it. It is well known that music is soothing. When a child plays a musical instrument, both brain hemispheres need to be activated so that the child’s movements are synchronized. Learning to play an instrument has been shown to have many benefits for cognitive health according to numerous studies.

Turbulent or hyper-active children will have to stay focused on their instrument, on their learning, which requires all their attention. They will thus learn or relearn to be calm and less stressed.

Learning to play an instrument also allows the child to improve their confidence and self-esteem. They will most certainly have to play in front of friends and will enjoy it. It is also an opportunity to learn how to work in a team and to take others into account by playing an instrument with them.

Learning to play an instrument has been shown to have many benefits for cognitive health according to numerous studies.

And finally, learning to play a musical instrument increases a child’s memory, motor development and even IQ!

Top six children’s instruments

The most important thing to know is that your child should not learn the instrument you want but the one they want. Here are our top six instruments for children:

The piano
It is the instrument often favoured by children. It is frequently the recommended choice for a child who does not yet know which instrument they prefer. Of course, the piano has its difficulties and it takes a long time to learn to play it to perfection.

girl playing piano -

Image: Steshka Willems from Pexels

In the beginning, learning to play the piano may seem easier. Little by little, it gets more complicated. But if they want to change instrument after a few months, all is not lost because everything they learned on the keyboard will be used to learn a new musical instrument.

The saxophone
Children often favour this musical instrument. Its shape and sound appeal to them. The saxophone is an instrument suitable for children because as soon as they master the way of blowing and the first movements, they will get results in a very short time.

The guitar
The guitar is one of the favourite instruments of children, especially the older ones. Although handling the strings can be difficult at first, the most motivated of them will very quickly master the simplest chords that will allow them to quickly play their favourite songs.

Percussion instruments
Children are amused by drums and other percussion instruments. These are musical instruments that appeal to them because the basic technique is very simple, even instinctive. But it will take them time to improve. You should also think about the neighbours if your child asks you for a drum set to practice on.

‘The important thing is to choose the one that appeals most to your child, the one that suits them best according to their abilities or body type…’

The clarinet
If you wish to enrol your child in group music lessons, the clarinet may be an attractive choice for them. The sound is clear and pleasant and the range of tones is very wide. It offers many musical possibilities for your child!

The violin
Learning to play the violin is very difficult. It is therefore an instrument that should not be chosen at random but because your child has a very strong desire to learn to play it and has been wanting to for a long time. The violin is difficult to master but also “heavy”. It is therefore recommended for children of at least six years of age.

Our advice for choosing the right musical instrument for a child

There is a big difference between what your child wants and what they can do. You have to take into account their age but also their body type. For example, a child under the age of six will not be able to support the weight of a saxophone. For the youngest, it is advisable to start with musical awakening. This allows them to discover all the musical instruments and their families.

The success of learning a musical instrument lies in the fact that it is essential to take into account their choice and not yours. If you impose an instrument on them because it is your favourite, they will not get involved.

The cost of the instrument must also be taken into account, especially if they choose the piano. It is also important to keep in mind that it will take a child one or two years before he or she knows if the instrument chosen is the right one. So don’t spend thousands of dollars on an instrument because it may be abandoned within a few months.

You need to explain everything to your child about the chosen instrument so that they can make the right decision. A piano requires very good hand coordination and a violin requires very good listening skills. You must therefore make them understand that some instruments are difficult to master.


No musical instrument is better than another. The important thing is to choose the one that appeals most to your child, the one that suits them best according to their abilities or body type, but in any case, it is they who must make this choice!

Feature image: Alena Shekhovtcova from PexelsBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

Read also: other articles on music

Yann Merceaux is a freelance writer who holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Strasbourg. He writes on all subjects, but especially on those he is passionate about: from fashion to do-it-yourself, travel, decoration…


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