Early Music Experience
Young children naturally gravitate towards music. It’s fun, predictable, safe, and is the universal language of the human experience. Music allows us to tap directly into our humanness without having to navigate through words, beliefs, culture, religion etc. It helps us to realize that we are far more similar to one another then we could ever be different.
Every parent somehow incorporates music into their child’s early experience whether it be as simple as singing a lullaby at bedtime, playing recorded music at home or in the car, or gathering with other families and friends for music class. Even if we are not aware of it, we all trust deeply in the experience of music to have a profound effect on the quality of our lives, and the early experience of our little ones.
Help with choosing an instrument for your young child
With this in mind, expanding a child’s musical experience to instrumental lessons is usually an exciting time for families, but can be confusing at the same time. Parents often ask, “How do I choose an instrument for my young child? She loves music but how will I know if she will be interested in the flute?”
As an experienced Suzuki teacher, I’ve had this discussion more times than I can remember over the years. Of course, there are the many logical considerations that first come to mind such as cost of the instrument and lessons, logistics of scheduling, location of music studio, siblings that play the same instrument, or perhaps a parent that played a specific instrument when they were young and would like to see their child do the same. Unfortunately, even after sorting through the above, many parents don’t feel any closer to making the “right” decision about the instrument, or they are unsure about a decision they have already made.
So what is the answer? Is it just a lucky guess? Hit or miss? A father of a student put this question in awesome perspective for me years ago. He said, “Many people often ask me, why did you choose the flute for your daughter? I tell them,
“I didn’t choose the instrument. I chose the teacher and my child’s experience.” -DC
Perhaps, if this decision comes from a place of remembering why music is an important part of our experience, the instrument choice would not be of much concern. Rather the question would then be, “Will this experience that I’m about to offer my child provide them with a positive and encouraging learning environment? Group and ensemble music making and connection? Strong bonds and lifelong relationships with teachers, friends and community? An opportunity for them to experience that
“as a whole, we are greater than the sum of our parts.” -Aristotle