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zensky's avatar

Have you bought your child a musical instrument, lately?

Asked by zensky (13272 points ) January 20th, 2013

I have. A guitar. And the feeling was great – for the both of us.

I phrased the question in this specific way because I think that we should purchase musical intruments for our kids – whether they play or not. If you build it they will come…

It may be my (very distant – but quite there) background in Montessori – but I really believe that everyone can, and should play a musical instrument.

Life is music. The rest is details.

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30 Answers

harple's avatar

My little one (as yet unborn) already has a ukulele, and a range of (real) hand percussion! :)

syz's avatar

I bought my nephew a drum set. My sister hates me.

ucme's avatar

I bought my son a guitar (acoustic) a couple of xmas’s back & he’s gotten quite good on the thing & my daughter just recently brought an instrument home from school. The teacher said students could choose anything they like, so my little darling chose a trombone, yeah that’s right…a bloody great big trombone! Bless.

zenvelo's avatar

Got my son a good ukelele for his last birthday.

wundayatta's avatar

Not lately. Bought them a piano about 12 years ago. Bought my daughter a ukulele about three or four years ago. But I haven’t bought any new musical instruments for us since then. I have bought music books, though.

Bellatrix's avatar

My children still joke about the musical Christmas presents I used to buy them. They had maracas, drums, tambourines. I so, so wanted them to love music.

When they went to school they were all invited to be in the school band and all ended up playing the clarinet (which we bought for them). I still have one here in the cupboard. I need to have it serviced and I think I will donate it to the local school for a child who can’t afford a new one.

My middle daughter is the only one who really took to music and I have bought her guitars.

Even though they are grown up, musical instruments are one of the few things I would happily go out and buy them now if they asked me. I think the ability to play an instrument is a wonderful gift and a joy that lasts for life.

I hope your son loves his guitar @zensky.

gasman's avatar

Band instruments are usually rented from the local music shop on a monthly basis, with some minimum number of months, & sometimes on a rent-to-own program. Not a bad deal for potentially bringing joy and enlightenment to a child for the rest of their life, or at least a wholesome social activity for the duration of their school career. It worked for me (saxophone, age 9) and 2 out of 3 of my children!

Pachy's avatar

A while back, someone asked if our parents had ever disappointed us in some way, and I commented that I couldn’t remember ever feeling that way. This question reminds me how much I regret that they, who were very musical, never encouraged me or my brother to learn a musical instrument. Later in life I took piano lessons but got nowhere. I agree, kids need to be exposed early to music and encouraged to learn how to play an instrument.

wundayatta's avatar

I started mu daughter on piano when she was four. She stayed with it until she was maybe 13. When she went to high school, she dropped it, and I let her. I’m kind of killing myself for that. My son, however, has piano lessons separate from school, so when he moves on to high school, he won’t have to find a new teacher.

His teacher is somewhat formidable, though. Most of her students are the type who practice all day long and enter the big competitions. My son refuses to perform in recitals. He just plays because he likes the music. I think. I hope. He doesn’t like practicing, but of course, who really does? Especially he doesn’t like exercises and scales and certain etudes. But give him Mozart or Bach or Chopin and he won’t stop practicing (although not the way his teacher wants him to).

Bellatrix's avatar

Here we had to buy them @gasman. I think you could do it on a rent/buy plan but I don’t think you could just rent them. Be good if parents could do that. Years ago each clarinet was more than $600–700.00. Other instruments are of course much more expensive. I think some of the brass instruments could be rented. I wonder how many children’s parents have to say no to their children being in the band because they couldn’t afford an instrument.

This might be modded… oh well..

CWOTUS's avatar

When she was in middle school, I bought my daughter a clarinet, which she played through high school. I think she has given it up completely now, but she was doing it.

I like the idea, though. I never know what to get for the grandkids (my son’s children), so this’ll be great.

laineybug's avatar

Well I’m not a parent but my dad got me a new clarinet kind of recently.

Response moderated (Spam)
wundayatta's avatar

What is with all the clarinets? My brother had a clarinet, and that was probably one of the worst memories of my childhood—him trying to practice. Clarinet is a horrible instrument to learn. Did you parents who bought your kids clarinets know that? I would buy any instrument other than a clarinet. Even a bagpipe!

Bellatrix's avatar

In my case, the children were all appraised by the music teachers to see what instrument suited them best. For instance, not everyone has the right mouth to play the flute and little children are going to find it hard to manage a big, brass instrument. Some kids were specifically chosen for percussion because of their rhythmic ability (I think). My children were all deemed to be clarinet players. Which I didn’t mind because my dad loved that instrument.

I would have preferred my son to play drums and I suspect he would have stayed with it longer if he had been able to do that. In a fit of madness, I even offered to buy him a set of drums to keep him playing in his teens. He said no (I should be saying thanks for that but I think it’s a healthy release of stress to play an instrument). I also tried to persuade him to swap to the sax because he wanted to drop music and I thought convincing him the sax was sexy might work. It didn’t.

dxs's avatar

I think that music is very important for children. With budget cuts, it’s getting harder. I’m thankful that I was given musical instruments at a young age. Appreciation for music is going downhill.

augustlan's avatar

@laineybug‘s dad is a drummer, but @laineybug is the only one of our children to be really interested in playing an instrument. She’s in both concert and marching band at her high school. Her dad first bought her a used clarinet (her choice of instrument) several years ago, and recently bought her a pretty nice brand new one. Our oldest attempted to play violin, but gave that up before we got to the buying stage. Their dad has also bought them a guitar, but it mostly sits unused.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah, Ark’s getting a new drum and a new trumpet for his b-day – they already have a couple of pianos, electric violins, maraccas, a bunch of percussive instruments, xylophones, saxophones, guitars. They have access to daddy’s real life keyboard, violins, and drums and guitars, as well. Not only are they both Montessori kids but they’re both alumni of many years of Music Together so suffice it to say we consider constant musical development a bid deal.

majorrich's avatar

over Christmas break, I had strings put on my old Martin and gave it to my Son. Problem is, he wont play it. It’s like he’s afraid of it. It sounds great, but he still plays his yamaha.

gailcalled's avatar

Having grown up with a piano (all three of us played), I provided one for my kids. My daughter persevered with her lessons through her graduation from high school.During her recitals, we always played a duet so that was fun for me.

After a few years with the recorder, my son did switch to the clarinet and got very good. He spent 6 weeks at the Oberlin College summer music camp, which was a lot better than me nagging him to practice.

There were always reeds in various stages of disintegration lying around the house.

(My brother, in junior high, had a cacophonous few years with the trombone. And I took violin lessons for six weeks. Live and learn.)

zensky's avatar

@Bellatrix Why would it be modded babes?

YARNLADY's avatar

I bought them a very nice children’s electronic keyboard, but they aren’t the least bit interested in it. I bought them some harmonicas, same result. They have two other toys that produce music by pushing various buttons, but other than a few pokes now and then, they are not very music oriented, except for singing, which they both enjoy.

wundayatta's avatar

I always wanted my kids to be interested in music. It’s an important part of my life, and I have a number of instruments around the house. I might have a few “toys” but I always felt that if you want your kids to be interested, they have to have access to serious instruments that they have to learn. Then you have to spend time with them, pretty much learning the instrument along with them.

If you’re not completely engaged in the music with them, they won’t feel it is important to you. If it’s not important to you, it’s harder for them to see why it should be important to them.

My son and I do have some differences about practicing. He wants to practice when he wants to (which is usually when it is late and he is tired) and I want him to practice when he is fresher. Also he likes to do the stuff he loves first, and I want him to do the stuff he doesn’t like first, so he can reward himself with the stuff he loves at the end. It is an ongoing tug-of-war.

Anyway, I don’t think we can expect our children to be interested in music unless we are interested in it, and especially demonstrate that interest by spending at least half an hour a day with them working on music. There are a few people who will do music no matter what their parents do. But for most, parents need to support them or it ain’t happening.

Bellatrix's avatar

@wundayatta, I agree they need parents who are engaged and supportive but sometimes that’s not enough. As they become teens peer pressure also comes into play. If you introduce them to music early and show a love yourself they may come back to it later. That happened with my daughter. She took up playing the guitar after dropping the clarinet years earlier. I keep hoping my son will be inspired but he’s more sporty. They all love music but not necessarily playing an instrument. No matter how much we love something, they’re individuals and will make their own decisions.

jonsblond's avatar

We have a clarinet, alto saxophone, flute and acoustic guitar in the house. Everyone in our house has played at least one of these instruments.

pleiades's avatar

Basic xylophone for christmas!

gwennifer's avatar

I recently bought my 5th grade daughter a saxophone. Middle school band is mandatory for one semester and that’s the instrument she chose. A local music store came in and showcased the different instruments and tested the kids on them too. Luckily she scored well on the sax since I’d already rented one for her by then. After just a few weeks, I decided to buy a student level one for her because she was obviously enjoying it and progressing so well. Our purchase price will equal the rental cost if she plays for the whole year. And I can sell it if she gives it up. I thought it would be painful listening to her practice but it’s been enjoyable. I wish I’d been given the opportunity to take band when I was a kid.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Not a parent but my mother already had a piano when I was a kid. As well as a guitar – but the less said about that the very much better I shall be. I didn’t start learning to play that until I was 20. End of stringed instrument subject.
I wanted to learn to play the drums but the folks weren’t having any of that. I was pretty much stuck with keyboards and the old piano (long since gone because it was really that old), but my first music teacher who died two years ago from bone cancer, she left me her (I imagine very expensive) electric piano – looks and sounds like the real thing, and seeing as somebody broke my goddamn guitar, I shall be learning to play the piano a lot more than I had hoped to.

I agree though, music has such a strong presence in our daily lives, and sometimes being able to play an instrument does have some degree of therapeutic value as you get older I guess. It’s a very important part of our lives and I think kids should be actively encouraged to experiment with music and musical instruments.

JessK's avatar

Born and raised in music.
My mom plays french horn, my dad played tenor sax, flute, and percussion.
And if that’s not bad enough, they met in college marching band.

As each of my siblings and I reached 3rd grade, the year where you could enroll in instrumental classes, we each picked our instrument. My sister is a violinist, I play flute, and my brother is a drummer. My little sis is heavily tone deaf, so she got piano. I stayed on flute throughout my whole school career, did the whole marching band scene, etc. Although I’ve given up a lot of other things I enjoy (dance, tech theatre) so that I could stay in band, and it’s more of a hobby than a passion, I don’t think I would have chosen anything else. My parents knew what they were doing.

And monologue… done. ;)

gasman's avatar

Anything is better than nothing, so I second @pleiades toy xylophone suggestion for small children. It makes them aware of the diatonic scale, which is the basis of all western music.

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