Your music teacher is there to help you. If you have a good emotional response to the type of music an instrument is capable of making, that’s a really good start in choosing. Music is about a lot of things, but the emotional expression of it, is a big part of why we do it.
LISTEN.Take time to familiarize yourself or your child with different types or genres of music. Although the accepted norm is to start with Classical Music as a basis for all other types of music, there are also exceptions to the rule. Drums for instance, just to name one.
TWO: listen live.
Go listen to live music. Any kind of music, but just go. Go to festivals, regional events, competitions, outdoor grass roots music, concerts. You willknow: if you like it or not. Can you (or your child) “picture” yourself up there? If you have a can’t wait to try it attitude, then you are probably on the right track. There are as many types of music as there are instruments, and there is definitely one or more for you. A large majority of us play more than one instrument. What you are most drawn to, is a great starting place.
THREE: physical limitations.
Consider the physical limitations imposed by an instrument and it’s practicality. The size of it specifically. It might be impractical for a 7 year old to haul around a double bass or a tuba. A small child may start on a scaled down violin, but may eventually want to play the cello, and that transition is actually a fairly easy one. Stringed instruments, as well as brass and woodwinds have many similarities, which is why most musicians are familiar with more than one.
Take everything “with a grain of salt”, even physical limitations: because we’ve seen folks with, what might be best described as a “physical limitation” for an instrumentactually excel at it, despite that limitation.
We’ve recently seen a 5 year old drummer on youtube that blew us away!
QUESTION: should you taking up a wind instrument, while still in braces?
Players often tell us that they started with braces, and once those braces came off, they actually had a serious advantage over others, because of that temporarily imposed limitation, and they learned to try harder. We’ve learned that: when you love an instrument, nothing stops you but yourself.
FOUR: solo vs. group. Some instruments are more SOLO identified, than GROUP identified. Would you rather be playing in a group, that’s playing the same thing? Then think: an orchestra, symphony or a band of some kind. Feeling SOLO? look at voice, lead guitar, drums, violin, sax, trumpet, flute, among others.
FIVE: Don’t feel tied to an instrument, if you are longing to try a different one? Go ahead! String players often switch from violin to viola or even cello, or bass, based on the sounds capabilities of the instrument, and whether or not they truly enjoy that particular sound. If you enjoy the thought of solo performing, or singing whileplaying, then piano or guitar might be the answer, whereas violin might be a little tricky, and wind instruments impossible. See how the choices start narrowing themselves?
SIX: ROCK ‘N ROLL? People who are drawn to ROCK need to look primarily at guitar, bass, and drums for their choices in instrumentation. Although the Dixie Chicks certainly do break those rules with violins! See again, how a passion for an instrument allows for many many choices, whether the norm or breaking the rules?
Having a passion for an instrument is just as important as anything else. Ask any musician. Take a look at singers like: Joe Cocker or Kim Carnes, among many, who managed to turn rather distorted voices, or limitations, into a major careers. The examples of this are too many to list here, but have faith, there is a great instrument just waiting for you. Your only job, is to find it.
Choose your instrument and your teacher, and go and take a few lessons with a loaner instrument. “Trying it on for size” approach. Your teacher will be able to help more than any note written here.
Keep and open mind. This is supposed to be fun. The beginning of almost any new area of study, incurs insecurities, and a testing of ones patience and talents, in a way that most valuable lessons in life, often do. Dedication is learned, yes? This will be a very valuable contribution to the rest of your life, and is very much worth it.
We hope this has helped.