June 19, 2024

About the Author: Children's Music Academy

CMA is dedicated to providing top-notch music lessons for children in central London with outstanding music teachers!

Choosing the right musical instrument for your child can be a rewarding yet challenging task.

The right choice can spark a lifelong passion for music, while the wrong one might lead to frustration and disinterest.

This comprehensive guide on how to choose the right instrument for your child will help you navigate this important decision with confidence.

Boy playing violin

Assessing your child’s interests and personality

Observe their preferences

Pay attention to the types of music your child enjoys and the instruments that catch their attention.

Do they seem fascinated by the piano at a friend’s house or mesmerised by the guitar on television?

These initial signs can indicate their musical inclinations. Additionally, consider their preferences when it comes to sound, touch, and visual appeal.

For example, some children may be drawn to the bright colours of a drum set or the intricate designs on a violin.

Consider their personality

Different instruments suit different personalities.

For instance, outgoing children might thrive on instruments that allow them to be expressive, such as the trumpet or drums, which are often prominent in performances.

Conversely, more introverted children might prefer instruments that offer more solitary practice opportunities, such as the piano or violin.

It’s also important to consider their level of coordination and dexterity, as some instruments require more hand-eye coordination than others.

Girl holding guitar

Physical considerations

Size and physical capability

Some instruments are more physically demanding than others. Ensure the instrument is appropriate for your child’s size and strength.

For example, a double bass or tuba might be too large for a young child, whereas a violin or flute could be more manageable.

Additionally, consider any physical limitations your child may have, such as scoliosis or other musculoskeletal issues that may affect their ability to play certain instruments.

Dental and orthodontic concerns

If your child has braces or other dental issues, some wind instruments might be challenging to play.

Consult with both their orthodontist and a music teacher to find a suitable option.

For example, some wind instruments may require more precise embouchure (the position and shape of the lips, facial muscles, and teeth) than others.

Girl playing piano

Practical considerations

Cost and maintenance

Musical instruments can be a significant investment. Consider the initial cost as well as ongoing maintenance expenses.

Some instruments, like pianos, require regular tuning, while others, such as violins, need frequent string replacements.

Additionally, think about the cost of lessons, accessories (such as music stands or cases), and potential repairs.


Think about how portable the instrument is.

If your child takes the instrument to school or lessons frequently, something light and easy to carry, like a clarinet or trumpet, might be more convenient than a bulky instrument like a cello.

Also, consider whether the instrument requires specific storage or transportation equipment.

Group of children playing different musical instruments

Musical environment

School band or orchestra

Consider the instruments needed in these ensembles if your child is part of a school band or orchestra.

Your child might have more opportunities to play and perform if they choose an instrument that is in demand.

This can also affect their social interactions and sense of belonging within the group.

Private lessons vs. group classes

The availability of private lessons and group classes can influence your decision.

Some instruments are better suited for private lessons (such as piano or voice), while others are more enjoyable in a group setting (like band or choir).

Consider your child’s learning style and personality when choosing between private lessons or group classes.

Girl playing ukulele

Trying before buying

Instrument trials

Many music stores offer rental programs or trial periods that allow your child to try out an instrument before committing to a purchase.

This can be an excellent way to gauge their interest and aptitude for a particular instrument, and it also gives you the opportunity to see if they have enjoyed playing it for a few months.

You can test out different instruments, sizes, and styles to find the perfect fit for your child.

Additionally, some music stores may offer trial periods for specific instruments, such as pianos or guitars, which can be especially helpful in determining if your child will stick with it.

Consulting with teachers

Consulting with music teachers can provide invaluable insight into what might suit your child best.

A qualified teacher can assess your child’s aptitude and interest in different instruments, taking into account their strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.

They can also offer expert advice on which instruments are more suitable for beginners, and help you navigate the process of choosing the right instrument for your child.

Mother and daughter playing piano

Encouraging a lifelong love of music

Support and encouragement

Your support and encouragement are crucial in fostering a lifelong love of music in your child.

Attending their performances, even if they’re just starting out, shows that you value their efforts and care about their progress.

Praise their efforts, no matter how small they may seem, and be patient with their progress. This will help build their confidence and motivation to continue learning.

Balanced practise

Finding a balanced practice routine that doesn’t overwhelm your child is essential.

Encourage regular, short practice sessions rather than infrequent, lengthy ones. This helps build their skills steadily and keeps their interest alive by avoiding burnout.

It’s also important to make practice sessions fun and engaging by incorporating games, exercises, and songs they enjoy.

Exposure to diverse music

Exposing your child to a variety of music genres and instruments is a great way to broaden their musical horizons and inspire them to try new things.

Take them to concerts, watch performances online, and listen to different types of music at home.

You can also explore different cultural traditions and historical periods of music to give them a richer understanding of the world of music.

This can help spark their curiosity and enthusiasm for music, making them more likely to continue exploring and learning over time.

Boy playing flute

Additional tips

Be open-minded: Be willing to try out different instruments before making a final decision.

Consider renting: Renting an instrument can be a great way to test its suitability before committing to a purchase.

Encourage practising: Regular practice is essential for developing skills on any instrument.

Attend performances: Attend concerts and performances featuring different types of music to broaden your child’s musical horizons.

Join online communities: Join online forums and communities related to music-making to connect with other musicians and learn from their experiences.

Be patient: Learning an instrument takes time and effort; be patient with your child’s progress and celebrate small victories along the way.


Choosing the right instrument for your child is just one step in their musical journey.

By considering their interests, personality, physical capabilities, and practical considerations, you can help them find an instrument that brings joy and fulfilment.

With patience, encouragement, and guidance from experienced teachers and mentors, they will grow into skilled musicians who appreciate the beauty of music for years to come.

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