What instrument should my child start learning first?
It’s a question we get asked all the time. Singing, Guitar, Ukulele, Bass and Drums are all wonderful instruments to start with, especially if your child has their heart set on a certain instrument. If they don’t know what to choose, however, at Downtown we personally recommend students start with learning the Piano.
Why the Piano? Here are our top 5 reasons why we think Piano is the best instrument to learn first.
Improved Co ordination
Although we start learning to play with just our right hand and then just our left hand, soon enough, all students will use both hands on the keyboard simultaneously. This improves your child’s fine motor skills, dexterity and develops hand-eye co-ordination. Things that are vital for your child’s development. It’s also helpful in learning any other instrument your child might gravitate towards in the future. The muscles in the hands become stronger, more flexible and movement becomes more refined. Research shows that pianists have actually changed the cortical mapping to increase finger speeds. For children and adults with reduced motor skills, learning to play the piano can challenge these brain connections to motor movement and even strengthen coordination.
Leaning the piano involves understanding and applying rhythms, which each finger will then have to translate percussively onto the keys. These patterns are extremely important for reading sheet music, understanding rhythmic dictation and overall improvement of your child’s sense of timing. It is especially helpful for those students wanting to learn the drums and/or guitar in the future as they already can read rhythms and will feel comfortable playing and strumming a lot quicker and more naturally than other beginners.
Some of the most beautiful melodies have been written for the piano. Melodies are made from the notes played on the keys. Reading these different notes on both the treble and the bass clefs will aid in your child’s music theory interpretation, aural/listening skills and ability to compose and develop melodies of their own. Learning to read traditional sheet music will not only teach your child to read music for the piano, but music for any instrument from Bass guitar to Saxophone!
Improved Sight Reading and Music Theory
Music theory and sight reading skills can easily come second to the fun and enjoyment of playing or singing a favourite song. However, the best musicians have a comprehensive understanding of music theory and are confident in reading and writing in our musical language. Learning the piano involves reading sheet music in two clefs; treble and bass, simultaneously. Children will be processing, interpreting and understanding rhythm, melody, dynamics, keys and all other nuances within the music presented to them. This impressive skill is necessary when learning all other instruments. It will also set your child apart at school during music exams and assessments.
Learn to Play Single Notes and Chords
We learn single note melodies with our right hand and chords with our left to create a full and dynamic sound on the piano. This introduction to single note melodies is a great transition into improvising and soloing not only on the piano, but even on the guitar and with the voice. The chords we learn on the piano are the same as the chords we learn on the guitar and ukulele too.
After learning the piano for a while, your child can easily move to another instrument as they grow up and start to want to make their own decisions about what instrument to play. Whatever they decided, you can feel confident that they have a fantastic foundation in music.
We are lucky to have wonderful piano teachers here at Downtown Creative Studios, all of whom can teach your child the basics and fundamentals of music through the piano.