Embracing a Healthy Family: Encouraging a Musical Interest in Children

Encouraging a Musical Interest in Children

I've always had a hard decision to make when it came to extra curricular activities for my children. My oldest tried the keyboard and was really good at the flute but she also loved soccer and tried her hand at track. I wished she had pursued an interest with the piano but was happy with the flute but at my dismay, it only lasted a couple of years before peer pressure creeped in with the labels and stereotypes of those in band.

Now I have two more to prep for life's fun moments. I struggle with which instrument to give them and also think that I should purchase the lesser toy versions just to give them a feel for what they might like. In 1996, ScienceDaily published that researchers proved that children who took musical lessons had different brain development and an improved memory throughout the course of one year in comparison to their peers who did not take lessons. This research was actually published in Brain journal:

Dr Laurel Trainor, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University and Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, said: "This is the first study to show that brain responses in young, musically trained and untrained children change differently over the course of a year. These changes are likely to be related to the cognitive benefit that is seen with musical training." Prof Trainor led the study with Dr Takako Fujioka, a scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

I found some interesting instruments and packages of complimentary instruments on Amazon. I prefer Amazon as they have reviews included to help guide my decision making.

Melissa and Doug brand has a ten piece set for those over the age of 4. It did get a rating of 4 stars with 106 reviewers. Priced under $20 is also nice.

First Act FA554 Discovery Band in a Bucket prices under $20 too but has fewer instruments. The instruments are not your typical ones either as they have a "Rhythm Fish" that you bang the mallet on and spoons to click. This one seems to be geared to the smaller kids.

Hohner has an acoustic guitar under $43. It's made for kids 3 and up and includes a song book and finger position markers.

If you are really brave, First Act also has a Junior Accordian for under $20! Out of 24 reviews, they have 4.5 stars.

Here is just one glowing review:

My daughter recieved Christmas money and chose to purchase this toy accordion. What a wonderful surprise it has been! I would recommend this instrument to anyone who wants an accordion or a good beginner's instrument.

It has a pleasant sound and is simple to operate. Don't let its simplicity fool you, though. There is room for growth with this accordion. It has a range of two octaves and is capable of good musical expression.

I've given it four stars for durability. It's out-of-box quality is excellent. Time will tell if it garners a fifth star.
A word of warning. My wife and I have had much discussion about how to help our daughter "play" the accordion. Who would've guessed it would teach us something about ourselves?

I'm still leaning towards the piano and will steer clear of drums ... at least for now!

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