5 Ways to Introduce Musical Instruments to Young Children

Things You Can Do at Home to Teach Music Concepts

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Young children are very curious learners; they are open to new experiences especially if it is presented in an appealing manner. And, music is one of those things that most children love from a very young age. Some say it is innate. From the rhythm of mother's heartbeat while in the womb to experiencing the breathing patterns on their own, your child has a natural rhythm. You can help your child nurture it.

Parents and teachers often use fun and creative ways of teaching music to young children. You really do not need a lot of money to do this, all you need is creativity and imagination.

Here are five simple ways of introducing musical instruments to young kids:

Use Everyday Objects

A great way to introduce instruments to young children and teach an important musical concept like rhythm is to use everyday objects found in the home or classroom and treat it like a percussive instrument.

Items like small pots and pans, pot covers, metal ladles, wooden spoons, salt and pepper shakers, bubble wrap, pencils, pens, rulers, and glass bottles filled with varying amounts of water can all be used to create various sounds.

Introduce Real Instruments

If you can, borrow some actual percussion instruments like bells, drums, maracas, or triangles and allow your child to feel the instruments, interact with the instruments on their own, let them discover the sounds that the instruments produce. Then, as they are hitting the instrument or producing sound on their own, pick up another instrument and play along with your child. Encourage them. 

After the child has experimented on their own with the instrument, try it yourself, demonstrate a simple rhythm or play the instrument for them. Your own experimentation and improvisation show your child that there is no right or wrong, it is about having fun and discovering the music from within.

Create Your Own

Another fun activity for children is to help them create their own musical instruments out of recycled materials. For example, you can experiment with making a small guitar out of an empty tissue box and rubber bands. Or, you can create a shaker by filling an empty container with uncooked beans or rice. This is a two-for-one lesson. Not only will you be fostering musical learning; you also show the value of recycling.

Listen to Music

Try to expose your children to music from various periods and cultures. Afterward, ask your child to identify at least one instrument from the music. Depending on the music, you can extend this activity by combining listening with dance or movement, like clapping, conducting, or foot tapping. This will help your child develop music appreciation and awareness of other types of music. Some may start to grasp the concept of a steady beat.

Color Your Way

Another simple way to introduce musical instruments to young children is by providing them with coloring books that feature different musical instruments. You can find musical instrument coloring books at bookstores or free printable coloring pages online. While coloring along, you might want to find a sound sample of the instrument, like a few sound bites, featuring the instrument that your child is coloring. By engaging multiple senses at once—sight, sound, touch—you deeply engage the child in the learning process and strengthen your child's connection to the subject matter.