Which Instrument is Best for Children to Learn and Why?


  1. Why encourage a child to play an instrument?
  2. What is the best age for a child to learn an instrument?
  3. What is the easiest musical instrument for children to learn?
  4. What instrument should I choose for my child?
  5. What are the best musical instruments for autistic children to learn?


Is your toddler keen to try out the triangle? Does your five-year-old fancy a go on the flute? Perhaps your seven-year-old is super into the saxophone? Or maybe, just maybe, your own musical interests and aspirations are influencing your decision-making here… 🤭

Introducing your child to the joy of learning an instrument can be a real gift but is earlier always better? And what are the best musical instruments for children to learn how to play? Let's take a look at what musical ability is all about as well as which instrument is best for children and why. 🎸playing guitar

Why encourage a child to play an instrument?


Much like learning to draw or dance, we believe that learning to enjoy music-making and how to play an instrument are great tools when it comes to creative and emotional expression – important skills for children and adults alike.

Not only that, playing music as part of a group is brilliant for developing collaborative and social skills, mastering an instrument requires good coordination – not to mention discipline – and the satisfaction that comes with seeing how ‘practice makes perfect’ is unbeatable for some. 🙌

So, there are lots of great reasons to encourage your child to develop their musical abilities but when should you start them on this journey? And how do you know which instrument is right for them? Read on for all the answers! ​​👇  


What is the best age for a child to learn an instrument?


Sure, child prodigies playing Mozart at age of six or singing Ave Maria by age nine are impressive. Their undeniable natural talent and ability to apply themselves so young is highly commendable. But, these gifted students must’ve had to start learning before they were two years old right?! How much of that is driven by their parents? 

Generally, we would suggest taking a more gentle, child-led approach. If your young child shows signs of enjoying listening to music, following rhythmic beats and making sounds with whatever they can get their hands on then they may be interested in taking up an instrument in the not-too-distant future. 🎶

Around the age of 8 to 10 is a great time to encourage your child to take up an instrument. It's important however to be aware of your parenting style and try not to force a musical practice onto your child if they aren’t showing a genuine interest in it as this often leads to dispute, frustration and them avoiding music altogether.  

So, what is a good musical instrument for young children to learn and why? If your child is keen to explore music and instruments, here is a helpful chart to give you an idea of which is the best musical instrument for 5-year-old kids for example. Every child is individual and will vary at different developmental stages, the following is intended as a guide only. 🥁

  • Age 4

Invite your child to explore sound and motion before instructing them on musical rules, theories, and techniques. 

We recommend music-based play at home or in an early-years sensory and sound group. 

  • Age 4-6

As children’s coordination and communication skills develop continue to encourage them through musical play at home. You could also enrol them in an introductory group class setting.

We still do not recommend approaching music in an analytical, theoretical or technical manner yet. 

  • Age 6-7

Children’s motor skills, attention span and general interest level in music vary greatly at this stage. Only enrol your six or seven-year-old in lessons if they have a strong desire and interest in a specific instrument.

Piano and drums are the most common choices for this age range, as children tend to thrive when they do not have to lift or hold an instrument at first.

  • Age 8-10

By this age, children tend to be physically able to hold heavier instruments and have more dexterity in their hands, greater lung capacity and better focus. 

For these reasons, they are more likely to benefit from one-to-one lessons and have more instrument choices available including piano, guitar, drums, voice, violin clarinet and flute.


What is the easiest musical instrument for children to learn?


What is the most common musical instrument for a child to learn? What is the easiest instrument for a child to play? And are the answers to these two questions the same?!

A recent study conducted by YouGov for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found that nine in ten children want to learn a musical instrument with instruments like the guitar, piano and drums proving to be the most popular. 🎹

Instruments that are easy to use – that are lightweight or that don’t need to be picked up at all – make starting to learn a bit easier. Similarly, instruments like piano, drums and guitar offer a quick cycle of encouragement – simple melodies, early strums and uncomplicated beats respectively reward children for their accomplishments early on, encouraging them to come back for more. 😍


What instrument should I choose for my child?


So, what instrument is best for a child to learn; violin or piano? As discussed, this is a bit of a trick question! The real question is ‘how do I work out which instrument my child is most interested in?’. Once you have established that, you can go ahead and get them set up with an instrument and some lessons. 🎵

One surefire way to work out what instrument your child might like is to listen to lots of music together. What style of music do they most enjoy? If it's rock, why not consider the guitar, bass or drums? Jazz might lead you to the trumpet, saxophone, or trombone; while interest in classical music might mean piano or violin would suit them best. 🎻


What are the best musical instruments for autistic children to learn?


So, which instrument is best for children who are neurodivergent? As well as the reasons discussed at the top of this article, music can be a particularly important part of a neurodivergent child’s education as it strengthens hand-eye coordination, motor skills, helps to channel energy creatively into an instrument – and it’s soothing and relaxing, too.

As with any child, the best way to encourage your neurodivergent child to have a genuine interest in playing an instrument is to let them show you what they are most drawn to naturally. As well as the obvious piano, guitar and drums already discussed, other easy-to-access instruments include the ukulele, recorder, xylophone, trumpet and bongos. 🎺

GoStudent tutors believe that the arts, creativity and healthy self-expression play a vital role in education. Try a free trial lesson to see how it can work for you and your child today. 🎒