musical instruments for kids

Musical instruments for kids

Learning to play an instrument has lots of benefits, no matter your age. There are tons of fun and functional instruments that your little one can learn to play music on. Or, you can even create your own! Learn all about the benefits of musical instruments for kids in this blog post.

Two babies playing with instruments, including a drum and a recorder.

Musical instruments for kids: Developmental benefits

Musical education is a beautiful form of art education that includes teaching children how to play musical instruments, teaching them about musical theory, and allowing them to enjoy and experience different musical genres.

Not only is playing a musical instrument a fun experience for little ones, but it has a positive impact on their development, too! Engagement with music has been found to improve literacy skills, fine motor coordination, spatial reasoning, according to a study by Susan Hallam. Susan also comments that self-perception can be increased with positive musical experiences and enhanced creativity when children are given opportunities to improvise with instruments.

Music also has emotional benefits, such as reducing stress and increasing comfort, improving memory and cognition, encouraging bonding, and enhancing positive moods, according to Children’s Health. Moreover, learning a musical instrument can promote social skills, such as communication, teamwork, and empathy. Music can also improve academic skills, such as language and math.

Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words.

Bright Horizons

Learning a musical instrument can also be a fun and engaging activity for kids, providing them with an opportunity to express themselves creatively, develop new skills, and connect with others who share their interests.

Musical toys: Starting the love of music young

You don’t need to dive right into music lessons and formal musical training! Nurturing a love of music can also look like introducing lots of musical toys for your children to expliore and experiment with. This makes the process fun, too, and lets them engage at their own pace.

Once they start showing an interest, try to encourage a bit more structured learning like playing along to songs and musical games. Then, when they’re ready, you can help them choose an instrument to learn at greater depth.

A collection of musical instruments, including a clarinet, saxophone, flute and ukulele.

Choosing instruments for your little musician

Not sure which instrument to start with? Ideally, you would allow your little one to explore the instrument they are most excited about. Giving them opportunities to try out and explore different instruments is a great way to see what they enjoy (and what they may feel serious enough about to take lessons in!).

Here are other things to consider when choosing an instrument for your child:

  • Age-appropriateness of the instrument: Children’s age is an important consideration when choosing a musical instrument. Some instruments may be too complex or physically demanding for younger kids, especially if they are still developing motor skills.
  • Size and weight of the instrument: The size and weight of the instrument are crucial factors to consider, as children may struggle to handle heavy or bulky instruments. It’s important to choose an instrument that is comfortable and easy to play.
  • The durability of the instrument: Children can be pretty rough and tumble with things, and musical instruments are no exception. It’s important to choose an instrument that is sturdy and can withstand regular use.
  • Cost of the instrument: Musical instruments can vary greatly in cost, so it’s important to set a budget before choosing an instrument. However, it’s also important to invest in a quality instrument that will provide a good playing experience and last for years to come whenever possible. Try checking out local Buy and Sell sites to see if you can get one second-hand to save cost.
  • Availability of lessons and instructors for the instrument: Learning to play a musical instrument often requires instruction from a teacher once they start becoming serious about their learning. It’s important to consider the availability of lessons and instructors for the chosen instrument, as this can affect the child’s progress and enjoyment.
A young girl holding a guitar.

Popular musical instruments for kids

  • Piano/keyboard: The piano and keyboard are popular musical instruments for kids, as they are versatile, easy to learn, and provide a good foundation for music theory.
  • Guitar: The guitar is a popular instrument for kids who are interested in playing rock, pop, or folk music. It’s also a versatile instrument that can be played in many different genres.
  • Ukulele: The ukulele is a smaller and more manageable version of the guitar, making it a great option for younger kids who are interested in playing stringed instruments.
  • Recorder: The recorder is a simple wind instrument that is often taught in elementary schools. It’s a great option for kids who are just starting to learn how to read music and play an instrument.
  • Drums/percussion instruments: Drums and percussion instruments are popular with kids who enjoy playing rhythm and beats. They are also a great way to introduce kids to music theory and timing.
  • Violin: The violin is a popular instrument for kids who are interested in playing classical music. It requires a lot of practice and dedication but can be very rewarding.
  • Trumpet: The trumpet is a brass instrument that is often taught in school bands. It’s a great option for kids

5 Tips for introducing kids to musical instruments

  1. Start with simple instruments: It’s important to choose an instrument that is appropriate for the child’s age and skill level. Starting with a simple instrument can help build a strong foundation and prevent frustration. They can always learn another one later!
  2. Make it fun: Learning to play a musical instrument should be a fun and enjoyable experience for kids. Incorporating games, challenges, and rewards can help keep children engaged and motivated.
  3. Encourage creativity and experimentation: Music is a form of self-expression, so it’s important to encourage children to be creative and experiment with different sounds and styles.
  4. Set realistic expectations: Learning to play a musical instrument takes time and practice. Setting realistic expectations and celebrating small accomplishments can help children stay motivated and avoid burnout.
  5. Provide consistent support and guidance: Learning to play a musical instrument can be challenging, so it’s important to provide consistent support and guidance. Encouraging practice, providing constructive feedback, and celebrating progress can help children build confidence and develop their skills.
A photo of five children enjoying playing with musical instruments for kids, including a drum, ukulele, and maracas.


In conclusion, musical education is a valuable tool for children’s development, providing numerous benefits that can positively impact their academic, social, and personal lives. Learning to play a musical instrument can enhance cognitive abilities, boost creativity, teach discipline and patience, and promote social skills.

Parents should encourage their children to explore different musical instruments that are suitable for their age and abilities, prioritizing their interests and passions. Ultimately, the role of music in children’s development is essential, and investing in a musical education can lead to lifelong benefits that extend beyond the realm of music!

Frequently asked questions about musical instruments for kids

What is the easiest instrument for a child to learn?

Some of the easiest instruments for kids to learn include drums, rhythym sticks, recorder, and xylophone.

What is the best instrument to teach a child?

Some of the best instruments to teach a child include: piano/keyboard, guitar, ukulele, recorder, drums or other percussion instruments, violin, or trumpet.

What is the hardest instrument to play for kids?

Of the list above, violin and piano are often the most difficult instruments to teach children.


For more articles about music and learning, check out some of our posts below.


Children and Music: Benefits of Music in Child Development by Bright Horizons

The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, by Susan Hallam

Music & Other learning for kids

Music is just one of the many great things children can learn! Check out this category for all things early learning.


One response to “Musical instruments for kids”

  1. Emily McGeorge Avatar
    Emily McGeorge

    I really appreciate your emphasis on the developmental benefits. I got musical instruments for my nephew and it’s the best choice I made, if I knew the benefits earlier I would’ve gotten every niece or nephew at least 1 musical instrument

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