I wanted to talk today about getting the young musician in your home a musical instrument for Christmas.
First, I think music is just about the best gift anyone can receive. Giving the gift of an instrument along with music lessons is fantastic! Are you thinking about an instrument to give for Christmas? As a music teacher I would like to share what I have learned over the year about this incredible gift and what you should look for.
This is the best instrument for a music student to learn! You may be wondering why that is and here is my reasoning. Piano is the one instruments where the student learns both the notes in the treble clef and the notes in the bass clef. Other instruments only use one or the other. This is great for the new music student because as they start branching out with other instruments, the learning process is faster and easier.
If you are buying a piano a real piano is always the best. Second option is an electric keyboard. With an electric keyboard you want to get one where the keys are “weighted”. This means that they feel like a real piano. If you don’t get the “weighted” keys, then the student will be lazy and will not build up the strength they need in their fingers to play properly. Most keyboards you barely touch them and they will play. This can be frustrating for the teacher because the student comes to the lesson and will barely touch the real piano keys and so hardly any sound will play. The teacher ends up telling the student the entire lesson to “play harder”.
This is the next best instrument in my opinion. What kind of guitar should you purchase? I’m glad you asked!
The first choice is an electric guitar that fits the student. The reason: the strings are closer to the neck of the guitar so the beginning student doesn’t have to work as hard to play the chords and notes.
Second choice: a steel string acoustic guitar that is the proper size. The reason: the steel strings are easier to play, the student can take it anywhere.
Third choice and only if there is absolutely no other option: the classical guitar. The reason: this guitar has nylon strings and then neck is wider than an electric guitar and the acoustic guitar. Therefore the guitar is much harder to play. I have had students start with this style of guitar and when they play one of my steel string guitars they start begging the parents for one.
Which ever option you go with, please purchase the guitar from a reliable guitar shop. You don’t have to go overboard on price, but do get a quality instrument. If the instrument is of poor quality, the student will lose interest much quicker. Try to stay away from the toy stores and big box stores. It has been my experience that the guitars don’t hold the tune therefore the student is never really sure how the song is suppose to sound and they are always having to stop and re-tune it.