Our last blog post included some useful tips about how to pick an instrument for your child to learn to kickstart their music education, and in writing that post, we realized that we are a little biased on this topic. Let’s talk about why piano is actually the best for kids to learn.
Learning piano helps kids visualize musical concepts
When kids start learning music, it can be hard for them to distinguish between high and low notes. A piano keyboard makes this much easier to learn and understand because everything is laid out visually in a way that kids can plainly see. From left to right, it starts low and goes high.
Every note has its own key, and there are two consistent sizes of keys throughout the entire instrument. Contrast that to a trumpet, which has three valves to play all of its notes, or a trombone that’s just one big slide.
The abstract concept of sharps and flat can also be difficult for children to grasp when learning about music, and the piano makes this extremely easy to understand and visualize. These are the middle notes that are halfway between the notes around them, and they stand out clearly on the piano. Natural notes are white, sharps and flats are black. Easy.
It can be hard for kids (and parents!) to endure day after day of practicing on any instrument, and the piano has the advantage that it can't be played out of tune (though, yes, this can be done with pitch bend wheels on many digital keyboards, and yes, it’s awesome). Kids will enjoy the positive reinforcement of making some pleasant sounding music right away on the piano. The same cannot be said about novice violinists, who will find all types of pitches between standard notes and screechy bowing that could make your ears bleed.
Piano can do more musically than all other instruments
With its 88 keys, the piano has a HUGE range from very very low to very very high, spanning the ranges of bass, cello, viola, and violin combined. With violin, your child just learns the treble clef (high notes). With piano, your child learns the treble clef AND the bass clef (low notes). They learn how to improvise a high melody and how to structure a bass chord progression.
So much of music is how the notes interact with each other, and piano has this covered with unparalleled ability to play harmonies through complex chords. Clarinet and violin are stuck with just one note at a time.
As a result, piano players are basically one-person bands with ability to play basslines and accompaniments with the left hand, and melodies with the right hand. Piano is perfect for traditional classical music, rock, jazz, church music, electronic music, and everything in between, so your child can take the skills they learn in early piano lessons in many different musical directions.
First comes piano, then comes…?
To lay the groundwork of a strong music education (and start making beautiful sounding music!), piano is the best instrument for kids to study. It is a really strong introduction to playing an instrument, then who knows where it will take them. Let them influence the course of their musical path.
Why do you think that the piano is the best instrument (or not)? How has studying piano impacted your child's musical life? Leave us a comment below.
Our educational iPad app MusiQuest is also a great compliment to music lessons, or a way for kids to get started learning music before they even choose an instrument.