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Kids and Musical Instruments

 
 
jcboy
 
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 01:44 pm
When I was a kid I learned how to play the violin. That was the musical instrument I choose in music class. I was talking to Antonio about what instrument he would like to learn how to play, now he’s only six but he said the piano.

I thought oh good grief, he’ll be banging on piano keys all day if we got one, but then again if that’s what he wants to learn perhaps we should be supportive. Besides if we got one we can always get those soft earplugs and wear them around the house.

What did you play? And what instruments did your children learn to play?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 29 • Views: 5,985 • Replies: 51

 
roger
 
  4  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 01:48 pm
@jcboy,
Have you considered one of the electronic keyboards. Some very closely replicate the piano sound, and guess what - you can control the volumn.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 01:56 pm
@roger,
Yep... sozlet really, really (REALLY) wanted a piano for a long time. We ended up getting an electronic one at Restoration Hardware (on sale around the holidays), she has had a great time tooling around with it ever since. (Maybe 3-4 years, I forget.)

Bonus -- you can plug in earphones, so she can mess around with it silently.

I can't testify to its quality personally but she and my husband both say it sounds quite good.

This seems to be it, "no longer available" but FYI in terms of finding something similar:

http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod1213085

As for myself, I played violin for a few years, loved it until a family friend who was also a professional musician "helped me" in a sufficiently overbearing way that I gave it up. (I got stupendously frustrated and vowed never to touch it again and since I'm also stupendously stubborn, I didn't.) Which was good news/ bad news -- bad part was that I was really quite good and everyone was distressed that I stopped, good part was I became deaf a few years after that and I think it would have been that much harder if I'd been a serious violinist at that point.

My own kid has had a variety of instruments for a while -- first a tiny piano (like for toddlers), then the roll-up one, plus harmonica, recorder, etc. She started playing trumpet at school last year, LOVES it.
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 01:59 pm
@roger,
I never thought of that! you know if we got one and he actually learned how to play it we could think about the piano another time! I love that idea!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 02:00 pm
@sozobe,
This seems to be the same one, for $20 -- used, but at that price you can just see how it works out and go from there:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FLEXIBLE-ROLL-UP-PIANO-KEYBOARD-49-KEYS-NEW-GENERATION-ROLL-UP-KEYBOARD-W-MANUAL-/400323735323?pt=Keyboards_MIDI&hash=item5d35276f1b
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 02:10 pm
@sozobe,
And here it is new, at Amazon -- reviews are terrible though! Seems slightly different from ours, not sure if it's disgruntled reviewers or worse quality.

http://www.amazon.com/Rollup-Piano-ELECTRONIC-ROLL-PIANO/dp/B0049BE8D6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1348949392&sr=8-4&keywords=flexible+piano
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 02:11 pm
@sozobe,
Thanks Soz!

About six months ago I bought this kids computer program with different instruments they can play with and every time he picks the piano. Of course after buying that I bought him some headphones to go along with the program. Cool
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 02:13 pm
@jcboy,
Ha, yep! Unironic reason number 257 I'm glad I'm deaf -- my kid could make all the noise she wanted and I didn't care. (When she was in preschool through second grade or so her friends LOVED coming over here and making lots of loud "music"!)
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 05:41 pm
@jcboy,
I second the keyboard idea especially since it has volume control and an earphone jack. The other thing about keyboards/pianos is that it is a gateway instrument. After you learn to read music and how to play, it is easy to move to another instrument. All of my children started on the piano or keyboard. I now have one in college majoring in violin performance, a high school trumpet player and a middle school sax player.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 06:12 pm
I started on violin and a little piano once I could read music.

I agree with the keyboard gateway...

once he can read music, the sky is the limit. (other than talent of course)

I've been toying with an old guitar, trying to relearn my chords and pick it back up after 35 years...
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  4  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 07:15 pm
@jcboy,
Hey, jc, if you go for the keyboard setup, be sure to get one that gets louder the harder you hit the keys. That's the way pianos are made, but not all keyboards.
Ceili
 
  3  
Reply Sat 29 Sep, 2012 08:10 pm
I played piano, sax, flute.. If you do decide to go the way of an electronic piano, make sure the keys are weighted. Which means, that it feels like playing a real piano and not just some light weight plastic keys. It does make a difference in learning technique.

0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2012 06:15 am
You can get a full 88-key electric piano (not cheap) that has foot pedals, etc. A keyboard is not a piano and he will be limited with a keyboard. It's fine for beginners, but if he wants to play piano he'll need 88 keys and some pedals.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  4  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2012 06:17 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

Hey, jc, if you go for the keyboard setup, be sure to get one that gets louder the harder you hit the keys. That's the way pianos are made, but not all keyboards.


Good point. I learned on an electric piano but my lessons were on an upright. My practicing didn't much help me when I got on the upright because I wasn't using enough finger strength. Kinda like the difference between a modern keyboard and an old typewriter.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2012 06:22 am
@jcboy,
jcboy wrote:

When I was a kid I learned how to play the violin. That was the musical instrument I choose in music class. I was talking to Antonio about what instrument he would like to learn how to play, now he’s only six but he said the piano.


If this is your idea (playing an instrument) then I'd hold off for a few more years. If it's his idea and he really wants to play an instrument then 6 isn't too young. My daughter started talking about playing a cello when she was in kindergarden. She saw a string quartet at an assembly in school and fell in love with the idea of playing a cello. We didn't do anything about it for a while but she was playing on a 1/4-size cello by the time she was in second grade. She still LOVES playing cello and turns to it whenever she needs to de-stress.

My other daughter tried piano, viola, and guitar. Some kids simply aren't musicians. Just sayin'
MMarciano
 
  4  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2012 02:53 pm
@JPB,
It’s a good thing he started this thread and got some input or he would have gone out and bought a baby grand piano.

Antonio is interested in the piano, that’s the number one instrument he chooses to play on his computer, the virtual piano, he’s actually quite good at it.
0 Replies
 
prodigalrunninglate
 
  5  
Reply Fri 5 Oct, 2012 09:52 am
@jcboy,
Started on piano myself (then added clarinet. Then bass. Then trumpet, trombone, marching snare, timpani, and vibraphone, before discovering the world of digital instruments/drums/samples). Also taught band/music theory to 7-14 year olds for years and have to say there's a lot of reasons why it really is the best instrument to learn first (during the time your child is still learning to read music), even if your child decides to move to something else down the road: it is the only instrument with a useful, simple, direct visual relationship between touch and pitch. There's a reason all college music majors require beginner piano classes from all instruments; it makes music theory infinitely easier to grasp.

For example: on a piano, a half-step is from any key to the key right next to it on either side. A whole-step is to the key past that. So without knowing anything besides that simple definition of a half-step vs. a whole-step, and how to play a major scale (non-musical parents, a major scale is the one that sounds like "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do"), any six-year-old can deduce just by counting the keys you've told them to play that a major scale follows a pattern of whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half. It doesn't work like that on a trumpet or a flute.

Likewise, musical intervals (major third, perfect fourth, dominant seventh, etc.) are all defined in terms of the number of half-steps they contain. Ask a class of sixth grade beginners to tell you how many half-steps are between C and G (a perfect fifth), the majority of the class will say "eight." Ask them to list every note between C and G in order, and they will say C C# D D# E E# F F#G. If your piano section is paying attention, they will be looking very smug right now, and that the correct answers are "seven" and "C C# D D# E F F# G (leaving out the E#). That is because on a piano there is no black key between E and F (or between B and C, for that matter). But on a clarinet, the fingerings are arbitrary and (it seems at first) random, and there is nothing to indicate that E and F have no intermediate.

During summer music camp, we would play Music Theory Jeopardy during theory class, with prizes to the winning section at the end. The first time I did this, I had to have the keyboard/piano players grab chairs and sit away from their instruments, because they were using the keyboards to count out their answers and the other students were complaining about fairness. But of course it wasn't cheating, it was actually a brilliant use of available resources by my piano students, so I ended up letting them go back to their seats and instead printed out illustrations of piano keyboards to give the rest of the class.

For a piano player, the notes written on the page have concrete meaning, they correspond directly to points on a line which are spaced evenly and consistently. They can point to middle C, they can touch a G sharp. One note is played by one finger. It is simple and easy to grasp.

As far as listening to him bang on keys all day, well...at least he'll always be in tune. Buy the kid a Casio, buy yourself an iPod Smile
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Oct, 2012 11:04 am
@prodigalrunninglate,
I never thought of that, but I don't doubt it at all.
0 Replies
 
MMarciano
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 10:55 am
Well the two of them are in Tampa shopping for a full 88 key electric piano and I have the entire house to myself for a change!
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Oct, 2012 11:03 am
@MMarciano,
They might change there minds and go for a full set of electronic drums. Enjoy the quiet house while you can
0 Replies
 
 

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