Quality recording hardware and software is becoming cheaper, easier to use and more widely available than ever. Young kids are playing around with this technology that was once exclusively the domain of the music industry’s most prestigious players. A key contributor to this effect is undoubtedly Apple’s famous GarageBand app, available to any child who can get their hands on an iPad (which is to say, quite a few, with 13 million iPads being sold last quarter). Inevitably, some children will want to take this interest to the next logical level and ask for a real instrument they can play on.
Which Instrument Is Most Popular?
With the guitar overtaking the formidable violin a few years back as the most popular instrument learned in school, this seems like the most likely choice for your child; given how simple it is to learn it should result in fewer tears too. Happily, they can easily record their playing for use with popular music software alongside a microphone and their own accompaniments. If guitar is indeed the instrument your child wants to play, choosing the right guitar is of the utmost importance.
Getting the Right Guitar
If you get the wrong guitar, it’s game over before you’ve even begun. Difficulty holding, much less playing the thing will defeat any interest your child has, leading to frustration and a desire to leave it behind, wasting both their time and your money. Get the size right, but the strings, body shape or action wrong and similar results will follow; it absolutely must be an object your child is attracted to, that they want to pick up every day. There is a lot to consider, but getting it right will be one of the most fruitful decisions you ever make, and your child will thank you for it for the rest of their lives. Electric guitars can even be plugged right into a PC for easy playing with tones and recording. Children love hearing their own songs played back to them.
If you decide guitar isn’t going to be right for you, don’t worry; plenty of other instruments are perfectly compatible with easy-to-use software. Consider MIDI keyboards or electronic drums as alternative ways for your child to become immersed in the world of digital musicianship. Many kids are fascinated by what can be done with audio equipment, from making funny sounding voices to multi-tracking performances, particularly if they’ve witnessed a grown-up doing something similar. Emulating what you see is a big part of learning about the world. In learning an instrument and how to record it, your child will also gain crucial skills in math, technology and even social techniques. This is also a great way to spend time and bond together with their parents.