Choosing an instrument for your child to study can seem like a daunting task, but rest assured, there are many ways to discover which instrument is a good fit for your child!
In general, it’s best to try and keep your options open, but it’s also important to choose something that will keep your child’s interest. Always consider the practicability of an instrument and the temperament of your child so that your child has the best chance of enjoying their new instrument as more than a passing interest.
One way to gauge their interest is to let them explore various instruments at their leisure. Music stores can be a good place to look because they usually let customers play and explore the instruments they sell.
The Right Size
When choosing a new musical instrument, be aware that some instruments are larger than others, and are made for adult hands, although most instruments are also made in child sizes.
You may also want to consider child-size versions in the same instrument families. For example, instead of trying a baritone saxophone, try the slightly smaller alto sax.
Size is very important because playing incompatible instruments can often cause tension, leading to fatigue, frustration, and in some cases, possible strain injury.
Common “Starter” Instruments
Piano – The most common “starter’ instrument is the piano, a classic instrument that has been played throughout history by many cultures around the world. One benefit to starting on the piano is that all notes can be easily seen right in front of the player, which can help new learners better visualize the musical spectrum they’re playing with.
Guitar – Another popular choice is the guitar. Whether your new student wants to enjoy the natural tones of an acoustic, or rock out on an electric version, this stringed instrument can be an exciting choice. And besides the inherent “cool” that a guitar can convey, it can also be a stepping stone to learning other similar instruments such as the Bass Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, and Harp.
Drums – One of the most popular percussion instruments is the modern drum set. Percussion provides the backbone and rhythm to any song, and can help develop or enhance coordination since it requires both hands and both feet to play the full instrument. It is a great instrument for children with lots of energy!
And just in case you don’t want one of the loudest natural instruments being played in your quiet household (or garage), there’s always the option of using an electronic drum kit, which allows the player to set an appropriate volume level for their surrounding environment, or just simply put on headphones and play as loud as they want.
Skills That Improve Through Learning Music
So now that you’ve chosen your child’s first instrument, what can they get out of it?
Early Musical Education studies have shown that music training in the first decades of a child’s life increases aural acuity and intelligence, as music uses both right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Playing a musical instrument also helps the brain develop by involving multiple parts of the brain including the Central and Peripheral Nervous System. Additionally, performing music can lead to growth in motor skills, sensory, and memory skills. It can even raise IQ levels.
The simple practice of learning an instrument can help with time management and organizational skills, as well as perseverance, since it takes time, effort, and dedication to learn. Fine motor skills and spacial awareness are also enhanced; playing an instrument requires hand-eye coordination as eyes are mostly on the music/conductor/audience while the rest of the body does several other things simultaneously to play the instrument with accuracy.
Reading, comprehension and mathematical skills can improve as well. Counting notes and rhythms improves math comprehensions, as reading music notes has shown to have great impacts on a child’s cognitive skill. Better focus and concentration can also be side effects of learning a new instrument.
Match the right instrument to your child and they will have a learning experience like no other.
The Best Way To Decide Is To Try
While these ideas will guide you in the right direction, nothing can replace seeing your child with an instrument in hand to decide what's the best fit.
That's why Coming Hour offers a Free Discovery Lesson for parents who have a hunch about their child's first instrument, but want to give it a try in a structured setting without buying an instrument, paying for trial lessons, or signing a contract.
He's the reason I'm still teaching. He's the reason I'm still playing. He was the first one to instill a passion for music and creativity that would last a lifetime. He taught me more than just an instrument...
For those who don't know me, my name is Matt Tims. I'm the owner of Coming Hour, and this is the story about the lasting impact my first guitar teacher, Jerry, made on me.
I started guitar lessons when I was quite young, as early as first grade if I remember correctly. There was nothing special about me. I didn't really practice all that much, and I really was just an "ok" player.
You know those 6-year-old prodigies all over YouTube? That definitely wasn't me! But week after week I went to my lessons, and week after week I kept progressing.
At the time I thought I was being formed into a shredder who would tour the world melting faces with my speed-picking. I was learning the hits of Zep, ACDC, Dream Theater, and all my other favorites at the time.
But what I never realized is that Jerry was my biggest fan, encourager, and mentor. Every time I brought a new jingle he would inspire me to keep creating. He cared more about my love of music than about the perfection of any solo I learned, which really pushed me to a higher level of excellence than anything else.
It hurts me to hear endless stories of adults who regret dropping an instrument, or college music students who are squeezed dry of all pleasure in their instrument. If they just had a "Jerry" when they were growing up, they would have never had a reason to quit.
I can't change anybody's past, but I can help shape the future for the next generation of musicians. And that's a huge reason why I started Coming Hour to begin with.
Our goal isn't to produce mechanical prodigies who can spray a million notes playing "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by the age of 11. Our goal is to encourage and inspire musicians that will turn it into a lifelong passion.
For any person, but especially a younger kid, the drive to be excellent is only sustainable when they know that their teacher is on the same journey, and that they care more about who you are than a single note you play.
Don't get me wrong. We push students to practice, and they do. We challenge them to new levels, and they step up. But it's all rooted in a love of music that will last them a lifetime.
And that's why we do what we do.
↑ Get Your First Lesson Free ↑
Or learn more at COMINGHOUR.COM/LESSONS
Choosing the perfect music teacher for your kid's private lessons is both incredibly important and can be confusing. There are lots of variables, but not all of them matter. So here are the traits we value most, and hopefully they help you to choose the best school to enroll your kids in for music lessons.
Time is the one resource you can never get back. Don't waste it experimenting with teachers you've never met, and have no reputation for their teaching or playing.
Being a great teacher doesn't require a history of performing on national tours with high-profile artists. But a great teacher continues to pursue their craft as a musician, and that's what is important. Not only does it display their passion for playing, but knowing your teacher is on the same journey will instill passion in your child...something that isn't taught any other way.
I don't just look for music teachers who have taught music, but I also consider if they teach in other areas of their life. A great teacher isn't defined just by someone who is trained or certified (even though those absolutely matter). A great teacher is someone who is passionate about teaching and just simply "gets it."
How many people get 30-60 minutes of focused, uninterrupted time with your kid each week? Do you as their parent get that much devoted time? Does their pastor?
There's nothing shameful about not having that time available. But for the person who gets that time, it's important to recognize that their level of influence on your kid isn't just as a teacher. They quickly become a loved mentor that kids look to beyond just their weekly lesson.
If you've been around the music world, you know as well as I do that there are plenty of gigging musicians that live a life not ideal for your child to model. That's why we are proud that we hold our teachers to the highest character standards, because we recognize the amount of influence a private music teacher can have on your kid.
Make sure you know your future music teacher holds themselves to a standard that your kid can proudly model.
Life is busy. There's no negotiating that. Unfortunately most lesson schools force you to pay for full months worth of lessons, plus retainers, regardless how well you plan your absences.
It's easy to understand why, with how easy it is to simply skip. But rescheduling isn't always possible, and life doesn't always provide flexibility.
That's why we have a system that allows you to let us know your schedule, and only pay for the lessons you know you'll be at. And if your kid gets sick, we'll credit your account. We always try to reschedule to help the lessons stay on track, but that simply isn't a reality in most busy people's schedules.
We always prefer a balance of flexibility and accountability that is a win-win for you and for us.
No matter how great our teachers are and how amazing your child is, sometimes they just don't fit. Or sometimes your kid's dream to play guitar fizzles when they finally touch a guitar, and their passion for piano explodes after finally playing one in person.
Because of all these reasons - we offer a FREE Lesson for anybody hoping to sign their kids up for music lessons with us.
Why should you be penalized and locked into months of lesson bills before you even know your kid connects with their teacher? You shouldn't!
If you're ready to try out some of the best teachers in the area, just head over to our lessons page and smash that green button to get signed up today!
Parents and students already come to us looking for teachers. We also invest heavily in effective marketing that has proven to get new student leads on a regular basis. Wouldn't it be nice if new students were regularly added to your schedule with no extra effort on your part?
Yes, we all value actively involved parents. But that doesn't mean sitting idly for 30 minutes means they're invested. The reality is that we're right up the road from Hy-Vee, and parents value being able to run errands during lessons.
As much as I hate this truth, as soon as bringing a child to lessons becomes a burden, the less likely they are to stick around over time. When parents know they can run an errand during lessons if needed, they are able to remember that lessons are a worth-while investment, not an inconvenience.
Every lesson teacher imagines what they could "make" running their own studio, only to forget internet, hospitality (coffee/water), waiting room, bathroom supplies, insurance, sales tax, marketing, instrument and facility upkeep, etc.
Teachers get paid anywhere from $28/hr - $32/hr (round numbers) based on your number of students, experience, and qualifications. We do everything listed above plus billing, sales tax, scheduling, etc.
And on top of that, you're paid as an employee. No extra taxes for you in April.
In Sioux Falls, that also means you can teach students that you're involved with at a public school. Yes, that's a fact. Because you're employed, it's technically not "you" teaching them, it's "Coming Hour" teaching them, which makes it 100% permissible.
You'll be alongside other passionate teachers at Coming Hour. Our entire culture from teachers to sales staff is a culture of growth, empowerment, and passion. We all love seeing musicians grow, and that's what you'll be a part of.
Whether you want to collaborate as musicians, or find ensembles for your students, you will grow to love everybody at Coming Hour.
This definitely doesn't make-or-break anything, but it is sure nice to have. Because our retail store is both local AND online, our prices are competitive with the cheapest online stores. No overpriced gear!
On top of that, all teachers get team discounts on all purchases (I can't publicly state the amount) and all students get 10% off all purchases. I guarantee you that makes it cheaper than Amazon for students and parents on almost every purchase.
Or if you simply want to pick up a few hours to supplement your teacher income. We all work together!
Most of all, we want to help you achieve your professional goals. If your goal is as a full-time teacher, we're behind you. If it's also a professional musician with a strong online presence, we'll use you in our retail demos to help get you exposure. If you want to be a clinician, we'll help get you in schools.
Your goals are our goals!
This isn't just about Coming Hour, and it's not just about you. Working together we can make a greater influence on musicians across the Sioux Falls area more effectively than either of us can separately.
I would love to chat about you becoming a Coming Hour teacher. Just click that button, give me your contact info, and I'll be in touch very soon. It would be an honor to have you on our team!
Most people have fantasized about learning guitar at one time or another. And the few that beat the confusion of poorly-made YouTube tutorials and keep playing longer than a few weeks usually end up in a rut, playing the same 3 riffs and patterns because they simply don't know how to go any further.
Whether you use free online resources or sign up for lessons with a teacher, understanding a few of these concepts will help you love and understand what you're learning, and give you the tools to actually stick with it! (Unlike most people who start learning guitar).
Stick with us, and you WILL be playing by the end of this article!
FYI - I created a free picture/diagram guide to help you understand each section better visually. It's not required, and you can absolutely learn everything you need from this article without it, but if you'd like that (FOR FREE), just CLICK HERE, enter your email, and we'll send it to you instantly. (References like 1A, 3C, etc. all also refer to diagrams in the PICTURE GUIDE).
www.cominghour.com/GuitarPictureGuide <---Click To Get Picture Guide
People throw around the word technique to sound smart, but most don't have a clue what they're talking about.
Technique simply refers to every detail about your posture and guitar position. It helps you stay relaxed by reducing tension in your muscles (as small as your thumb, as large as your back) that enable you to play guitar with the best tone and speed possible. The goal is to stay relaxed. It'll help you play better, and keep you from straining any muscles.
1A) Your left hand (fretting hand, right hand for lefties) - Picture yourself loosely holding a tennis ball. Keep that shape, and put your thumb behind the guitar neck (1B) without resting your palm against the side of the neck. Make sure you're playing everything with the tip of your finger (1C), so that you don't muffle other strings around it.
Where do you put your guitar? Most people put it on their right leg (1D), but notice the feeling in your shoulder and back. Feel any tension? It won't kill you, but you'll probably feel the strain after playing for some time.
It looks a little dorky, but now try resting your guitar on your left leg (1E), with the bottom sitting between your legs. It probably feels a little formal, but do you also feel how relaxed all your muscles are? Take note, and find a comfortable middle ground that doesn't cause too much stress.
Now the right hand! Grab your pick, but wait, there is actually a correct way! It will feel floppy at first, but once you get used to it, it's more relaxed than anything I've seen anyone else teach. Put your thumb across the top of the pick (1F), perpendicular to the tip. Then place the side of your index finger on the other side of the pick (1G). Resist the temptation to squeeze the pick (1H), because the grip I just explained is as natural as your hand in its relaxed position (1I). And when you play, you simply swing your relaxed arm from the elbow (1J).
Always ask these questions: Am I relaxed while I play? Am I comfortable? Is there unnecessary tension?
And if you do that, you'll play great without every straining muscles!
Music is practically a different language. Too many guitar players struggle to know and describe what they're playing. They only know where to put a finger on the neck, and nothing more. Doesn't it seem logical to talk about what you're playing? Makes sense to me to. So let me give you some help:
The music alphabet is literally the first 7 letters of the standard alphabet. A, B, C, D, E, F, G. They do go in order, but only when you play certain frets. The string names in order from lowest pitch (thickest string) to highest pitch (thinnest string) are E, A, D, G, B, E (2A). The first E is the largest (lowest pitched) string, and the last E, after B, is the thinnest E.
I always teach young kids to remember your strings with the story: Eddy Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddy. It's funny, and you'll never forget it.
MUSIC ALPHABET ON YOUR GUITAR
This is where at least half of all self-taught guitar players bow out, except for you. I'm excited for you to go further than all of them!
Let's start with the thickest string, the E-string (2B). Open is E, 1st fret is F, 3rd fret is G
Next thickest string, A-string (2C). Open is A, 2nd fret is B, 3rd fret is C.
Next: D-string (2D). Open is D, 2nd fret is E, 3rd fret is F.
Next: G-string (2E). Open is G, 2nd fret is A.
Next: B-string (2F). Open is B, 1st fret is C, 3rd fret is D.
Next: E-string (2G). Open is E, 1st fret is F, 3rd fret is G.
THE MISSING FRETS
If you played along with the music alphabet on your guitar, you'd notice we skipped a few frets. Once we fill those in, you'll know every note name for every standard chord you'll play. Crazy!
Just so you know, I'm giving you step 1 here. Music geniuses will say that you're missing facts, and you are. But trust me that this is simply a place to start that gives you the full picture still.
The missing frets are called sharps, and it's always named by the lower letter, but not every letter gets a sharp. In between every F and G is F-sharp (F#, 2H). Between C and D is C# (2I). See how there are no frets between E and F? There isn't an E#. Same idea between B and C, no B#. I'm sure you can fill in the rest.
It's a little confusing at first, but CLICK HERE to get a free picture guide with a killer diagram to speed up the learning.
**Now it's time to play some guitar for real**
You don't need to master guitar to sound great. My advice? Pick one key, one set of chords, and learn to rock those first. This is what I would do: the key of G.
Scroll back up to all those notes above, and play these individually: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G (3A). Play them up, down, skip 2, or any other variation you want. The goal is to get incredibly familiar with where those notes sit on the guitar, because all our chords will use those notes. I wrote (and made videos) out a few bonus patterns that I use a lot in the free Picture Guide (3B-3E).
If you'd like it, just -->CLICK HERE<-- and we'll send it to you for no charge.
3 STARTING CHORDS
These chords work perfectly together! They are slightly simplified for starters, but if you're anything like me you'd rather sound great than be textbook-perfect. Here are the diagrams, but one note first:
The numbers are you finger numbers for your fretting hand (3F). Index is 1, middle is 2, ring is 3, and pinky is 4. On the diagram, the thickest string on the left, which is also the closest string to you when you're holding the guitar. Strings with the green dot above should be played open. Here are the 3 chords.
You've got a few chords, exercises, and knowledge under your fingers now. If you're anything like me, you can do them all separately with only a little struggle, but the pure thought of mushing them all together is a little daunting. So you'll just need to trust me on this one...
Take it slow, but still take it!
If you're committed to understanding and loving guitar for the long-haul, it's important to think about everything you do in 2 ways: the shapes and the music.
Place your fingers in the G Major chord shape above. While holding that, refresh your mind with the notes from section 2. Can you figure out the names of each note you're playing in the G Major chord? Download the PICTURE GUIDE to see if you're right, because there's a great diagram of every single note on the neck of the guitar in there (4A).
If you only think about guitar in shapes, you'll sound great without any understanding to keep driving you forward.
If you only think about guitar with music knowledge, notes, and technique, your playing won't have any soul or emotions, and you'll likely overthink everything.
And in the end, just remember the most important thing...
If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong!__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________
You don’t need another study that shows the psychological benefits of music for your kid. It’s time to start investing.
Musical experts aren’t required for these simple activities. Only a willing heart, because that’s truly what inspires your kids. All of these are, “No Skills Required” activities.
Don’t be limited by this list, but use it as a springboard to find specific things that perfectly mold to your youngsters. Share this with a friend, and brainstorm some new and creative ways to cultivate creativity in your home.
Mozart is great, but he’s not perfect. Find some fun tunes that you like as well, and create a soundtrack for your home. If it’s playtime, reading time, cleanup, or snacks, turn on some tunes.
Humans are drawn to what makes them comfortable, and comfort comes from familiarity. All the scientific studies aside, if kids get used to hearing music they will learn to love it, and begin to reap the rest of the benefits as well.
Don’t think you’re a singer? No worries! You can belt out “Let It Go” with your daughter or croon a solo lullabye while they dose off.
Your kids love you. Your kids copy you. They love being like you, which means:
You have fun singing = they have fun singing. You’re not necessarily their music teacher, but 100% guarantee you are their motivaton. And NOBODY can accomplish that as well as you can, regardless how well you sing…so sing!
This sounds harder than it is, but in reality it’s as easy as it comes. You probably even do it without recognizing it (cue Buddy The Elf, “I’m singing!!! I’m in a store and I’m singing!!!”).
It’s as easy as Buddy makes it look. Instead of talking, just sing! If your kid is old enough, they’ll catch on and you’ll have to figure out a way to make them talk normal again. But even if they’re still young, sing away.
You’ve heard of Where’s Waldo? How about I Spy? Imagine those games, but with sounds. This one is easy and super effective...and a side effect is quiet kids, but don’t focus on that too long!
It could be the sound of birds chirping, the squeaky back door, or mommy or daddy walking upstairs. All you need to do is, “SSSHHHHH, can you hear that bird?” It’s helpful to connect a visual at first, but quickly they’ll be stopping you to listen!
You probably already this game’s common counterpart, “what sound does the cow make?” Yup, similar skill, but helps with auditory awareness, which could even make them aware of their surroundings and keep them safe as an adult!
Every kid will learn to walk in a straight line at school. What fun is that?
Whether you’re going to dinner, outside, to the park, or just relaxing in the living room. Every time is a good time to dance. Dance and music are internally connected, they’re inseparable. Again – no skills required.
Have you ever heard a kid say “Can we look at my picture again?” or “Let’s watch my movie again”? Pull out your phone, and use Voice Memo to capture a song-conversation to listen to together. Or write a song about grass and flowers, then record it.
They’ll think they’re famous!!
For ambitious parents, turn that phone into your video camera and let little Suzie perform her “Unicorn Song” in front of the camera, then watch it on the TV.
She’ll love music, love creating, and love being in front of people. All are lifelong skills.
I’m not advocating more time in front of a screen here, but perhaps use some of that time to watch a concert of some form? Kids learn names and sounds of instruments, and are inspired by polished performances that sound bigger than life.
They see someone in the ensemble quickly aspire to be that performer.
It can be last night’s high school band performance, the area symphony, or dance your way to the band in the park. You’ll be amazed how much they start to love and get inspired by these performances.
I only listed 7 here, only because I like the number 7. Experiment with these and find what works best for you and your kid, invent some of your own, or borrow from a friend. These are “No Skills Required” to start encouraging your kids to love music. So why not start now?
One of the most exciting things to see is your child getting excited about one of the few activities that they can love and grow in for life.
We'd love to help you determine if music lessons are a great fit for your family.
Just click "Give Me More Info" below and sign up to get more info about lessons, and we'll send you an email to claim your free first lesson!
The endless tasks and duties that are involved in being a worship leader tend to go unnoticed and under appreciated. We recognize everything that goes into each and every service, and it gets hard because Sunday comes every..single..week, and without your work, people would not be engaged in worship at the level you are blessed to see every week. Thank you for all you do!
My hope is that reading this post will help you understand what's really happening, and maybe help you do it better. If you chuckle from recognizing your insanity, or break a tear from being overwhelmed, please hang on because we'd love to help you succeed in at least a few ways. This definitely isn't an exhaustive list, but just a few to get you recognizing and leading like there's more than just being in front on Sundays.
Aren't music teachers just in schools? Why can't I just lead worship and let other people do the teaching? That would sure be nice, but you can't ignore the truth that because you're a spiritual leader there are people looking to you for guidance in every area of life...including music. It could be bass, vocals, guitar, keys, running sound, or playing drums.
Don't be ashamed, most worship leaders are hired based on their ability to lead a congregation into worship, not teach music. People will still be coming up to saying, "I really want to play drums [insert any instrument] for worship, can you teach me??" Wouldn't it be great if you could send them somewhere that you can trust? Somewhere that will teach with excellence AND encourage a heart of worship? Keep scrolling to the bottom if this is you.
"Hey worship leader, how come we didn't have a bass player this week?"
Ever heard that after a week of dropouts, endless phone calls, and a short lineup of musicians to pull from? Surprise. You probably didn't realize that it's also your job to find new people to serve on your team, and recruiting from other churches only contributes to the endless cycle of worship teams not having enough musicians.
Wouldn't it be great to have a way to take groups of interested individuals from within your congregation, and turn them into active musicians in your rotation? They're probably looking for a way to serve anyways. A way to take people from zero experience to a level where they can confidently start participating, and then grow from there? If you like this idea, keep scrolling..
The pastor's mic screeched during announcements. The slides designed on Thursday look different on Sunday. We can't find a solution within our budget for new mics. The drums need to be mic'd. In-ear monitors would be great, but we've got no clue where to start. It'd be great to train some sound people, or at least get some people who understand a little about that sound board.
Any of these sound familiar? I bet they do, and you had no clue that leading worship meant running the Audio/Visual/Lighting department as well. There are people that make careers from each of those areas, and now you're a musician who needs to magically run an entire Tech Department. Wish there was someone that could help?
We truly value you for everything you do for the Kingdom. And maybe you've chuckled, or maybe you cried while reading this article. This is far from an exhaustive list of everything that goes into being a worship leader, but if there's ever anything we can do to help you, we'd love to help any way we can!