While there is certainly value in teaching your children to play the piano or guitar, it can also be fun to try something just a little out of the ordinary. Not only can this help increase their curiosity around music, it can also serve as an introduction to a wide variety of music and the cultures that are associated with them. So, go ahead and pass on the recorder for now and introduce your children to these instruments instead.
One of the key musical concepts is rhythm, so it makes sense to start here. Instead of trying to introduce a child to a drum kit, consider leading with a bongo drum or doumbek. Not only are these a great way to teach rhythm, it also gives children a great way to burn off physical energy while they learn.
If you are looking for something simpler to acquire, consider getting different bells or triangles. Maracas can also be fun, as well as castanets.
Some instruments can even be created as craft projects. For example, some beans in an empty can (with a safe edge) can produce sounds similar to maracas. Even a set of spoons can produce a lovely rhythm with a bit of practice.
Many children like the idea of learning the guitar, but the size can be challenging for small hands. Instead of a traditional guitar, consider helping your children learn the ukulele. Not only is it smaller in size, it also has only four strings instead of six, making it easier to understand the hand placement for the more common ukulele chords. Not only that, but there are a variety of easy ukulele songs that can help you kids feel like they are really playing music more quickly.
If your child is curious about a standup bass, you may want to start with something smaller, like the cello. The concept of how the instrument is played is similar, but the size may be more manageable for smaller children. A viola also produces a lovely sound, and is often not as chosen as its smaller brethren, the violin.
Most children receive their introduction to the woodwinds through the use of a recorder in elementary school. This can serve as a great starting point to expand on later, or you can add some additional exploration on your own. For example, the ocarina rose to fame in a particular video game franchise, and can provide a fun connection for children to appreciate.
Another options for smaller hands to start with is actually the best-selling instrument in the world; the harmonica. Not only can it be fun to explore the various sounds, it is also an instrument that is easy to carry around for impromptu music lessons in the part.
Brass instruments also come in a number of variations. While the bugle may look simple by design, that does not mean everyone who picks one up can play a tune with it. If you are looking to introduce your child to a brass instrument, consider the weight and size of the one you are considering. While your child may be interested in something like a tuba, it may prove too difficult for them to use if they are below a certain size.