Considering the age of the children, a melodic instrument is inappropriate for the children’s development. Every week, I offer all children the opportunity to play on percussion instruments such as shakers, bells, claves, hand drums, egg shakers, and maracas. This helps hand eye co-ordination and musically it prepares actions for the beat which is the starting basis for all instrument playing. As the children get older, I extend their experiences, to xylophones and tuned percussion instruments which keep within the children’s capabilities and extends them to melodic activities which again will prepare them for orchestral instruments when they are old enough. Do Re Mi classes prepare the children both rhythmically and melodically so that when they move to an instrument, these attributes are already instilled automatically and they can concentrate their efforts in the techniques required for specific instruments.
I believe the choice of instrument, should come from the child. If they are exposed to the names and sounds of instruments, they may give some indications for them wanting to learn a particular instrument. The main choices are piano and violin and traditional teachers will accept students on these instrument when a child is around 7 or 8. Children can be accepted earlier in a Suzuki setting especially if they have already done some early childhood music lessons such as Do Re Mi.
Queensland schools conduct instrumental lesson as part of a child’s formal education and generally the age entry is around 8-9 years of age.