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Keep the Beat with the Latest Music Notes

What are the Best Instruments by Age?

Music lessons for kids - Kingwood Arts Academy of Music

Learning a musical instrument provides incredible benefits for children. Not only does music improve mood, but it also positively impacts language development and IQ. Music lessons integrate aspects of mathematics, reading, and writing. Children must learn notes and process information on sight. Playing an instrument also utilizes fine motor skills and aids hand-eye coordination.

Start a child’s musical education at an early age. Kingwood Arts Academy offers lessons and music education beginning in preschool. However, musical instruments vary in complexity. Learn more about the best instruments by age and begin the journey to foster a child’s love for music. 

Table of Contents:

Benefits of Learning Music

The Connection Between Music and Creativity

The Best Musical Instruments for Preschoolers

  • Musical Instruments for 1-Year-Old

  • Best Instruments for 3-Year-Olds

  • Best Instrument for 4-Year-Old

What is the Easiest Woodwind Instrument for Children?

Fun Instruments to Learn and Play At Home

The Most Played Instruments By Age

Key Takeaways:

The best instruments for children depend on the child’s age. Choose instruments that are age-appropriate and utilize items around the home to encourage young children to make safe music. For older children, encourage musical curiosity and learn what instruments they want to play. 


Can’t Beat It: The Benefits of Learning Music

Music education improves many aspects of childhood development, so schools integrate music into their curriculum. Not only does learning music boost IQ and language development, but it also aids children with dexterity and could provide a social outlet, too.

The Connection Between Music and Creativity

Music is an artform, and learning an instrument, singing a song, or writing music also fosters creativity. Music is a form of self expression; each song tells a story, evokes an emotion, and weaves unique chords and rhythms.

As children gain confidence and experience in playing an instrument, they may develop their own creative touch in how they interpret a song. Like all art forms, expression is unique to every artist. Songs and music develop context, emotion, and inspiration based on their creator. 

Children learn that music is boundless. There are a few rules. Expression and creativity allow for artistic freedom and collaboration. Music teaches children to explore their emotions and create their magic with a song. 

The Best Musical Instruments for Preschoolers

Preschoolers (ages 2 to 5) often love to dance and sing. This is the ideal time to introduce children to musical instruments. Young children can play smaller instruments that are easy for them to handle. While preschool is a bit young to begin piano lessons, other instruments are available to introduce children to learning how to keep the rhythm and make music.

Musical Instruments for 1-Year-Old

Musical instruments for 1-Year-Old

Introduce one year olds to durable instruments that they cannot damage. These instruments also must be safe for toddlers; avoid any instrument with small parts. The best instruments for toddlers are found at home. Let younger children use a wooden spoon to bang on pots. Teach them how to hit blocks together to make sounds. Tambourines also are a good choice for younger toddlers.

Best Instruments for 3-Year-Olds

Older toddlers are ready for more formal instruments. Kid-friendly xylophones help three-year-olds learn how to create songs and enable them to explore music. Bells are also easy for young hands to grasp and play with. Small drums also provide safe musical exploration.


Best Instrument for 4-Year-Old

This is a great age for the ukulele! The small string instrument is perfect for four-year-olds and helps them learn how to play a mini guitar. Drums, xylophones, and bells also are ideal for creating songs. Some four-year-olds also may begin piano lessons, although these lessons may start on a keyboard.

Ukulele for kids

What is the Easiest Woodwind Instrument for Children?

Woodwind instruments are those that use a wooden reed to create music. Saxophones and clarinets are examples of woodwind instruments. Flutes also are part of the woodwind family; while they do not utilize a reed, flutes were originally made from wood. 

When parents consider woodwind instruments for their child, it’s best to begin with the clarinet or the flute. The clarinet is the intro instrument for children who wish to play the saxophone. The clarinet helps children learn key-fingering before they graduate to the more complex saxophone.

Recorders are also considered part of the woodwind family. Parents may consider the recorder as an intro clarinet. Other woodwind instruments include:

Woodwinds instruments for kids
  • Oboe

  • Bassoon

  • Piccolo

  • English horn

  • Bass clarinet

  • Contrabassoon.

Fun Instruments to Learn, Make, and Play At Home

Some instruments are ideal for all ages, and these instruments are not always formal in design. Common items around the home can transform into musical instruments. Music is all around! Use these items to create music and play instruments at home:

  • Egg shakers. Fill plastic easter eggs with rice. Tape the eggs shut and shake! Voila–DIY maracas!

  • Metal drums. Flip pots upside down and use wooden spoons as drumsticks.

  • Glass xylophones. This instrument is for older children. Fill glass jars or cups with varying amounts of water and use a spoon to make music. How does the water level affect the pitch/sound?

  • DIY cymbals. The metal lids of pots or pans transform into an instrument!


The Most Played Instruments 

Newsweek published the results of a Guitar Center survey that highlighted the musical background of 2000 respondents. Individuals were asked about the instruments they played and the instruments they wanted their children to play, and other data were touched upon, too. What are the most popular instruments, and what instruments do parents most desire for their children to learn? Here are the results:

The Most Popular Instruments


Percentage of Americans Who Play

Piano / Keyboard


Acoustic Guitar




Electric Guitar




Vocals / Singing




DJ Equipment






The Musical Instruments Parents Want Children to Learn

The majority of parents noted that they wanted their child to learn the piano (or keyboard)--18 percent. Interestingly, 17 percent of parents expressed a desire for their child to learn the drums and 16 percent preferred violin. Only 13 percent of parents wanted their child to learn the saxophone. 

Piano lesson for kids at Kingwood Arts Academy of Music

While the survey responses indicated parental preferences, children adopt their own ideas about music. Currently, many children wish to learn the electric guitar, and drums remain a popular choice, too.

Whatever instrument interests a child, Kingwood Arts Academy aims to help them develop their love of music and their musical talent. Sign up for instrument lessons today and begin your child’s musical journey.

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