Helping your child pick a first musical instrument to learn is an exciting step. Here are some things you can do to help them choose an instrument to learn.
When in Doubt, Choose Piano
First of all, it must be said that many musicians started out with piano lessons. There are many reasons for this. One is that the piano is such a versatile instrument that it's featured in a wide variety of musical genres. Another reason is that piano lessons give a young student a really strong background in music theory. They will learn to read music in two different clefs, they will learn the foundations of chords and scales, and they will learn musical dynamics, among many other things.
The other factor is that a piano is accessible to younger musicians. You put your finger down on a key and a sound emerges. Of course, it's more complicated than that, but it's nothing compared to the painstaking process of learning to play in tune on the violin. If you have neighbors, or you want to preserve your own sanity, piano lessons are often a good choice until your child decides they love music and want to be a dedicated learner of another instrument.
Let Them Choose at the Music Store
If you want to choose a different instrument besides piano, a good way to go about it is to let them see demos or even try out different instruments at your local music shop. That way, they can get a feel of what each instrument is like.
Look for Learning Opportunities
Sometimes, the choice of instrument is built into the learning opportunity. You might see that the school has free lessons for string instruments, or that the school band is looking for a new flautist.
Consider the Student
Certain instruments require certain skills more than others. For wind instruments, there can be physical constraints for students with asthma, since blowing into an instrument for an hour or more at a time is physically demanding. Some students might have spinal issues that prevent them from cradling a violin between their neck and shoulder. Things like this should be taken up with a local music store or teacher.
And then, there are the cognitive demands of an instrument. Students who struggle with rhythm or coordinated motor skills would want to steer away from drumming. Students with dyslexia may find it easier to play instruments that only play one note at a time, rather than having to read multiple notes. In short, consult with a music expert to confirm that your instrument choice is a good fit.