If you are like most parents, you want to raise your children well – to develop their mental and physical aspects completely. Most people know that music education helps grow children’s brains.
According to the site Children’s Music Workshop, there are many benefits to music education including the below:
- Early training develops language and reasoning areas of the brain.
- It helps develop the ability to form mental pictures of things.
- Creative thinking and problem solving are also developed.
- Studies show that scores on tests like the SAT are better from students exposed to music lessons.
- Performing helps kids learn to conquer fear.
But musical instruments can be expensive, and many are too delicate for pre-school aged children. How can you expose your pre-school and grade school age children to musical instruments without spending an arm and a leg? Here are a few thoughts on giving your child access to music on a budget.
Make Musical Instruments From Household Items
Spoonful.com can show you how to make all of the below for (or better yet, with) your pre-schooler:
- Drums from large oatmeal cylinders and no-rip mailer envelopes
- Maracas from individual serving sized raisin boxes and dried beans
- Rain sticks from a mailing tube, aluminum foil, rice and popcorn
- Tambourines from Y shaped sticks and flattened bottle caps or
- Clap sticks from decorated paint stirrers.
Ashely’s husband over at Make It – Love It, made really cool looking cardboard guitars for their kids – much better looking than the shoebox guitars you usually see. They are made by tracing a guitar shape onto hefty cardboard, with pencils to hold the rubber band strings up off the board. She gives a step by step on her site.
Alex Duncan shows you how to make a one note balloon bassoon using 40 mm pvc pipe, garden hose, duck tape and a balloon in a You Tube video. It sounds pretty darn good too.
Busy Bee Kids Crafts has a bunch of ideas, one of which is making paper plate tambourines.
For the more sophisticated, try crafting a vegetable instrument or band.
Linsey Pollak is a musician that has figured out how to play a carrot! Watch as he constructs a carrot clarinet and plays it – it sounds like a real one to me!
Or how about an entire band from vegetables? Nan Weiping of the Vegetable Orchestra, according to the Trend Hunter website, has figured out how:
“By hollowing out parts of various large vegetables and experimenting with their dampness, these brothers create musical instruments that can successfully substitute for their conventionally built counterparts. The duo plays a variety of music, from traditional Chinese tunes to folk to even popular pop songs”
Your School’s Music Department May Already Have Instruments
Check out your local school to see if they have a music program for the kids. My grandson gets to play various instruments in his 3rd grade music class, without having to purchase them.
Find A Used Instrument
- Craigslist – a quick search in my area under musical instruments looking for keyboards showed them from $30 and up.
- Garage sales – I found a guitar for $5.00 once at a garage sale and bought it for my grandson.
- Pawn shops – there are even some that specialize in musical instruments.
- Relatives – Great Uncle Joe may still have that trumpet he used to play and might like to donate it to a future generation!
- Musical instrument exchanges – some sites let owners list and buyers browse used instrument sales. Just search on exchange musical instruments.
Go To a Retail Music Shop
We rented our son’s alto saxophone while he took lessons in high school. Later we went ahead and bought it from the shop – but that wasn’t a very inexpensive solution!
Experimenting with musical instruments should be part of every child’s growing up experience, at least in my book. I tried both the piano and the violin in grade school – unfortunately neither stuck. As an adult I tried out an acoustic guitar and managed to get far enough to at least toughen up my finger tips!
What suggestions do you have for parents to give music experiences to their children without breaking the budget?