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Old 10.04.2012, 22:48
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swisschard swisschard is offline
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Re: clarinet, saxophone, or piano lessons – FREE TRIAL LESSON!!!

Thanks for the interest, I think it's great that you want to expose your son to music!

Depending on the maturity level, one could definitely start music lessons at age 3, but it would be best to wait at least until age 5 to consider playing the clarinet (or oboe). Clarinets come in different sizes and keys, the smallest one being the E-flat clarinet. Even the smallest clarinet is usually too big for children before the age of 5 or 6, and it's important for them to be able to reach all of the keys/toneholes and hold the instrument without discomfort. I don't play the oboe so I can't comment on it much, but I think it would be confusing to study both the clarinet and the oboe at the same time since they have many differences.

The best thing to do now is to expose your son to as many different types of music through listening and encouraging him to move/dance/sing to it, if he feels like it. Perhaps listen to an orchestra piece like Benjamin Britain's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra or Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, so he can learn to understand the differences in sound between a violin and a clarinet and a French horn. You can also take him to a children's concert at the Zürich Tonhalle, or a jazz concert, or whatever, where he can actually see people making music in person! Of course, there are many great things to watch on YouTube as well, but seeing a concert in person is much more special and makes him part of it, by being part of the audience. Without an audience there would be no concerts!

Often young children will feel especially drawn to the sound of a particular instrument, and if he has a favorite, that's what he should study when he's big enough to handle it. Like the clarinet, many other instruments have smaller versions which are more appropriate for young children.

3 years old is not too young to begin studying the piano, violin, or other wind instruments like the recorder or penny whistle (which I also play). However, especially at a young age it is imperative that playing music be something he wants to do and has fun with. Music should always be something that's fun for anyone but especially a young child! You should also consider a program that combines music and a playgroup like the Gymboree in Zumikon:

Sally Bantock who runs this Gymboree is terrific and they have a lot of great programs there.

Please send me a PM when you're ready to start lessons or if you have any more specific questions!