Strike a chord

Most adults would like to play an instrument, so it makes sense to encourage your budding rock superstar or classical soloist with musical toys and, as they get a little older, with tuition in the instrument of their choice.

That said, you might want to consider which instruments are least likely to create tension with the neighbours. The early stages of learning the violin or bagpipes can try the patience of even the most indulgent parent. 

Start them off with toys like this Rainbow Colours play mat which was designed by music teachers to present the easiest possible approach to playing an instrument. Kids just match the colours in the booklet or song cards, to the coloured strings/stickers on the instruments. It’s great for ages 3 – 12 years, as well as kids with learning difficulties or dyslexia. The system is a wonderful opportunity for parents and teachers to interact with their children while teaching them to play a new instrument.

Rainbow Colours is an educational music tool for learning to read and play music, designed by professional music teachers, and makes it fun and easy approach to learning a musical instrument. The Slim 6ft Giant Piano Mat costs £34.99 from RainbowColours.com

You can find decent starter instruments for mini-rock stars at Kenny’s Music on the Green, Ram Jam Music or Top Note, both of which are on Crown Street. Gordon Bell on Rosemount Viaduct offers both traditional pianos and electronic versions for sale or rental, while Thistle Street’s String Studio offers great violins and violas in a multitude of sizes. Stonehaven’s Ma Simpson’s and Celtic Chords are also great places to find mini-guitars and every sort of traditional instruments from cello and harp to accordions and bouzoukis. They also have a list of recommended local music tutors. 

You can also encourage your child to build their own instruments. Kikkerland offer inexpensive kits to build ukuleles and harmonicas and there are lots of craft sites which offer ideas for making percussion instruments from household objects. If you want something more professional, earlymusicshop.com offers kits for building everything from a six string harp to medieval bass viols. 

Aberdeen Music Studio on Union Street offer tuition in electric and acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano, saxophone, clarinet, oboe, flute, violin, voice, and piping. A quick online search will turn up a variety of local music tutors, but it’s probably best to ask friends for recommendations. Many have shifted to online tuition over the past year.

The majority of the city’s schools also offer music tuition, but places are limited. This is free for those receiving free school meals, otherwise group tuition is £60.50 a term, £70 for pairs and £100 for individual tuition, which is normally limited to more advanced or older children. It’s also possible to hire an instrument for £85 per year, but drums, pianos and keyboards are not included in the scheme. It’s generally possible to find pre-owned instruments in local Facebook selling groups, Gumtree or auction sites, or just ask around – many kids abandon their lessons or move on to more expensive models and friends may have instruments just gathering dust.  

Lessons start in primary school, with the same instructor continuing as the child progresses into secondary school. Once a certain level of proficiency is
reached, the child is invited to the Music Centre at Northfield Academy to play in ensembles, bands or orchestras and to take part in concerts. 

You can request music tuition for your child, or be put on the waiting list by contacting MusicService@aberdeencity.gov.uk

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