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Example image of an 8 key battery operated music toy

I gifted an 8 key toy piano to my son (Image above) more than a year ago. He played with the toy on and off. Recently he started playing rhymes on the piano after listening to pre-recorded rhymes from the toy and a few (monotone) tunes that I played back from my phone. He listens to those pre-fed rhymes many many times and then figures out how to play those. I don't have an ear to music and I am really impressed and want him to foster this capability.

  • Considering he is 4+ year old (Oct 2018 born), what free/paid resources may I use to help him.
  • What instrument should I give him next. He is asking for a big keyboard. But I don't have the right knowledge about what should I look in that instrument.
  • I am currently based in California, USA and will move within California next month. Should I consider enrolling him to some music class now or later once I move or may be let him enjoy and explore by himself for sometime before connecting with a music teacher?
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    I'd encourage you to look into Kindermusik. It's a standardized curriculum and pretty widespread, all about having interactive experiences with music from a very early age (e.g. from infancy). At 4, he's right on a cusp of where such a "structured play class" might still be more beneficial than traditional private lessons. Mar 8, 2023 at 15:36
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    Re what instrument to provide, at this age it's not a bad idea to put several kinds at his disposal. Try to keep a good balance between not being too expensive, but being of good musical quality. You can get good ukuleles and recorders for very little, and a simple small electronic keyboard could be a fine step up from an 8-key toy. Mar 8, 2023 at 15:37
  • Thanks Andy, I will search for a small electronic keyboard and get one. Kindermusik looks promising.
    – Mohit Jain
    Mar 8, 2023 at 17:22
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    I started playing piano at the age of 3 and 9 months. I didn't turn into a concert pianist, but I turned into someone who enjoys sitting down at the piano every now and then and having some fun. Your son can definitely start learning the basics! Get him lessons from a teacher who works well with young kids.
    – AAM111
    Mar 8, 2023 at 20:34
  • I second Kindermusik at this age. Mar 8, 2023 at 22:09

2 Answers 2

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A very wide reaching question!

First let me say get involved yourself. You would probably learn faster than him, and if he looks up at you as a mentor, you could pass any knowledge gleaned from some of your own lessons, or from the 'net (dare I say!), watered down to a level palatable for him.

His hands may be too small for a proper keyboard yet, but there are 'grown-up' keyboards available with smaller keys, that he would really enjoy making music on.

There's also percussion that would work well - xylophones, chime bars and metallophones spring to mind. Small guitars are available at low cost, as are ukes.

A teacher would be a good idea, if he would concentrate for long enough in lessons - attention span isn't always that long at that age! And that may also provide the opportunity to meet other like-minded children. Be a good audience if nothing else. Encouragement goes such a long way - for all of us!

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    "You would probably learn faster than him": for a couple of weeks, at least :-)
    – phoog
    Mar 8, 2023 at 10:59
  • I second the pitched percussion instruments. Kids love banging on things. I don't know if a 4-year-old would have the ability to work both hands independently that you need for guitar/ukulele. Mar 8, 2023 at 22:13
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Music should be learned the same way as any other interaction and language: by interacting together with other people.

  • Let's play together with TOYS
  • Let's play together with INSTRUMENTS

And:

  • Come, let's talk with our MOUTHS
  • Come, let's talk with our INSTRUMENTS

When growing up, if the people around you do not talk with their mouths, if they do not play, if you never talk or play with other people, it will be a very sad and difficult life. And then you will really need professional help to learn how to talk and have a good time later in your life.

When you start learning how to do things, you learn from everybody around you. The culture you live in.

The fact that grown-up, intelligent (in their own minds) people so often think about guided courses and teachers, when it comes to a child learning music, is a telltale sign of how bizarre and unnatural the attitude towards music is in the culture.

If you don't play musical instruments as part of your everyday life, you should start immediately!

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