CHOOSING AN INSTRUMENT
(Why piano first?)
Below is provided a brief description of each instrument taught at KMI to help you make an appropriate choice with your child. Almost all parents and children choose to study piano first just to get started before branching out to other instruments. For those wishing to start with an instrument other than piano, important considerations are provided under each instrument. Clicking on the instrument name will take you to the web page for the appropriate KMI department.
NOTE: PIANO IS THE ONLY INSTRUMENT AVAILABLE AS PRIVATE STUDY FOR CHILDREN AGES 4, 5 and 6. Special Music Together Classes are the only option available for students under age 4. (See PRE-SCHOOL and MUSIC TOGETHER).
MAKING THE CHOICE: Most students are encouraged toward one or another instrument by their school music teacher (to ensure all instruments are covered) or by their parents. Some are given a choice (pick one of these). Others have an idea what they want to play from an early point. The best way to choose an instrument is to be presented a selection where the student gets to hear each one played. Attendence of a Pittsburgh Symphony "Fiddlesticks" concert is one of the best ways to expose children to the many opportunities of music instrument study. Concerts include presentations, entertaining "skits" and music that is appropriate for children. The concert setting is much more comfortable for families and children, because the whole audience is composed of families and children. (No old ladies "sh-shing" you sternly!) If first link does not work, click on Pittsburgh Symphony, then locate "Fiddlesticks" under the menu option "Education & Community".
(Note: Voice is an instrument. See the bottom of the page. )
ISSUES REGARDING SIBLINGS: Students who have an older sibling that is already studying a string instrument should be very strongly encouraged to study a different string instrument so that they are not competing on the same instrument. The same is true for students studying wood winds or brass instruments. Siblings playing instruments of the same family (type) will usually participate in the same ensembles (orchestra or band) with the same rehearsal times, same concert dates and same commutes. (See STRING ENSEMBLES, CHORAL ENSEMBLES and WIND ENSEMBLES.) Siblings playing instruments from different families (string, wind and brass) will often be in different ensembles, which complicates the time management factor. Outside of the orchestras and bands, the potential for siblings to play together as duets and trios is much greater on instruments of the same family (that is how music is written), and even if they are competitive - it is not direct competition. All students should study some piano, regardless of siblings or other instruments, because it gives such a good musical foundation. Competition among piano students does exist, but when there is a secondary instrument many siblings put aside the piano competitiveness in favor of the other instrument - which becomes "their" instrument. In any family, usually only one child chooses the piano as his/her primary instrument.
CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING FAMILIES OF INSTRUMENTS:
GUITAR (FRETTED INSTRUMENTS)
STRINGS (VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO, BASS)
WOODWINDS (FLUTE, SAXOPHONE)
BRASS (TRUMPET, FRENCH HORD, EUPHONIUM, TROMBONE)