What’s Your Instrument?

Did you know that you’re more likely to enjoy–not to mention practice–an instrument if it is suited to your personality? That’s the message of The Right Instrument for Your Child, which we used when we wrote the “What Instrument Are You?” quiz for UNBORED (see pages 88-89).

It turns out that my son Henrik’s outgoing personality is perfect for the trumpet. (That’s him in the photo.) My older son Peter is more of an introvert and likes instruments that are in the background, including the baritone and the bass trombone.

Check out if any of these instruments suit your style. If not, we include a lot more options in UNBORED :

Double bass: Since this is the biggest instrument in the orchestra, the basic requirement is that you’re tall, have large hands and long fingers, and are strong enough to carry the instrument from place to place. It plays gorgeous, low tones—which can be appealing to kids who hate loud, high-pitched, or squeaky noises. Bass players are often good friends who don’t need to stand out in a crowd. If this sounds good, but you don’t think you can handle the large size of the bass, consider the cello, which is a close cousin.

Electric guitar: You’ve got to really, really enjoy loud noises if you want to commit to the electric guitar (in fact, you should always wear earplugs when you play to protect your hearing). All types of guitar (classical, folk, and electric) require a ton of practice! Still, playing the electric guitar (or the electric bass) is a great way to get together with friends and make your own music. Because you can make chords (a combination of several sounds that are played at once), the guitar is satisfying to play on your own. This matters because as you get more advanced, most instruments need to be played in a group.

Piano: Like the guitar, the piano is a wonderful instrument to play on your own. Like the violin, it requires a lot of practice. If you rock at school (especially calculating math problems in your head), like to work hard and practice something every day, and enjoy being alone, piano may be for you. Kids who hate the piano probably started lessons when they were too young. Plenty of experts believe kids shouldn’t start piano until they are at least seven.

P.S. That guy in the photo is my husband, Walter, playing a cigar box guitar that he made for UNBORED.