Our Recommended Instruments
7th December 2020 by Jamie
In an ideal world, we’d all have space for a beautiful acoustic upright piano at home. The Dogs & Birds course is ideal so that children from the age of 4 can successfully play hammer weighted keys, using the ‘Owl Eyes’ technique – where children use their first finger and thumb together to create enough strength to deliver a wide range of dynamics on a real instrument.
If you’re lucky enough to have the space at home for an acoustic piano, the good news is that upright pianos are readily available second hand on eBay, Gumtree, Reverb and even Freecycle – often for a fraction of the price of a new piano (and sometimes even for free).
Acoustic pianos have to be maintained with yearly tuning & servicing but a good instrument lasts a lifetime – we always recommend investing in a quality acoustic instrument where possible.
If space is an issue we recommend a stage piano with speakers like the SDP-3. These instruments are incredible value – giving you full 88 hammer weighted keys. The packages come with everything you need including stand, headphones & accessories.
The SDP-3 represents the best value on the market, but for something more premium, we recommend the Roland FP30 (a little secret – that’s what I have at my house).
We tend to avoid recommending smaller keyboards with spring keys – the keys tend not to be touch sensitive, meaning it isn’t possible to replicate the dynamics from pressing keys harder & softer on a real piano or stage piano. Playing with the sounds can be a lot of fun but can be distracting when home practice is the objective!
However, smaller keyboards can be a super accessible way to get started with a keyboard instrument with 2nd hand keyboards on eBay can be as low as £10. If you want to buy a new instrument, the best value option is the MK-1000.
The ukulele is a fantastic first string instrument to play – it’s small, has only four strings (a guitar has six), and they’re an affordable instrument to buy.
We start teaching guitar in Year 5, which we think is the very youngest a child should be for a full size guitar. We recommend starting with an electric guitar – just because the shape of the neck and body make the instrument easier to play (not to mention looking cooler too!).
You can opt for a ¾ size guitar but because the children grow out of them so quickly, it’s often just as well to go for the full size product. If your child is naturally left handed, we recommend going for a left-handed guitar.
Gear4Music do some great deals on their own branded electric guitars, and even do full kits with amp, leads & accessories included.
We put bass guitar slightly earlier in the progression journey compared to guitar guitar for a few reasons – firstly, there are four strings instead of six, the space between the strings is bigger, and you tend to start playing bass by playing one string at a time.
For younger children, we recommend a 3/4 size bass as they are bigger than normal electric guitars. You can go to your local music shop to try different sizes to see which feels right. We recommend the following basses & packages:
Drum kits are a fantastic way to learn complex rhythms and co-ordinate hands & feet together, but they’re not always an easy companion to quiet reading time or a nice peaceful nap.
For an ideal stress reliever in the garage, we recommend the BDK-1plus drum kit.
Electric drum kits can be a neighbour-friendly solution and means sounds can be changed in the headphones. We recommend Digital Drums 420X.
Remember drums are just tubs that you hit with sticks – you can always improve your rhythm exercises by using everyday household items like pots and pans, or even pencils on a desk.
Head over to our shop for all your sundry items like guitar strings, cables, plectrums & drum sticks. We also stock course books. Order online and we’ll send the items home with your child or you can pick up at the front desk at LIPA Primary.