6 Folk Music Instruments Your Child Will Love

6 Folk Music Instruments Your Child Will Love

Did you know that some of the best beginning instruments are folk music instruments? Not only that, but folk music relies on simple melodies and chords helping new musicians find satisfaction in making music. Introduce your child to one of these popular instruments and watch their love of music grow with each melody they play.

What Is a Folk Music Instrument?

Folk music instruments

Folk instruments are any instrument used to play folk music — this could be the homemade variety such as the jug and spoons, or the beautiful sound of a fiddle or acoustic guitar. Folk instruments are traditional (no electric guitars here) and aren’t usually taught in schools (with the exception of the fiddle family). Often these instruments go so far back into history that there is no known inventor and they’ve stood the test of time to remain popular today.

Why Folk Music Instruments?

While the benefits to learning a musical instrument are clear, there are also several advantages to starting your child with a folk instrument in particular. The majority of folk instruments are easy to tote with you and don’t take up a lot of room in the house. If you like the idea of your child bringing the guitar camping, or even practicing the Ukulele outside in the summer then a folk instrument is the way to go.

These folk music instruments were made for playing music for folk dancing or for joining together in song so they are the perfect instrument for gathering others and enjoying music together which just isn’t as possible with brass instruments and many woodwind instruments.

Benefits of Folk Music

Kids playing folk music instruments: Benefits of Folk Music

Folk music itself is a compelling reason to learn a folk music instrument. Folk music is traditionally music that wasn’t written down or traditionally notated but was passed along by ear or by teaching simple chord progressions that the entire song would be based on. Folk songs are simple and memorable melodies that are easy to remember and can be played with just a few chords on a stringed instrument.

Children have loved the lively rhythms and fun songs of folk songs from the time they are babies and hearing popular folk songs such as the Alphabet Song, Bingo, or Oh! Susanna. The familiar tunes and the ease of getting started making music makes learning a folk instrument a very satisfying way to learn a musical instrument.

1- Harmonica

learning to have fun playing the harmonica - folk music instruments

The harmonica is as lightweight and small as instruments can come. A beginner harmonica that makes beautiful tones can be purchased for less than $50 making it a great instrument to introduce to a child without a lot of investment up front.

There is a wealth of free harmonica music available online and inspiring youtube teachers to get your child started learning how to make music on the harmonica. The folk instrument name for a harmonica is the mouth organ and it produces a rich sound and can be taken anywhere.

2- Ukulele

A kid playing Ukelele

The ukulele has a reputation for being the simplest stringed instrument to learn. The modern ukulele has nylon strings that are easier on the fingers of a beginner. The instrument also boasts only 4 strings, making it easier for small hands to learn to form the chords. Like most folk instruments, the Ukulele is a great social instrument that is both portable and affordable.

3- Acoustic Guitar

learning to play the Acoustic Guitar

If your child enjoys singing then the acoustic guitar could be the perfect instrument for them. Start them on this instrument and they’ll experience the joy of both playing an instrument and singing along. The guitar is a versatile instrument and can easily play folk songs, pop, country and even slow rock music.

4- The Banjo

Banjo with some sheets placed on the ground

A banjo is a beautiful folk instrument but you may want to start with the guitar or ukulele first. The banjo has tighter and sharper strings than a guitars so either start with short practice times in the beginning or work their fingers up to the banjo with a different stringed instrument. Children who are experienced with the guitar will enjoy this bright instrument that makes beautiful music.

5- Mandolin

learning to play the Mandolin - folk music instruments

The mandolin is part of the lute family of instruments. It has less strings than the guitar and violin making reading the tablature easier. In general, any stringed instrument with a fret (such as guitar, banjo and mandolin) is considered easier to learn than those without like fiddles. The mandolin is not as common an instrument as others listed here which could appeal to your child looking for something unique.

6- Fiddles: Violin and Viola

A wooden violin and viola are put on a sofa.

The violin, viola and cello are all called fiddles when playing folk music. Fiddles are versatile instruments that can be taught young with easy-to-learn folk music and then later turn into an opportunity to learn classical music and play with an orchestra as your child gets older.

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