Music, songs, tunes and beats are a part of every child’s life ever since birth. Many parents even sing songs to their babies to calm them or engage with them in their sweetest and most melodious voice. Musical instruments too are a favourite among kids, right from rattles to drums, pianos, and xylophones. But the world of musical instruments is way vast than what they have known so far. So if you feel your child is musically inclined, you must introduce them to some names of musical instruments in English as well as their folk names.
In India, our rich culture and heritage exposes kids to numerous musical instruments even in their daily lives. Be it instruments like bells, drums, conchs and finger cymbals used during daily prayers, or idols of Gods and goddesses depicted playing the flute or veena, as well as folk artists like snake charmers and street performers with their been and damroo, all can be observed around us abundantly.
What Are Musical Instruments?
A musical instrument is a device that can be used to make musical sounds. Objects all around us can make unique sounds. Some devices are specially put together using various principles of sound creation, to enable us to create tunes and musical sounds. Musical instruments date back to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for rituals, such as a horn to signal success on the hunt, a loud gong to draw attention of the entire village, a conch for a major announcement, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications and technologies.
Benefits of Learning Musical Instruments For Kids
Children are encouraged to learn how to play musical instruments to express their creativity and enjoy various sounds. Apart from playing with musical toys, children are introduced to musical instruments in school right from kindergarten.
- Music Improves Brain Development in Children
- Music Enhances the Social Skills of Children
- Music Improves the Creativity of Children
- Music Improves Discipline in Children
- It Helps them Build Confidence
- It Improves Their Memory
- Music Helps with Language Development
List Of Musical Instruments For Kids
There are many different types of musical instruments. They can be categorised based on the
The following are names of string instruments that children will enjoy learning. Here is a list of a few of them that are most common:
A stringed instrument with a long neck and a flat, hollow body. Its strings are plucked or strummed with the fingers.
A plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent.
The highest pitched member of the string instrument family. It has a shallow wooden body, four strings that are tuned with pegs, and it is played with a bow.
This string instrument dates back to pre-historic times. The modern harp has a large triangular frame with strings stretched vertically across the triangle. The strings are graduated in length from longest/lowest pitches to shortest/highest and there are pedals that can be used to raise the pitch of each string by half steps. The sound is created by plucking the strings with fingers.
A small, stringed instrument of the lute family. It has a pear shaped body, strings in four pairs and a neck similar to a guitar.
The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin.
The cello or violoncello is a bowed string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually tuned in perfect fifths: from low to high, C₂, G₂, D₃ and A₃. The viola’s four strings are each an octave higher.
A stringed drone instrument played in India
A small wooden instrument with four strings, similar to a guitar. The ukulele was brought to Hawaii by Portuguese settlers in the 1870’s, and quickly became popular with native Hawaiians.
An Indian stringed musical instrument, usually considered a traditional instrument of India.
As the name suggests, percussion instruments are any instruments that makes a sound by hitting, shaking, or scraping them in a certain way. Here are a few examples of interesting percussion instruments for kids:
A percussion instrument consisting of a hollow cylinder with a skin stretched tightly over one or both ends. The skin is hit with the hands or drumsticks.
A percussion instrument consisting of two round metal plates that create classing sounds when struck together. A single cymbal can also be struck with a stick.
Bongos (Spanish: bongó) are an Afro-Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of small open bottomed hand drums of different sizes.
A tall Afro-Cuban drum with a tapered or barrel-shape, played with the fingers and the hollow palm of the hand.
A flat, circular metal disc which is hit with a mallet.
A wooden double-headed drum, originally from southern India, usually considered a traditional instrument of Indonesia.
A pair of twin hand drums from the Indian subcontinent.
The only drum that can be tuned to produce definite pitches. Timpani is Italian for kettle drum, another name for the instrument because of its large kettle-shaped bottom, over which the skin of the drumhead is stretched. The player uses a pedal to tighten and loosen the drumhead to change the pitch.
A percussion instrument consisting of a small wooden hoop with metal disc inserts called jingles. The hoop is covered on one side with a drumhead. It is played by shaking or striking the drumhead with the hand.
A percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard, with a hollow tube under each bar. Each bar gives off a different pitch when struck with a mallet.
Wind instruments are instruments that can make sound by blowing wind into it, either by a mechanism or by blowing into it. They produce unique sounds, so many children usually enjoy wind instruments. Names of some wind instruments are as follows:
A harmonium, also called a “melodeon”, “reed organ” or “pump organ”, is a keyboard instrument that is a lot like an organ. It makes sound by blowing air through reeds, which are tuned to different pitches to make musical notes.
One of the ancient transverse flutes of Indian classical music, typically made from bamboo
A wind instrument that is played by blowing air into a pipe leading to the windbag. Air squeezed from the bag into reed pipes. One pipe has finger holes that used to play the melody. The other pipes, called drones, are used to continuously sound one tome each.
A wind instrument consisting of a set of metal reeds inside a wooden or plastic case, with a metal cover plate. The reeds vibrate to produce pitches when air is blown or drawn through the instrument. Forcing air into a hole by blowing creates one pitch, and drawing air through the same hole by sucking creates a different pitch.
The trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. The trumpet group ranges from the piccolo trumpet—with the highest register in the brass family—to the bass trumpet, pitched one octave below the standard B♭ or C trumpet.
The clarinet is a musical instrument in the woodwind family. The instrument has a nearly cylindrical bore and a flared bell, and uses a single reed to produce sound.
A wind instrument made of brass with a single reed and a curved conical tube. The pitches are controlled by keys on its body. It is named for its inventor, Adolphe Sax.
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. As with all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate.
A small, cylindrical instrument, usually made of silver, that is held sideways to the mouth. It is a tube with one open end and one capped end. Sound is created by blowing across a mouthpiece at the capped end of the instrument. Its pitch is changed by pressing the metal keys that cover holes along the tube.
The pungi originates from the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a reservoir into which air is blown and then channelled into two reed pipes. It is played with no pauses, as the player employs circular breathing. In street performances, the pungi is used for snake charming. It is also known as a been.
Electronic instruments are those that use electric circuitry to produce sound. These instruments can most usually be connected even to loudspeakers to amplify the sounds. Along with a knowledge of music, one also needs to have some technical knowledge to operate these instruments. The following are names of electric instruments commonly known:
An electronic instrument, usually with a keyboard, used for the generation and modification of sound. First developed for electronic music studios, the technology evolved to enable concert performance, and eventually digital sound and recording capabilities.
An electronic keyboard, portable keyboard, or digital keyboard is an electronic musical instrument, an electronic derivative of keyboard instruments.
A sampler is an electronic or digital musical instrument which uses sound recordings of real instrument sounds, excerpts from recorded songs or found sounds. The samples are loaded or recorded by the user or by a manufacturer.
The theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer. It is named after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.
The turntable has been used as a musical instrument since the 1940s and 1950s when experimental composers began sampling and creating music entirely produced by the turntable. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the term ‘turntablism’ was coined.
6. Electric Guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that requires external amplification in order to be heard at typical performance volumes, unlike a standard acoustic guitar. It uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals, which ultimately are reproduced as sound by loudspeakers.
Now that your child has learnt all instruments names, let them take their favourite pick and try their skills at it! Introducing music at an early age will encourage your child’s talents and help them in various ways throughout their life. It is a fun as well as meditative hobby that children can pursue in between their studies.
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