View Full Version : Serious Question

03-14-2011, 08:39 AM
Hey Everyone!

My son is going to turn 1 year old this June. I play for him all the time. I have not had any other kids, so I am not "in the know" when it comes to how old he will be when he is ready for certain things. I guess the point is, I would love to get him his own little Makala Dolphin to start out playing and just strumming and stuff. I figure that even if he does not understand it yet, he can get it in hand and grow accustomed to the feel and the sound of the instrument. Then again, I think that he might not be old enough until 18 months or so, maybe even 2!!! I am wondering how old you guys think a kid needs to be before they should be given their own Uke. Sorry if this is a stupid question. Thanks, in advance, for any and all input that you can provide!!

03-14-2011, 08:44 AM
4 or 5 really. There's no harm giving him a dolphin anyway and letting him bash away, but he won't be able for anything partially serious at all really for years yet.

03-14-2011, 08:45 AM
I gave my daughter a Makala dolphin when she was 3. She's now close to 6 but have not shown much interest in the ukulele. I helped a friend buy a Makala dolphin for her son last year, who was maybe 15 months old at the time. I'm sure he probably use it more as a baseball bat than a musical instrument. I guess you can get your son a ukulele at any time as long as he won't hurt himself with it or you won't care if he does damage to it. I personally think 4-5 years old might be the best time to start.

03-14-2011, 08:47 AM
Get him a cheapy to get him used to the idea of having an instrument.
My friend just picked up a uke for his 2 year old nephew, the kid already does a great head banger/rock star imitation and then applauds himself when he is done, pretty cute!

03-14-2011, 08:49 AM
my daughter is 2 and has her own dolphin... just let them treat it as any other toy instrument you have in the house. She says it her ukulele, so she just enjoys plucking around with it. I wouldn't expect her to start taking any real interest in learning to play it as a real instrument for a few years yet. Oh and don't spend much, I just got a cheap dolpin on ebay, it had a few scrapes but it'll get more.

03-14-2011, 09:04 AM
My 2 1/2 year old son stands on his Kala KA-S and jumps off of it. When he's not doing that he likes to drag it around on the concrete pavement out front of the house. The binding is shredded, much like my forearm after I attempt to play it, as a result. It's destroyed. I tried to tell him to take care of it but obviously he's too young to understand. I wasn't expecting too much comprehension, though, really. Every now and then he'll pick it up, when I'm playing one, and strum it, but he's just too young right now. I just wish I spent less than $60 on his "diving board."

03-14-2011, 09:31 AM
My 3-year old has had a Dolphin for a year. He loved it at first, then was indifferent, and just recently brought it into nursery to show his friends and... gave a demonstration! What this involved, I have no idea. He can hold it properly, and strum it, but he almost always damps all the strings when he does so, or frets a few random notes (which sometimes sound great, good ol' re-entrant tuning!). When he's focused, I can get him to play C. But I don't think he has any interest in "music-making". It makes funny noises, like other things make funny noises. He likes my wife's recorder, too. But has no interest in learning where to place his fingers.

I think a lot depends on focus. My son can concentrate for long periods when he wants to. He doesn't get bored the way some kids seem to. So, I'm wondering if he will be happy to learn "properly" in a year or so.

Jake was 4...

My daughter is less than 1, but seems more instinctively musical. My son mostly likes to sing, but my daughter bobs and claps and responds to music really positively. So, I'm curious as to how her relationship with instruments changes over time.

I think as long as there is no pressure, there is no such as too early, as long as you don't mind a bit of destruction.

03-14-2011, 09:54 AM
Darla's six and she got her first Uke for her sixth birthday, she sometimes plays with it but like others have said, doesn't show much interest in it, at time she'll play chords that I've taught her, other times she prefers to just strum like a rock star! I think if you want to give him an Uke, and don't spend too much and therefore don't mind if it gets damaged, then go for it, but don't expect him to show too much interest in a musical instrument sense and don't apply pressure either, that'll turn him off it.

Good Luck and let us know :D

03-14-2011, 10:00 AM
I bought my daughter a dolphin at 12 months!

She is (obviously) not allowed it unsupervised - but we do sit with her, and get it out - she thumps the back, she strums the strings, and she twiddles the tuners.

When Daddy gets his ukulele out - she now (17 months) makes a beeline to where hers is kept, to ask for it. She then sits on the carpet whilst I play and does the same thumping, strumming and twiddling.

I figured that it makes the ukulele part of daily life for her - she knows what it does - of course she cant play, but she has a lifetime for that.

I did have a red Dolphin too, but I gave that away to my 18 mnth old Nephew for the same reason.

(Important - DONT LEAVE A CHILD THAT AGE ALONE WITH ONE - they have sharp edges etc - supervised is fine though)

03-14-2011, 10:56 AM
Thanks to one and all for really good advice! I just want to share my interest with my son. Perhaps it is better to wait a couple of years. This way, he'll be old enough and I will be good enough to teach himand make it part of our daily time together!!

03-14-2011, 11:04 AM
You know what.. I would get him a dolphin when he starts show interest in the eleuke.. cause we know that we don't want him messing up that uke! I think with supervision kids can have instruments pretty young and be taught to treat them properly, maybe you will find one such at the 'toy story' or such other character ones that he can have pretty young... either way keep playing to him, I am sure that that music brings so much joy.

03-14-2011, 11:28 AM
I got my granddaughter her first uke a few months ago because she showed a lot of interest in my instruments when I play. She went for several months without showing a lot of interest or aptitude, then for the past couple of months she wants to play it almost every night (she is seven now). She has a short attention span, still she really enjoys showing off the chords she knows. I'll sit with her and go through simple sequences of 2 finger chords, and a few three finger chords. She can play a C, CMaj7, C7, F, Am F, G7 progression almost "at speed" (until she gets to the G7, she still has problems with that one).

She'll play for ten minutes or so and then put it away, most nights. But, the important thing is that every night she shows some improvement over the night before so if she sticks with it she might be another Taimane! :)

I'm also experimenting with trying to train her ear. In typical little-kid fashion she'd finger some random notes and say, "is this a chord?" Instead of answering her I started asking her, "does it sound good, would you want to hear it in a song?" She usually says no at the right times, so she probably has a better chance of developing a good ear than her po' ole' grampa. :)


mm stan
03-14-2011, 02:23 PM
Aloha Mendel,
My friend had his son strumming a ukulele at 2 years old and when he went to Ko Aloha factory..he told me that Papa Ko Aloha was so impressed that he gave his son a ukulele...

03-14-2011, 02:30 PM
I gave my three year old nephew a cheapie uke for Christmas because he fell in love with mine. He loves it.

03-14-2011, 02:59 PM
Yes, it's wonderful for infants to have instruments, but I agree with the earlier comment, please supervise them...and don't let them taste. There are too many reports of nasty chemicals in paints and plastics, even in products designed for children. Children under three are especially vulnerable to toxins. Sorry to be a worrier, but my daughter had elevated lead levels in her blood from something when she was three.

03-14-2011, 03:42 PM
Any age can be good for for some percussion instruments...tambourine, shakers, etc. Then you could play your uke and have some fun little jam sessions. Good times!

03-14-2011, 04:32 PM
Jake was four.