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Thread: To those who have or had young children around their instruments...

  1. #1

    Default To those who have or had young children around their instruments...

    Hello all. I have a five month old baby girl that is very interested in my guitars and ukulele. She loves hearing me play them and very much wants to grab them and interact with them. I'm not worried about immediate damage, as she is so small and I can easily control her interactions, but I was wondering when would be the right time to get a cheap, durable uke for her to interact with more independently (EDIT: meaning more 'hands on', not left alone)?

    I understand kids can't truly start learning to play until 3-6 years old but I think there could be some value in occasionally letting her grab, pluck, spit up on, etc. a 'knock around' uke, like a Makala Dolphin or Flight TUS35.

    What do you think? Should instruments be only for 'looking' and not 'touching' for some time, or is there value in allowing her to get her hands on an instrument?
    Last edited by longtortoise; 07-01-2020 at 01:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    214

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    I'd say get it right away!

    My son is almost two years old. I bought him a ukulele before he was born. He's been trying to play it for about six months now. By now he is more or less capable of holding the ukulele and strumming the strings (but obviously hasn't figured the left hand yet). He's quite proud of it!
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Ohana BK-70R

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    898

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    My grandson Mickey likes to play at a uke when he comes to visit. He has a couple of instruments at home that he is allowed to play and he knows enough not to touch his dad's valuable instruments.

    Mickey with uke.jpg

    When they were three, I gave my two sons a tenor guitar and a mandolin banjo that I got at yard sales. I tuned them to open chords and let them wail away. They both make their livings with music today, 40 years later.

    Clay & Darc in Baltimore.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    202

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    Do not buy an ukulele for her. You are just going to end up with an extra ukulele that will not get used. When she's old enough and interested, you can let her pick out her own. At this age, I'd be supervising all her interactions with the ukulele, so I don't see the need for an inexpensive instrument. Just let her play with your regular ones. Definitely, let her touch, if she shows interest. You'll get some baby drools on the ukuleles but that just makes them better (note: to you only... so when you sell, you probably don't want to mention it).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    127

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    I got my daughter a purple Makala dolphin for her second birthday. It was THE present at the time (because of the color, mostly). I think 5 months is a little young because things tend to get chewed when the teeth come in, but if you want to make it a present now - go for it. Worst case is that it sits on a shelf until later.
    My Ukuleles
    KoAloha Naupaka soprano
    KoAloha Noah sopranino
    DJ Morgan Mini Pineapple
    Luna Pearl concert
    Cocobolo concert #384 (Teak!)

  6. #6

    Default

    Great input, everyone. Thanks for sharing.

    To be clear, this would not be meant as a gift for her, and I don't retain delusions that she'll learn an instrument any time soon. That will come in a few years :-) I suppose it would be more for me, as something to have laying around that I'm ok with her getting messy, dinged, etc. since she is interested in grabbing my instruments. I'll definitely pick it up and strum while we're playing together, too. I only have one uke currently, so adding another uke of different scale and construction is a bonus.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kekaha, Kauai
    Posts
    255

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    My father let me handle his Martin tenor when I was quite young. It still has the teeth marks in the upper bout from me, and is now one of my prized possessions.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    744

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    I traded my kid for a Kamaka. I wanted a Kinnard but only got a Kamaka. Better than nothing.

  9. #9

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    I think the most important thing to promote music appreciation is to expose children to music. My granddaughters love Elizabeth Mitchell songs. Check her out on YouTube.
    Here is one:



    I have three granddaughters and of course I have given them a very colorful inexpensive ukulele. It is basswood but actually plays easily and has decent sound. It is there if they want to pick it up and strum. Below is the six year old with the "Honsing" ukulele.
    When I last visited (they live in New Zealand) I learned some of their favorite songs and I played the ukulele and we sang and had a good time. I recorded some videos of us on my Iphone and they loved watching themselves over and over and over....
    download.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    5,090

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    I bought my grand niece and nephew each a ukulele for their 2nd birthday. Scarlet is 5 now and asked me just before the virus hit to show her how to play. She came over once and listened for about 2 minutes, then got distracted by my purple and hot pink and bright yellow mini bass guitars. Oh well. Her brother is 3 now and doesn't show any interest... yet. My nephew, their father, is a very accomplished guitar player, from some influence by me early on, so maybe between the two of us, one of them will get the bug.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

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