When Pots and Pans Won't Do: Real Musical Instruments
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August 2003 | Vol. II - No. 8

August 2003 | Vol. II - No. 8 TDmonthly SEARCH



 
When Pots and Pans Won't Do: Real Musical Instruments

Making the transition from pretending to be a musician to learning a real instrument is an important one in a child's life. Providing good quality instruments, usually scaled-down versions of those professionals use, is the key to making the musical experience a fun and rewarding one.


Hohner Marine Band harmonica

Bluesband

Harmonicas

Already kid-sized, harmonicas are a great first instrument. The classic Hohner Marine Band harmonica (ToyDirectory) ($24.95) has been around for over a hundred years. Rich-toned and durable, it is available in 41 different keys (major and minor), making it a very versatile instrument. The Hohner Old Standby ($9.50), a modest version of the Marine Band, comes in seven major-scale keys. Bluesband, also by Horner, comes in "C" and "A" keys only, but runs only $4.95. For a bit more, the Hohner Blues Harp ($26.95) offers twelve different blues keys.


HAG250

Guitars

Child-sized versions of guitars should be scaled down enough so the child can reach around the soundbox and pick the strings. The guitar neck should also be slimmer than grown-up versions so that small fingers can make chords easily.

Hohner's 1/2-size HAG250 ($50) is a nylon string folk guitar, and the student-size HW03 ($109) is a steel string acoustic guitar with a spruce body and a mahogany neck. Hohner also has an electric guitar package, HEG 250P ($239), which includes the guitar, battery-powered amp, carrying case and accessories.


Backpacker

Other guitar makers also produce student-sized guitars. The Yamaha JR1 Package ($199) has a 3/4-size steel string acoustic guitar and padded carrying bag. Johnsonís JG-610 Series offers two sizes: the JG-610-3/4 ($89), a 3/4-size acoustic guitar and the JG-610-1/2 ($89), a 1/2-size model. The Lucinda Student Model ($69) is a nylon string classical guitar which comes in 3/4 and 1/2 sizes. Martin also makes a small travel guitar, the Backpacker ($274), that comes in either a steel-string or a nylon-string version to fit smaller hands.


Heartbreaker

Girls now have their own heart-shaped electric or acoustic guitar. Daisy Rock guitars are 1/2-size with a very slim neck and run about $200. They come in powder blue, yellow and pink. The Heartbreaker electric guitar comes in red, purple and black.

Drums


Remo Kids Djembe

Remo Kids Konga


Remo Kids Bongo

World instruments produce a variety of tones across a drumhead, making them more interesting than many percussion instruments. Remo Kids Djembe ($81) is a small version of this standard African drum. It stands only 14 inches tall with an 8-inch diameter drumhead. The Remo Kids Konga ($59) is 15 inches high with a 6.5-inch head. Both drums come with adjustable shoulder straps. And, of course, Remo Kids Bongos ($50) are just the right size for small hands (6.5 inches high, with 5-inch and 6-inch heads).

For the child who dreams of being the next John Bonham, several small, inexpensive drum sets are available. The Sunlight 3-piece Junior Drum Set ($224) comes with a 10-inch cymbal. CODA Drums offers the Generation Alpha 5-piece Drumkit ($399) for the student drummer.


RT Series Rhythm Traveler

To save Mom and Dad's ears during practice sessions, Pearl has introduced the new RT Series Rhythm Traveler ($659). This 5-piece drumkit comes with two complete sets of drumheads: one for performance and one for silent practice. Pearl's new Muffle Heads respond like a regular drumhead but produce hardly any sound. Pearl's Silent Cymbal Pads complete the kit, making it the perfect drumset for home practice, even in an apartment.

Writer's Bio: The mother of two grown children (an artist and a musician), writer Janie Franz once was a radio announcer and did booking for a rock band.


 
 





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