By Jill “MamaBug” Frier

Music is an important part of our lives. It enriches us emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. Studies have shown that music improves cognitive development in children, as well as brain efficiency, learning speed, and overall brain health. Learning to play a musical instrument helps individuals understand mathematical concepts, develop better motor skills, teaches discipline, inspires creativity, and can help build confidence, self-esteem and social skills.

There are so many different instruments and types of music that it’s difficult to know where to begin, so here are some suggestions for beginning your child’s musical journey.

Find the Right musical Instrument and Lessons for Your Child
It’s important to find a music program and musical instrument that suits your child’s age and interests. Most public schools have music programs that begin teaching instruments around the fourth and fifth grade, but you can begin private lessons as young as five or six years old. Work with your kid to see what they are interested in before you get started with the time and expense of formal lessons. Here are a few important factors to keep in mind:
• Age, Size, and Physical Limitations: Consider the age, size, and physical limitations of your child when you choose an instrument.
• Noise Level: Think about how your neighbors and family will feel about a drum set, guitar, or loud instrument, and whether you can reduce noise and set practice times to keep the peace.
• Space: Make sure you have room in your home for a piano, harp, or drum set, if that is the direction you want to go – otherwise, think about smaller, more portable instruments.
• Cost: Instruments can be very expensive, so consider buying used until your child’s interest increases and skill level improves.
• Time: Make sure that music lessons can fit in your schedule. Don’t let lessons cause your kid’s schoolwork or other activities to suffer or add undue stress for you or your family.

Resources Available in Phoenix
There are some great resources in the Valley to help you learn more about getting your child involved in music, many of which are non-profit organizations. Here are a few of the many options to consider when you need help getting started.

Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM, is a state-of-the-art facility that showcases instruments and music from every genre and almost every country in the world. The MIM displays more than 6,500 instruments, allowing visitors to see and hear music and instruments from around the globe. The museum also provides visitors a hands-on experience of playing different instruments, and offer many camps and educational programs for kids and adults alike.

Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock
Solid Rock is a non-profit organization started by local celebrity Alice Cooper. Their mission is to make a difference in the lives of teens by providing music, arts, and vocational programs in the field of entertainment. They challenge teens to discover their passion through music, dance, video and sound production, self-expression, and creativity.

Sounds Academy
Sounds Academy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to teach, mentor, and provide musical experiences and opportunities to underserved youth in the Phoenix area. This organization provides music education opportunities to a wide variety of children, while removing any barriers that children may have in receiving quality music education.

Music Together
Music Together offers early childhood music programs in the greater Phoenix area. This great organization helps families embrace the joys of family music-making and the powerful benefits of having music in their lives, by nurturing kids’ natural musicality in a playful, musically-rich learning environment.

Be sure to check out for more articles and recommendations for fun, educational and interesting things to do with kids everywhere in Arizona!