Reply To: playing trombone at age 6

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I’m 42 and I can JUST barely reach 7th position 🙂 Holding the brace for the trombone with the left hand might be uncomfortable for a younger child with smaller hands, too–it sometimes tires my hand. What would also concern me is lung capacity and breath support–most of my kindergarten/1st graders don’t have the lung capacity to sustain even their singing voices for very long, just because of their size and their stage of physical development… and a child that young might not have success fill a wind instrument and having control over the air stream. I’ve never taught a student that young to play a band instrument… however, you might want to try explaining to the parent that, unlike the string instruments that are available in half size and quarter size for smaller students, band instruments are only made in adult sizes and that trying to start a child whose body is too small or not at the right stage of development to have success might just result in frustration. And personally, with my 16+ experience teaching elementary music, many kids are still developing their sense of steady beat and ability to match pitch at that age. They will have much more success on an instrument at a later age if they’ve had the chance to develop their musical skills away from an instrument first when they are younger. It may well be that this child already has developed a good musical ear and rhythm skills, but unless you’ve had experience working with the child and know that he/she is especially advanced and could handle the challenge (because in addition to all of the physical issues, brass instruments require an excellent sense of pitch and particularly trombone, since the child would have to hear intervals in the octave below his/her own singing voice), I would generally encourage them to wait until they are older.