So you want to unleash your kid’s inner Lang Lang, Eric Clapton, or John Bonham. But have you ever considered musical instruments beyond the mainstream piano, guitar, and drums? If you haven’t, let us introduce you to the alternative musical instruments in Malaysia that will allow your child to explore their musical talents. They come with all the typical benefits of learning an instrument, but they’re way cooler and a lot more fun to play and learn!
Unique And Easiest Musical Instruments In Malaysia For Kids To Learn
Intrigued already? Keep scrolling for nine of the easiest unconventional musical instruments in Malaysia for kids to learn.
1. Steel Tongue Drum
An easy but interesting musical instrument for Malaysian kids to pick up is the steel tongue drum. It’s named as such because each numbered note resembles a tongue, and when struck with mallets, they produce calming bell-like sounds. Even if your child is a complete beginner in music, they can play any combination or sequence of notes and it will still sound pleasing to the ears. If you plan to invest in one, be sure to do some research as steel tongue drums come in different sizes, scales, and keys.
Check out: Steel tongue drum cover of Castle in the Sky theme
If your little one can sing or hum, they can definitely play the kazoo. And with just a few simple techniques, the kazoo’s sound can go from glorified party horn to low-key saxophone. If you don’t believe us, check out the tutorial below. It’ll convince you to stock up on these inexpensive musical instruments for your kids, and maybe even yourself!
Check out: The Kazoo Guru tutorials
Though a relatively unknown musical instrument in Malaysia, the kalimba is popular around the world for several reasons. First, it’s a versatile instrument as the songs can range from simple to complex. Second, it produces soothing, dulcet tones reminiscent of a music box. Third, it’s small and portable, so it’s easy to carry around. To play it, your kiddo simply needs to hold the kalimba in both hands then pluck the tines with both thumbs.
Check out: Kalimba buying and playing guides
If a drum set takes up too much space in your home, consider the cajon. It looks just like a hollow wooden box, except it’s got snappy snare wires inside. This simplicity is what makes the cajon an easy musical instrument for kids to master. All they need to do is sit on the box, and strike a rhythm with their hands and legs. By hitting different areas of the box, different tones are produced. It’s a great improvisational instrument for kids to explore rhythm and beats.
- Ted-Ed video on the story of the cajon
- Five basic cajon beats to learn
The harmonica is another recommended musical instrument for kids in Malaysia. It’s relatively easy to pick up compared to other wind instruments, but playing it well doesn’t come without challenges. It may take some perseverance and classes before your child gets the fundamentals right. But even if they do ditch their new hobby, it doesn’t come with too hefty a price tag. For beginners, experts recommend sticking to a diatonic harmonica in the key of C, preferably one that comes with a plastic comb for more comfort.
Check out: Harmonica lessons for kids
Weird but cute, the Otamatone is a synthesiser from Japan that resembles a quaver, sounds like a theremin, and works like a string instrument. To hit different notes or produce a vibrato effect, the player will need to slide one hand up and down the neck. To control pitch and tone, the other hand will need to squeeze the ‘mouth’ of the note head open and close. It’s a very quirky musical instrument for Malaysian kids to make up some tunes. At best, it’ll sound like an opera singer; at worst, you’ll want to prepare some earplugs.
Check out: Golden buzzer Otamatone performance on Spain’s Got Talent
Is your kiddo a fan of the guitar? Why not start them off with the ukulele instead? Both work the same way, except the ukulele is smaller with fewer strings and frets. This means simpler chords and fretting, making it an ideal musical instrument for Malaysian kids to learn. Plus, it delivers a softer and warmer tone, so it’s less likely to wake everyone in the house. Between four sizes – soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone – the best ukulele for children is usually the smallest of the lot, the soprano.
Check out: 10-day ukulele starter course
The ocarina may be unheard of in Malaysia, but it’s actually a musical instrument that’s suitable for kids. It may look intimidating with its odd shape, random holes, and protruding mouthpiece, but don’t let that deter your kid. The ocarina’s fingering system is fairly easy to learn, and if your kid enjoys a good challenge, mastering breath control will help them play crisper melodies. If they’re up for it, go for a 10- or 12-hole ocarina tuned to alto C for easier and more intuitive playing.
Check out: Ocarina beginner tutorial
Don’t mistake this plastic keyboard for a toy. It’s a legit musical instrument called melodica or pianica, which used to be taught in Malaysian schools. It requires the player to blow air through the tube or mouthpiece while pressing down the keys, producing a sound that’s similar to the accordion or harmonica. Since it shares the same black-and-white keys as the piano, pianists can play just about any song in their repertoire on the melodica.
Check out: Pianica jam session
Unlock Your Child’s Musical Talents With These Unique Musical Instruments In Malaysia
These instruments may be unconventional, but they still provide children with plenty of room for improvisation and self-expression. As tempted as you are to choose one for your child, let them have the last say. After all, the motivation to learn should always come from within. Hopefully, they’ll find their niche among these unique musical instruments in Malaysia!
If you find the price of these instruments a little steep, check out Kedai Buku Shopee for promotions and vouchers. And if your kid is just not interested in music, something more outdoorsy like roller skating or cycling might suit them better.