Best Instruments For Young Children – A “Play By The Numbers” Dulcimer!

can and picks yellowThis simple and satisfying “first instrument” is a lot of fun and  introduces any child or grown-up to the basic skills needed to play any fretted, stringed instrument such as the guitar, ukulele or mandolin.

Play For A Child, With A Child, Or Let The Child Play!

Learning an instrument with a child is a great way to teach them about the learning process.  It can be helpful for a child to see that every person continues to learn throughout their lifetime and how that process works.  Watching you try to play and struggle a bit, then persist, and succeed teaches persistence, patience and determination.  Learning a simple instrument – even with the ups and downs involved – is a great way to bond with a child while building musical skills at the same time!

josef and dulcimerPlay By Numbers

Play-By-Numbers song sheets for the tin can dulcimer or any dulcimer are just as easy as they sound.   Each number corresponds to a “fret”, one of the long spaces you’ll find on the fretboard of your instrument.  To play, push down gently but firmly at the center of each fret and then strum or pluck the string with the other hand.

If the songbook says 2, then press the 2nd fret in the middle and strum until you get a good sound.  Get the picture?  And if you see a “0”, that simply means to pluck or strum the instrument without holding down any fret.

Play By Numbers Songs

Want to start with an easy song?  How about “Mary Had A Little Lamb”?

5   4   3   4   4   5   5    5             4   4   4        5   7   7
Mary Had A little Lamb, Little Lamb, Little Lamb

5   4   3   4           5   5    5
Mary Had A little Lamb,

5        4      4           5      4     3
It’s fleece was white as snow

“Happy Birthday” By The Numbers

Here’s “Happy Birthday” on the Appalachian lap dulcimer.  Numbers for both “Happy Birthday” and “Feliz Cumpleaños”, a Spanish version of that song, are below.

0               1      0      3   2        0           1   0          4    3
Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday to you.

0              7    5          3       2      1                         6     5        3         4     3
Happy Birthday, dear (add their name), Happy Birthday to you.

0             1  0   3  2      0      1   0    4  3
Cumpleaños feliz, te deseamos a ti.

0               7 5  3  2  1   6     5   3  4      3
Cumpleaños felizes, te deseamos a ti.

Have any questions about these instruments?  These are two instruments I really enjoy playing so I’d be happy to answer your questions.  Drop me a line in the comments section below.

Win A Tin Can Dulcimer!

And if you’re reading this during July or August 2014, you can enter to win one of these great little tin can dulcimers on the DARIA MUSIC monthly song page here: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

Links And Resources

Post On The Tin Can Dulcimer
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/best-first-instruments-for-kids-a-tin-can-dulcimer/

Hear A Dulcimer   
http://www.dariamusic.com/dulcimer.php
Hear A Dulcimer Song   
http://www.dariamusic.com/dulcimer.php
Color A Dulcimer (Online)  
http://www.dariamusic.com/color_Dulcimer.php

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