Posted on Mon Mar 27, 2017
Back when I was around 13yo I started learning to play the guitar, for the very intelligent reason of impressing a girl who was somewhat good at singing (end of story: it did not work out).
I started with a course for classical guitar: I did not like it very much, but the teacher taught me the basic technique. Around three years later I bought an acoustic guitar, which should have been my first choice. But I knew nothing about acoustic guitars and I made the mistake of buying a 12-strings one (12-strings are gorgeous!), which is very difficult to tune and play, especially if you are a beginner. I had cramps in my left hand; steel strings cut my skin repeatedly…
In the error I was lucky: 12-strings guitars have a wider keyboard, which means that if you mount only the 6 standard strings, they are more spaced and will forgive you if your finger placement is imperfect. I liked this setup. So I was alternating: some time with 12 strings and some time with 6 strings.
For a while I was motivated: I exercised regularly, self–taught songs and arpeggios, wrote my own songs book with a collection of guitar tabs (partly by hand and partly on an old typewriter, which is where I learned to type). I was playing especially Vasco Rossi, Francesco De Gregori, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, and some other italian and non–italian songs.
I learned things: playing music is fun; even if you are not a master guitarist (I have never been more than a past-beginner level), the guitar can give you real satisfaction; I have no artistic creativity whatsoever, there is no way I can compose music myself.
In the past 15 years I seldom played something. My non–prestigious guitar is exhausted: it has deformed wood, it does not keep tuning, it does not play well anymore.
Enough of me.
I have a niece. I would really like to introduce her to music–playing. It is a quite hard thing to do: to get a kid interested in something.
For reasons, she cannot play the guitar. Keyboards and piano are problematic, but possible for a person with a bit of maturity and determination, but she is 7yo now… will see. So what simple instrument can I propose to her?
There is beatboxing!!! Now, there are some awesome girls like Cyborg Kaori:
in one of the possible futures I will let my niece know that beatboxing exists; but not today…
Diatonic harmonica would be ideal: it is a small instrument; you can play it everywhere; you can play nice melodies, especially Blues; in my opinion, it is a somewhat intuitive instrument. Female Blues harmonica players are a rare sight, but they do exist:
my niece already knows about harmonica because I’ve let her make noise with my own one. This is for sure an option.
What about drums? It would be amazing:
I can buy her a pair of sticks and try to have her make noise by hitting a tablet of Pongo. But then? Nobody in the family plays drums.
Back on planet Earth.
Ocarina is a relatively easy one; a bit boring, maybe? Anyway there would be problems…
Pianica is… difficult? Easy? Kids can play it:
Kazoo! Not really an instrument, but funny! Nice gift, but not satisfactory.
Ah… the hard life of uncles…