My son just turned five this spring, and I want to get him started learning an instrument. I don’t harbor any secret desires to raise a concert pianist, though I would be happy if he ended up having the talent and dedication to make a life as a professional musician. I only want music to be a part of his life. My parents had me take piano lessons for five years when I was a child, and I know it was good for me. I don’t know what kind of lessons he should take. I’m biased toward classical piano, but would it be better to get him lessons in something like guitar or drums so that he doesn’t feel like a band geek?
— Kim, Talmadge
Sign him up for whichever lessons feel right. From where I stand atop Mt. Hipness (a peak small in height, but great in self-importance), there are almost no “wrong” choices for a child’s first musical instrument. Perhaps don’t get him a tuba, since they’re really heavy. Beyond that, there’s nothing uncool about classical instruments and the ability to play them. Sure, he may be condemned to a few middle-school taunts for playing woodwinds instead of guitar. During the college years, being able to confidently, and with a touch of irony, drop the phrase, “I’m actually a pretty accomplished bassoonist” in casual conversation is guaranteed to catch the attention of the hipster girls. What better way to stand out from the crowd of bros strumming “Redemption Song” and “Wish You Were Here”?