Which kalimbas are good for kids?
Kalimba Magic tilts toward the discerning kalimba customer, but we also have a number of kalimbas that are great choices for kids.
Now, these are four-year-old thumbs playing an 8-note student karimba. I usually suggest “one tine per year of age”, but this child is growing up in a musical family, and the smooth tines of the Goshen are perfect for children.
Usually, the African karimbas (with an “r”) have an extra row of upper tines, and they are perfect for playing African music. The “Student Karimba” is just the lower row of tines from a karimba, which represent the most ancient notes from the instrument as played in Africa over 1000 years ago. So, with this 8-note or 9-note instrument, you can play the same music that was played in ancient Africa. And excellent way to appreciate African genius.
The Hugh Tracey Student Karimba is also a good African experience.
The 10-Note Heart Kalimba has four instructional downloads written just for it. It plays a wide variety of music, is simple to play, and is easy on young thumbs. Special small size is great for kids ages 7-12. Conceptually appropriate for beginners of any age.
The Hugh Tracey Kalimbas come with an optional electronic pickup so you can plug them in! The 8-Note kalimba is great to learn on, because you really drill in on the major scale. And everything you learn on this kalimba can transfer directly to larger kalimbas such as the Alto Kalimba or the 17-Note Kalimba in C.
There is a big jump in complexity from the 10-Note to the 17-Note Kalimbas. The 17-Note Kalimba is really an adult instrument, but young adults can often do just as much as adults… especially if they have been exercising their thumbs with excessive texting habits. And the 17-Note Kalimba has lots of instructional books and downloads. By the way – if the 17-Note Kalimba is too complicated when you start, you can “cover up” the outer notes with tape and turn it into a 10-Note Kalimba to learn on.
The Hokema B9, or Pocket Sansula, is small enough for small hands, and plays simply charming and enchanting music, very simply. This is not the kalimba to get if you want to play songs you know – this is the kalimba to get if you want to explore the mystical side of kalimba. For the discerning child, or for adults who just like to roam in the beautiful spaces.
The kalimba can be a fantastic stepping stone into the world of music, and it can be a life-long musical companion.
When you get a book or an ebook from Kalimba Magic, you are getting so much more than just song instructions: you are also getting a good amount of music theory that will help you relate the kalimba to the larger world of music.
If you already play music, the info on scales or chords will help you quickly connect the kalimba to your prior musical understanding.
If you don’t already play music, these elements of the kalimba instruction will give you many of the concepts you need to know to play other instruments in the future.
I got my first opportunity to tinkle on a kalimba when I was two, and I always wanted one. I grew up playing instruments such as trombone, guitar, recorder, and piano… but in the end, the kalimba is the first love that I love to come back to, over, and over again. There is something so simple, yet so beautiful and healing about the kalimba.
Getting a kalimba for your child could be just one more thing that sits on their book shelf… or it could be a doorway into a new and amazing world of music that will grow and sustain your child through the good times and the bad for all the years of their life.
Hoping for many years of joy, love, and increased understanding through the kalimbas in your life.