4 year old very into music- where can he experience instruments?


My nephew is absolutely enthralled by musical instruments these days. He is about to turn 4 years old and I would love to gift him a musical experience. So far he is learning about instruments through videos but I wanted to see if any of you have suggestions to get him up close and personal with different instruments? Any and all suggestions are welcome. 

Thanks so much :)

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When my son was around that age he did Jon's School of Music in Berkeley and it was great!

I would check out Jon's School of Music - he does classes in the small building at Totland, and the kids all love him!

You can sign up by going to his website, or by dropping by Saturday mornings.

My son was interested in music at that age too (and still is). He did a program through the School of Rock. Their programs for kids under 7 do not focus on a single instrument, but they do different ones each week.

Crowden Community Music Day: https://www.crowden.org/community-music-day/. Looks like it happens in the fall, though, but worth keeping on your radar.
You could also keep an eye on the Berkeley Public Library kids events calendar…looks like they had an “instrument petting zoo” event last November, and they might have other concerts/music events geared towards kids.

I have a 15 month and I am about to go to a music class with her. Its called Bluebearmusic. check it out. This might be something he would be interested Inas well. 

Hi! Our 3.5yo has recently started in Jon’s School of Music and it has been fun and engaging. He’s played electric guitar and bass, drums, banjo, keyboards, marimba… really recommend it!


So I will offer an out of the box idea - take a family trip to Phoenix, and plan to spend a day at the Musical Instrument Museum! It is a FANTASTIC huge discovery center with two rooms devoted to "please touch" instrument play. My two kids looooooved it - the one who is musical and the one who is not. Fascinating for all ages.

Lots of fun hotels with pools in PHX too. Could be a great long weekend!

Freight & Salvage in Berkeley regularly has weekend parents and kids jam sessions. They put out a bunch of instruments and let you just go for it. They also have kids classes. Check out their kids event page which they update regularly. https://thefreight.org/learn-to-play/for-kids/

Jon's school of music is great! He has classes at the clubhouse and Totland and some outdoors ones at parks. He's super entertaining and the kids get to try a lot of different instruments - drums (a real drum set), guitars, violin, keyboards. They learn some basic musical notation through games, too. 

A few things you can check out - my kids are older and pre-pandemic so I'm not sure what's changed:

  • Crowden School has a Musical Petting Zoo during their Community Day in the fall
  • Music Together classes are hands-on - more percussion-focused, but lots of fun for musical kids
  • I think the Bay Area Discovery Museum has some hands-on instruments in their How Things Work area
  • It's further afield, but if you find yourself making the inevitable trip to Legoland, the nearby Museum of Making Music (https://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/) was a big hit with my music-loving 4-5yo

 Hope that helps! It's so fun to watch them discover things they're interested in!

This is an exciting and a perfect time to get a kid started in musical instruments, especially if he’s showing interest.   Although this might not directly answer your question,  Crowden Music Center in Berkeley holds a yearly “petting zoo” (around October I think), where kids and adults alike can try a wide variety of musical instruments.   It’s a fun activity that is worth putting on your calendar.   I’d also recommended signing up for their newsletter so you can keep posted on all their events (school concerts, weekend concerts, open-house, etc).   My daughter (now 14 yo and still  started playing piano at 4, and also picked up violin at age 6.  Crowden’s unique environment allows musically inclined children to grow exponentially on this area.   Please check it out.   

The Crowden school has community days where there's often an "Instrument Zoo" where kids can play with different instruments. Your 4-year-old can also take lessons there as well. 

Check out Jon's School of Music: https://www.jsom.com/

Every week, Jon gives the kids a chance to rotate through a number of instruments, and there is always one that is brand-new. In past weeks, my kiddo has tried a xylophone, full drum set, electric bass guitar, kid-sized cello, keyboard, singing into a microphone with a real speaker, this funky thing called the otamatone (google it), and much more.

Not to mention that overall, the class is just really fun. Jon has a quirky and engaging style that totally resonates on a kid level while also teaching real musical concepts like staccato, scales, and keeping rhythm. Have to admit that I enjoy it a fair amount too.

Jon's also careful about COVID precautions. We do the indoor class at Totland, but he requires all adults to wear masks and he keeps the windows and door open for ventilation.

Jon's School of Music does this. jsom.com is his website and he's very responsive via email if you have any questions. 

We have been having a great experience with Miss Edith Szendrey. 510-672-2487


She hosts fun classes for young kids (babies up to 6 years old), where the kids play various instruments she has out, sing, listen to music, and have fun. Miss Edith has being doing this a long time, so she knows how to work with young kids with short attention spans. If necessary she redirects with fun things like scarf dancing and then integrates music again. My toddler and baby love going!

Hi there!  Jon's School of Music is a fantastic way to start your nephew with music and introducing them to many different types of instruments.  We've had our son with Jon on and off for years and he always learns a bunch and has a great time! https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/classes/jons

You can also get instruments that are toys, like a cheap penny whistle, or plastic recorder, or "flutophone"  that they blow into and discover they can change the notes by covering the holes with their fingers.   Or rhythm instruments like  (don;t know what you call it) a ridged thing that you scrape with a stick.   Maybe a plastic ukulele?

Don't require them to accomplish anything, just have fun!

If you are really ambitious, you can get a piano for the cost of moving and tuning it,or  even an electric keyboard, might find one for free or maybe $25.  And a toy xylophone, but try it out yourself first to make sure it plays a real scale.