Originally Posted by daytripper75
I think that a clarinet would be really difficult to play at 5. Hand size, breath and lungs. I think that if he wants to start with a woodwind, a recorder might be a better option. I also really like the piano idea.
I am a woodwind player.
Recorder has the benefit of being an instant gratification instrument - you blow, it plays fairly decently. So then all you need to do is get the fingering in place. My five, now six year old, plays fine.
As a university student, even *I* had trouble reaching all the keys/holes on a clarinet as my hands are small. In addition, I could never be a bassoon player no matter how much I love the instrument. My hands are just too small. But they're a good deal bigger than my 6 year old's hands (who is average sized).
As for the pp who suggested piccolo - I would never teach a young child to play a piccolo. While it's a small instrument, it is very difficult to play - just getting it to make a noise can be a very big challenge - much less getting it to play in tune and being able to play its full range. I do know that my former flute teacher starts teaching kids flute around age 7 or so - with the curved head joint though.
I have a 9 year old who is dying to play french horn but he even has to wait as his lungs/breathing just aren't mature enough yet and he's still too small/not strong enough to hold it correctly.
Another thought would be an Orff program that would expose your son to different instruments and they give a wonderful base for starting other instruments later on. Or even supplement some at-home recorder playing with Orff. Our library has a ton of books geared towards beginning recorder.
It is much better to start them off on an instrument that is appropriate than an instrument that can cause a lot of frustration. There really are so many options out there that would give him musical experience without the frustration.