A recent obituary in the Guardian came with a photo of the person playing the flute, so I read it although the name didn’t ring a bell. As it turned out, flautist Atarah Ben-Tovim (with her husband Douglas Boyd) was the author of a book that I read in the 1990s and that has influenced my life more than most books I read: The right instrument for your child.
As I recall it, the book is extremely good at pointing out all the little things that may become a deciding factor in whether or not a young (or even not so young) person is attracted to a specific instrument and will also stick with it. Such as the physical energy you can pump into a cello, which suits a slightly more assertive child, shall we say. Or that flute fingering is easy when you transfer from the recorder.
I believe (with the authors) that more consideration on the instrument choice could save a lot of people from an unhappy learning experience. Too many people just go for piano or violin as the default without considering the personality of their child and what kind of instrument would be a good match.
The book helped me a lot in kicking off the musical education of my children, which then rubbed off to my own, belated learnings, so it helped to generate many person-years of music making in this family alone, just imagine what its effect may be on its entire readership. I think of this book as plan A, with the equally interesting “Never too late” by John Holt, being the plan B. There are two more recent editions than mine, but it seems to have gone out of print after the 2012 release.
Like most of the things I'm obsessing about these days, this is related to my musical memoir project, specifically to chapter 4.