We all know music is critical to creative thinking and many say it’s a gateway to excellence in math. You probably expect your kiddos to study an instrument at some point, maybe piano or guitar or flute. But what if your little one surprises you with, “mommy, I want to play the dulcimer!” Stranger things have happened. But, in the District outside the box music lessons are the norm. From cello and ukulele to dulcimer and accordion, the list of learning possibilities at these music schools is endless! accordian-kid House of Musical Traditions
If their collection of exotic, unusual and vintage instruments is any clue to the variety of music lessons they offer, then HMT is anything but average when it comes to what you can learn.  Featured lessons include the accordion, banjo, baritone horn, bodhran (an Irish drum if you’re wondering), bones/spoons (Irish frame drum), dulcimer, mandolin, pennywhistle, viola and ukulele. You can even learn to play something called the Didgeridoo, which is a 1500-year-old Australian pipe that looks as cool as it sounds. HMT has a large network of teachers throughout the metropolitan area. Some lessons are held at the HTM shop in Takoma Park; others are held in each individual teacher’s home. Take advantage of the free first Lessons series, held one Saturday each month and rotates through a variety of instruments. 7010 Westmorland Ave. (Takoma Park, Md) 301-270-9090 Online: hmtrad.com kids-playing-instruments Dudley’s B Sharp Academy (DBA)
Whether you’re learning string, wind, voice or percussion, Dudley’s boasts the most exciting music experience you’ll ever have. They take a non-traditional approach to instruction by teaching you how to play by ear. Lessons take the focus off of theory and scales and put it on creating a fun listening and learning environment that guarantees success. You’ll also learn to play various genres of music, such as pop, gospel, jazz, blues, R&B and Classical.  If your little Vivaldi is interested in one of the more difficult instruments, such as violin or cello, but may find repetitive scales a bore, this is the place for you. 2101 Rhode Island Ave., NE (Chinatown) 202-439-0016 Online: bsharpworld.com girl-guitar B&B Music Lessons
Make the world a better place through music, one lesson at a time. That’s the motto of this D.C. network of music teacher and lovers that offer lessons throughout the District and the surrounding suburbs. The cool thing about B&B is that they come to you, whether you live by the waterfront or the White House. While you won’t find lessons for extremely exotic instruments here, you will find solid teachers for the less popular passions such as viola, cello, or trombone, plus all of the familiar staples, including piano, drums, and guitar. 14 Q St., NE (NoMa) 301-655-4460 Online: bnbmusiclessons.com kid-tuba International School of Music (ISM)
Oboe, tuba, euphonium, harp…these are just a few of the many instruments you can learn to play at ISM. Committed to providing a nurturing environment while developing and enhancing music skills, ISM offers programs for just about anyone, regardless of age or ability. Their Early Childhood Program targets children as young as 6 months where infants and toddlers can join with a caregiver in a community of music appreciation. They also feature loads of private and group lessons, along with summer camps and special workshops. Two locations: 10450 Auto Park Ave. and 5110 Ridgefield Rd., Suite 104 (Bethesda, Md) 301-365-5888 or 301-657-0763 Online: ismw.org

Does your kid take a fabulous music class? Tell us a little about it in the comments section below. 

—Jamy Bond

Photos courtesy of House of Musical Traditions via Facebook, Orlando Philharmonic via FlickrB&B Music Lessons via Facebook, Official U.S. Navy via Creative Commons