I LOVE music-don't you? Other than school music class, I wasn't really exposed to music lessons of any sort until about 4th grade. I took choir for a few years, learned flute in 5th grade, clarinet in 6th & 7th, keyboard in 9th so I could join the youth worship team at church, and guitar in 12th for my senior project. I am currently a licensed Kindermusik educator running a Kindermusik music & movement program at a local music store for children ages 0-5 years. I LOVE it so much.
My children have been exposed to music since birth, and I'm so thankful for that. My husband even played guitar in the hospital for our first born, Ellie. Ellie began learning guitar from Ben around the age of 5; she was a natural and picked up chords quickly. A few months ago, we had Ellie (7) start taking formal guitar lessons, and Zoe (5) started taking piano lessons. Aaron (almost 4) REALLY wants to play drums someday. For now, he uses whatever he can find to hit and make noise.
It's so easy to implement music education at home. Babies love banging pots and pans with a spoon. They love slamming cabinet doors over and over. Anything around us can be used to make music, and we can let our children explore around our houses to create new sounds. That being said-it is definitely nice to have a host of instruments to have at home for exploring. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get your hands on a variety of instruments!
Search Craigslist for unwanted instruments. I had wanted a piano for a long time. We kept our eyes open on Craigslist for a free (or almost free) piano for several months before finding one. We brought it home, painted it, and now use it daily! I've seen drum sets go for very inexpensive as well.
Amazon carries a lot of instruments! I personally buy most of my baby safe instruments for my
Kindermusik from Amazon. The price for these 4 Hohner baby instruments is typically cheaper than anywhere else. They sell a lot of smaller instruments for great prices.
Ebay is your friend. Ebay is a great resource for used instruments that still have lots of life. Most instruments can live on from person to person. Also, if you're not sure whether you or your child is going to actually like an instrument, buying used can save you a lot of money.
Rent an instrument. For most band instruments, you can find local music stores that rent out instruments to students. If you're not wanting to make the purchase of the saxophone your child is wanting to try out, you can rent it on a monthly basis for a fraction of the cost.
When most people think of buying their child an instrument, they think of the big ones-piano, guitar, trumpet, drums, etc. But don't forget that there are many other smaller instruments that are great for learning, too. Rhythm sticks and egg shakers are great for learning rhythm and only cost a couple bucks each. A recorder is a great introduction to wind instruments at a cost of less than $10. A xylophone or glockenspiel is an excellent way to experience piano without the piano.
It doesn't cost a lot (or anything at all) to introduce your children to music at a young age, but the benefits of music will last a lifetime!