When Should My Child Start Piano Lessons?

by Pia

Is your child naturally drawn to the instrument? Have they shown true interest in learning to play (are they experimenting on the piano and making up songs)? Are you prepared as a parent to commit to weekly lessons and sitting with your child for daily practice?

I work with children of all ages and in my experience, most children who start lessons at a very young age progress much more slowly than a child who starts at age 7 or 8. There are always exceptions, but for most children there really isn’t an advantage to starting formal lessons so young. In fact, many children (and their parents) can get overwhelmed, frustrated and burnt out on private lessons in just a couple of years. What a shame.

 

A better use of that time (and money) would be to allow your child to explore music in a relaxed setting. Singing, dancing and playing simple instruments at home with your child is a terrific way to spark their interest and expose them to different genres of music. If you have a piano at home, allow your child to engage and experiment with the instrument. Young children love to pick out familiar tunes and make-up their own songs. Music and movement classes also engage young children in the way they learn best – movement, play, dance, singing and making music as a group. For young children (0-7), movement and learning are inextricably linked; a child’s body must be engaged for deep-seated learning to take place.

I truly understand that parents are eager to get their children started in lessons as soon as possible. Studies show that children who play an instrument do better in school, are more focused, are better critical thinkers, are more successful, and so on. However, it is important to give your child a strong musical foundation before beginning the intensity of private lessons. Music is a language and when learning a language children need ample time to experiment/play/engage with it long before they learn to read.

 

A final note – nearly all of the professional musicians I know fell in love with their instrument and picked it up because they truly wanted to learn it. Just some food for thought.

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