Piano lessons for kids of all ages are valuable. Determining whether your child is ready for lessons seems like an ominous task to some. It shouldn’t be. Knowing your children along with a few tips will make it easy to set a starting time.
Considerations for Starting Piano Lessons for Kids
A common question of many parents is when to start piano lessons. The answer isn’t black and white. There are many things that go into deciding if a student is ready to start.
Many people think age is the only thing that goes into deciding when to start piano lessons. It’s true that age does play a factor, but it isn’t the only thing you should think about. On average, most kids are ready to begin taking lessons around the age of six or seven or halfway through 1st grade.
Another factor to consider when deciding if your son or daughter is ready to learn to play the piano is their maturity level. Some kids are mature enough to sit through a lesson at age five while others may not be ready to sit until eight or nine. If a student isn’t ready until a slightly older age they will be just as well off as those starting younger.
I have seen this first hand. I had a student start at the age of eight and he is progressing fabulously. He was ready for the rigors of practicing and sitting through a lesson. He is one of the most eager students I’ve seen. Had he started younger it would have been hair pulling for both of us since he is full of energy.
Reading ability is important when it comes to starting piano lessons for kids. If a child is mature and a great reader but only five years old she might be ready to start. On the flipside, kids that struggle with reading may want to wait until they are going into 2nd grade to begin lessons.
It may seem odd that reading would be so important when we are talking about music, but in order to work through the method books and complete assignments, being able to read is helpful. The only way to get around this is if a parent is going to sit down at every practice session with the child and help them out.
Music also builds off the alphabet. Without a basic understanding of the letters and order of them, it is difficult to learn to read music. Students will spend more time learning note names than truly learning how to make music.
My 3 Year Old Loves Music and Keeps “Playing” Our Piano, Now What…
Many young kids love music and that is a great thing. Fostering that love is important. However, most kids aren’t ready for standard one on one lessons at the age of three. If piano lessons for 3-year-olds are a high priority, start with fostering the love of music.
Piano lessons for 3-year-olds to 6-year-olds should include a focus and some fun at the piano. This will allow them to get accustomed to the piano. Along with some fun little games and tunes at the piano, preschoolers should be exposed to rhythm and music. Playing funs songs and allowing the kids to dance to them or leading them in movements to the beat will benefit them more than just sitting at the piano for half an hour.
So gather up the neighborhood kids for a dance party! It provides great exercise for everyone involved while giving the kids exposure to music. Encourage other moms to join in on the party rather than just drop them off and leave. It will be a great bonding time for every mom and their kids.
Elementary Aged Kids…The Golden Years
Kids in early to mid-elementary are generally the most moldable when it comes to learning new things, especially a new language. Yes, music is another language. There is more to it than just learning to play a certain key on the piano or note on the page. Kids in elementary school still have the eagerness to learn and the ability to do so.
This isn’t saying other kids or adults are incapable of playing piano, but going off the guide above, as soon as a child is around six or more years, shows maturity to sit for 30 minute periods, and has basic reading skills, they should begin lessons.
Tweens, Teens, and Adults
Even though starting lessons at a young age is valuable, taking them at any age should be done. Everyone can learn basic music skills and play an instrument. You won’t be the next Mozart or piano prodigy, but you can gain an understanding of music.
Tweens and teens should have an interest in learning, otherwise, they will be distracted by their new interest in their social life. More things on their plate because of middle school and high school will leave less room for music and piano unless they have a desire to learn. If your kid wants to learn to play a percussion instrument or any other instrument though, piano lessons, even for a short while, will be worth it.
The Parent Connection
Every child develops at different rates. YOU are the only one that truly knows when your child will be ready. It doesn’t take a trained piano teacher to do an evaluation and say whether or not lessons should be started. If the child fits the criteria above, start formal training. If you are doing lessons for a preschooler, start with fun group lessons.
Giving lessons to your kids is the best way to connect with them. I have been teaching my kids for the past several years and don’t regret a minute of it. My daughter began asking me to give her lessons when she was four. I hesitated at first but we started, slowly. I let her set the pace because of her age. As she got older, we began to get more consistent. Now we meet on a weekly basis just as I do with other students in the studio.
I asked her on several occasions if she would rather take lessons from someone else and always got a resounding NO! She loves taking lessons from me and I love teaching her. Lessons are a way we spend quality time together.
Don’t be afraid to jump in and spend time teaching your kids. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give them!