As a piano teacher as well as performer, I get this question a lot. Many parents wonder if there is a specific age they should start getting their child piano lessons. Should they start now or should they wait awhile?
This is a tough question to answer, because every child is unique. I have seen children at the age of 4 or even younger ready to start piano lessons and I’ve seen children 8 or 9 years old not ready – it is very dependent on the child.
Generally speaking (in my experience), the age range of 6-9 is an almost magical time to start taking piano lessons. This is not an accident. By this age, kids are going to school and learning how to take written direction and how to work independently; these are two major things required in piano study.
When working with children younger than this, it definitely helps if you take an active role in their education and have a background in music yourself. However, some children just have different levels of maturity and teaching them at a young age can be a challenge – they might not want to sit still at the bench for more than a few minutes. In this case, it’s probably a good idea to wait a bit before getting them lessons or teaching them yourself – it’s never good to be in a battle for their attention when it comes to learning a musical instrument.
In any case, one of the best things you can do is to expose your children to music at a young age. Play the piano for them yourself, play recorded music for them to enjoy, play games at the piano, anything that can make music a fun experience for them. Exposure at a young age is a big element in developing talent and understanding the language of music, just as children growing up in a bilingual household can have complete comfort with more than one language.
So when will you know it’s the right time to begin piano lessons? If your child seems genuinely interested, if they can take written direction and if they can complete their homework on their own – these are signs that they are ready for lessons. You will definitely want to consider helping your child once they start lessons because practicing the piano correctly is hard work. If you are learning alongside them it will help in their development.
It is important to encourage your children and make the experience of learning the piano fun for them. For information about a specific situation, I am happy to help in any way I can. As always, check out LivingPianos.com for more blogs and articles in the future.