It is the on-going question from parents and a question of high debate among piano teachers: Is my child too young for piano lessons? We’ve all seen videos like the one of the 4 year old who was featured on the show Little Big Shots, but how young is too young?
I have recently read this great article about a small study that has shown that there is a benefit to children’s brains if they begin lessons before the age of 7.
Truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong way to answer that question. It depends on the individual student.
Instead of only asking whether or not your child is too young for lessons, here are 5 questions to ask yourself instead:
1. Does your child have interest in piano lessons?
No matter how old your child is, what really matters is whether or not they are interested in the piano. If there is a true interest in learning to play, then your child should try lessons! It’s interest not age that will make the biggest difference for them. If your child is not remotely interested in lessons, then now may not be the time for them.
2. How long is your child’s attention span?
Most teachers consider this to be the biggest tell-tale sign of a student being ready for lessons. I agree that this is important because lessons do require that your child sit, listen and interact with their teacher for a lesson period. For some little ones, 30 minutes is too long for them, and that’s ok! This is why I offer 20 minute lessons for preschoolers. If your child cannot maintain attention for at least 20 minutes, you may need to wait a little bit longer before starting lessons.
3. Does your child know how to count and can they identify colors, letters and numbers?
Ok, I want to preface this by saying that this is something we can work around. However, it certainly does help a whole lot if your child can already identify letters, numbers, colors and can count. This opens up a HUGE range of activities we can use to reinforce what they learn in their lessons.
4. Do you have the time to invest in lessons?
The younger your child is, the more parental involvement will be needed. I require preschool students’ parents to sit in on lessons so that parents are also aware of what we are working on in lessons to aid with practicing during the week. Little ones are unable to independently practice, so this is super important! Parents have to consider whether or not they have the time to sit and practice with their child daily. This will be a necessity for them to progress and be successful.
5. What are your expectations for lessons?
Since young children are each individually different both personality and developmentally wise, your expectations for how quickly they progress and what they learn during lessons will need to be flexible. Some preschoolers may fly through lessons and may be able to play songs easily, while others’ lessons may need to be more of a musical enrichment experience that lays a foundation for future lesson progress. Both situations are ok and very beneficial to your child! Just be aware that lessons for little ones may look different than they do for older kids.
So, how did you answer these questions? If your answers reflect that your child is ready, contact me for lessons today!
Your little one will love this book about music!