Friday, August 22, 2008

What Age Should Your Child Start Piano Lessons?


by Amy Nutt

There isn’t a parent who doesn’t want their child to be good at something and one of the more common aspirations is playing piano. There`s something about being able to dance your fingers across the ivory keys that appeals to both parents and children. The big question on every parent`s lips is “When should my child start piano?”

The younger, the better. We’ve all heard about the likes of Mozart and other child prodigies who began playing at very tender ages, 3 or 4. Getting a child into piano lessons that early means they will have the most time possible playing, even if they don`t end up being extremely gifted in the area of music.

Introducing Young Children to Piano

You can start peaking your little one`s interest in music right from the start. Listening to classical piano while in the womb and after birth will give your child an early appreciation for the piano. They will be far more interested in playing than if you simply ignore music all together and then abruptly introduce it as you want them to play.

If you’ve decided to start your very young child in piano, it is very important to find the right teacher. Toddlers can`t and shouldn’t be expected to, focus on one thing for a long period of time. That means lessons will certainly need to be cut into smaller, more manageable bites. Most 3-4 year olds do very well with 15 minute lessons.

You really can’t expect a 3 year old to learn the same way a teen or adult would, so having a piano teacher that understands the age group and knows how to communicate effectively with a small child is vital. Without this, you’ll find that children don’t learn well and will rapidly become frustrated with the instrument. The idea is to keep it fun and enjoyable, particularly at this young age.

With a good base to build on, small children will often go on to play piano for the rest of their lives and this gift of music is definitely something that they will treasure in years to come.

Older Children and the Piano

Of course, not everyone can start their toddler in piano lessons so early. In some cases, parents may not have even considered the possibility until their older child came out and asked for lessons. This is a common scenario, where the child is the one interested in playing.

First, you`ll want to ensure that this isn’t just a passing phase. Most parents do this by requiring their children to take a minimum of one year of piano lessons. This is more than enough time to get a good taste for the music lessons and after a year, a decision can be made, to continue on or to leave it.

Children who instigate the learning process tend to stick with it better than those who are forced into it at an early age, but they may be slower to pick up the concepts behind the music and it can be a bit of a struggle for older children to learn to read music in some cases. However, if the effort is made, it can be an excellent way to learn more about music and no one has ever done poorly because they learned to play the piano.

To make the piano lessons a success, be sure to have a way for your child to practice daily. It’s important they have this opportunity, no matter what their age. While younger is still better, that certainly doesn’t rule out older kids who are interested in learning.

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