06 Mar The perfect age to start piano lessons
It’s the most frequently asked question by parents: “Is my child old enough to start lessons?”
While there’s no correct magic number to start at and every child develops differently, I always advise against starting too early (or too late, for that matter).
Here are a couple of things to consider when pursuing piano lessons for your little one:
An early start doesn’t necessarily mean a ‘head start’
Whenever I get queries for children younger than 5, I tell them to hold out just a bit longer. 4 to 4.5 is pushing it, but 5 is a nice, ripe age to dip your toes in music. If you have a boy, it may be safer to consider even waiting a year or two longer.
There are heaps of music schools that offer baby music lessons, piano for toddlers, and I’m sure they’re fantastic! Exposure to music in the womb is a great idea (I certainly did that). I have daily music time with my toddler, but sitting them at a piano for proper piano lessons is overwhelming for a school-aged kid, never mind a baby/toddler. If it gets overwhelming, are you going to pull them out? One of the biggest mistakes in piano lessons (or perhaps lessons in general?) – is inconsistency and frequent stop/starts. Once you start piano lessons, it’s not the wisest decision to take breaks if you want to truly master the skill.
Counting numbers and reciting alphabets
Knowing your A-B-Cs forward and backwards and counting coherently are pretty much the building blocks of learning music. If the poor bub can barely wrap their heads around the alphabet, it’s going to be too much for them to progress.
Attention span matters
As lovely and absolutely adorable as the concept of your little precious playing the piano is, there will inevitably be hard work and resistance against practice. All the fun stuff!
One of the amazing things about mastering a skill and perfecting a talent is the focus and discipline that comes out of this process. Even if your goal isn’t to raise a mini Mozart, they will still need to put in work in order to get anywhere! “Doing something for fun” doesn’t mean you don’t practice.
My point is this: does your child have long enough of an attention span to sit at the piano for 10 minutes a day (every day) to practice? Do they understand the logic behind doing this as part of a routine?
The magic number is …
To be perfectly honest, I would say it’s anywhere between 5 to 8 years old. If you have a super keen, compliant and mature 4 year old who checks off all the things above – then that’s probably the exception and not the norm! But there’s nothing wrong with starting closer to 6 or 7, especially if it means they’ll be more focussed and able to actually absorb the material.
If you have any questions about starting your child in piano lessons in the Inner West/Western Sydney (Lidcombe/Strathfield/Olympic Park) suburbs, please don’t hesitate to email me.