When should my child start music lessons? Is one of the questions I am asked a lot. The real answer is…When he is ready. I know that may seem like a lame answer but I am going to give you a readiness list so don’t worry.
Children should have their first musical experiences while they are still in the womb and they should continue throughout their lives. Children learn a lot about music by experiencing it at home. Having music playing in the background while they are playing with their toys, singing with you in the car and banging on pots and pans are all important musical milestones in a child’s life. I had one 10 yr old voice student who I first honestly thought she may have a hearing problem, never had I worked with someone who had so much trouble matching pitches. I did some research before approaching the parents and the next week I asked the mother if she played music in the house when her daughter was young, the radio, cds? The mom said “No”. This girl, had missed out on some basic musical neural connections that are made when young children experience music. We had a lot of re-training to do to teach her brain how to listen and respond to music.
Informal music lessons like those offered by Music Together where children from birth-preschool experience music and movement classes with their parents. It is a wonderful informal, non-threatening music program. I start children as young as age 4 in formal music lessons on piano; though I would rather start them at age 8-10. The important this is are you and your child ready for formal music training?
Can your child:
- recognize the capital letters A-G?
- recognize the numbers 1-4?
- know their left from their right?
- sit and focus on one activity for at least 15 minutes at a time?
Does you child show an interest in music and playing an instrument?
Do you have the time to sit with your young child (ages 4-8) every day while they practice?
Do you have time to commit to a weekly lesson?
Do you have the finances to commit to lessons, books and a musical instrument?
If you said yes to all of the above then your child may be ready for formal music instruction. I recommend all children start with piano as their first instrument because almost everything you learn on piano is transferable to other instruments but the reciprocal is not always true. Your next step is finding the right teacher and I’ll cover that next week.
Please feel free to leave me questions or comments. I love comments.