What age should begin piano lessons?

By: Sarah Hulin


In teaching music lessons over the years, a common question that parents have asked is:

“At what age is should I started my child’s piano lessons?”  We’ve all heard of both child

prodigies and great musician that began music lessons at amazingly young ages. 

When is it right to get your child into piano?


 

   My opinion is that the earlier the better!  At age three it would seem that children’s music sponge is possibly most “thirsty”.  While lessons for young children shouldn’t last longer than about 15 minutes, laying a solid musical foundation at an early age is ideal.

   The younger the music student, the more involved the parent should be (in lessons and during practice time) for success.  Although parents should be involved all the way through for success, by age 8 students can be more independent in their practicing.

   There are multiple things that the parent can do on their own before putting their child in lessons:

1.  Play lots of classical music in the home and attend concerts when possible. 

While listening to music such as Bach's Violin Sonatas or Partitas, Chopin’s Etudes, Mozart's The Magic Flute, or Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, talk about it, clap it or march to the beat, etc.  Talk with your child about what parts they like or don’t like and why.  When hearing symphonies, talk about the various instruments and what instrument family each is from.  You don’t have to own many CDs to do this, you can tune into your local classical radio station to enjoy.

2.  Work on number, letter, color and shape recognition. 

Knowing their alphabet (at least A-G) and numbers (1-5) is important.  Tracking ability is also key.  It isn't necessary for a child to read fluently to begin studying piano.

3.  Count together aloud and learn to keep a steady beat.


4.  Complete basic exercises along the lines of "which picture is different?"

Playing the piano and reading music is all about identifying patterns, starting with the groups of two and three black keys on the piano. If you already have a keyboard in your home, ask your child to find the groups of two black keys by covering them with a card.

5.  Learn to sit and quietly and attentively listen to an entire picture book.  Develop a good attention span.


6.  Do activities that require following your directions.  Develop listening skills and also obedience.

7.  Teach the child to distinguish the difference between loud and soft, fast and slow, high and low.

8. Encourage activities that use fine motor skills. 

Activities such as drawing, writing, painting, cutting with scissors, using clothespins, lacing cards, play-doh, and beading.

8. Teach basic music terms using flashcards (treble clef, bass clef, forte, piano)

9.  Encourage singing, matching notes, carrying a tune, singing rounds/canons.

10. Try to sound out on the piano simple songs and tunes. 

You can start out by having your child close their eyes while you play a note a piano then have them try to find it add to this by having them find several notes or learn to name the interval (the distance between two notes).

         Every teacher probably has their own theory on this topic but this is just my .02.  Myself, if I were a parent, I would do the above things with my young child and wouldn’t begin private piano lessons until my child was five or six.



Copyright © 2010  Sarah Hulin



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