Ok. So your child is now starting to express a clear interest in music and musical instruments. But…are they too young to play or get lessons? Is there a right age? What exactly is a piano lesson?
This question is actually much more complex due to the complex nature of music itself. So before you ask what age is right for your child, first ask yourself why you want your child to learn piano. Perhaps you recently learned about the incredible benefits it provides such as improved social skills, confidence, reading and math skills, and countless others. Or maybe you played an instrument as a child and remember the joy (or fear) it brought you when you were a kid, so now you want the same for your child. Or maybe you’re hoping your child is the next Mozart that will dazzle people away.
Those are all valid reasons and I do not believe there are wrong reasons for wanting to get your child to learn piano. But before you do, think about this. Music is a sensitive subject to all of us. It is our safe place. We feel we can be ourselves around music. Use yourself as an example. How do you use music? Maybe you play an instrument yourself. Maybe you love to sing in the shower or while driving to get your day going. Or perhaps you use music to energize you during gym classes. Whatever it is, you are aware of the power music can have on you.
So why would your child be any different. From the day they are born, and even while inside the stomach, we surround our children with music. We comfort them with a lullaby to help them fall asleep. We dance with them to show them the fun in moving our bodies and being in rhythm. And educational programs use songs to help your child learn. It is easy to see why kids love music. Music is one of the happiest things for children, which is why we are extremely cautious about any explicit music.
WITH THAT BEING SAID…
The most common mistakes parents make when starting their children with piano or any instrument is not starting them at the wrong age. It is starting them with the wrong intentions. If your hopes are on your child being an instant phenomenon, age will not matter. As soon as your child starts to feel discouragement, either from a parent or teacher, they will lose interest and confidence quite fast.
SO THE ANSWER IS…
There is no such thing as a right or wrong age. What matters more is finding a teacher or program (such as my online preschool piano course) that focuses on making piano an enjoyable experience, while still taking it serious to develop their skills and understanding of music as a whole. If your child is less than 1 years old, then sure, they are probably too young because they physically lack the motor skills to move their fingers and hands on command. But even then, I once taught a child who was 18 months old. Did I try and teach him the note names? Of course not. In our time together, I would play his favorite songs for him and just encourage him to play some keys with me. I showed him how we can play the high notes and the low notes. And he enjoyed every moment of it.
TO WRAP IT ALL UP…
No matter what age you decide to get your child started with piano lessons, encourage them throughout the process. It will be tough. They will face challenges and obstacles. But with your encouragement, I guarantee you they will enjoy every moment! Take lessons yourself if you have too or when your child completes a lesson, ask them to show you what they learned today. Those small moments of caring can make a world of a difference to your child!
IMPORTANT! ONE LAST WORD
If your child is truly not enjoying their lessons, do not force them to play. Do not tell them they will regret it when they are older or try to explain to them how it will help their future. I promise, they will not understand. If you don’t believe me, try and explain all the nutritional benefits of brussels sprouts to your child and see if they will prefer that over a cookie. If your child happens to like brussels sprouts, I’m sure you can find another example. Maybe try a few other instruments. Otherwise, wait a year or two and try again.
If you have any questions about any of this or anything piano related, please feel free to reach out to me!