January 8, 2020

When Should Children Start Piano Lessons

Tomoko asserts, “You can start learning how to play the piano at any age.” However, starting piano lessons too early can be a waste of money. Here are some guidelines.

First, the child should WANT to learn how to play. If there is a piano or electric keyboard around, does the child show interest and gravitate to it? Pushing a reluctant child into piano lessons invites frustration and family fights. 

Is the child emotionally ready? Can the child follow directions? Is the child willing to accept instruction – and criticism? Does the child have a long enough attention span to sit still, practice and persevere?

Is the child physically ready? Can the child place his hands parallel to the ground when seated so he doesn’t have to strain when reaching the piano? Does the child have enough finder strength to press the piano keys down effectively? (A good way to tell is if the child can hold onto objects without dropping them.) Does the child have sufficient fine motor skills; for instance, can he color within a picture’s lines and draw letters accurately? Does the child have enough stamina to last through a 20-minute lesson without getting tired? 

Is the child cognitively ready? Can the child tell between her left and right hand? Can the child count? Does the child know the alphabet? Can the child learn how to read notes?

AND are the parents ready to encourage and support the child? 

Even if children aren’t ready to take piano lessons, they can still be encouraged to become familiar with the piano. They can explore how sounds are made on the piano. They can discover the relationship between the sequence of the keys and the associated pitch from low to high. They can watch people play the piano, and enjoy the music that is created. The piano player can also point out how a piano score notes correspond to the keys, just as letter shapes correspond to sounds (generally). 

Just as there is reading readiness, there is musical reading and performance readiness. And a lifetime of learning and enjoyment.

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