Music

Is Your Child Ready for Music Lessons?

While we may have started piano lessons in late elementary school, kids now toddle up to the piano bench for lessons when they are still in preschool. When is the right age for music lessons and are condemning your child to a lifetime of musical mediocrity if you start too late?

by Stacey Schifferdecker

young girl playing saxaphoneChildhood moves at a much faster pace now than it did when we were kids, and music lessons are just one example. While we may have started piano lessons in late elementary school, kids now toddle up to the piano bench for lessons when they are still in preschool. When is the right age for music lessons and are condemning your child to a lifetime of musical mediocrity if you start too late?

Actually, there is no right and perfect age when children should start music lessons. One child might be ready at five, and another child not until 11. Instead of looking at your child’s age, you need to look at his physical development and mental development.
 
Physical Development

Your child needs to have developed certain gross and fine motor skills, depending on what instrument he is playing. In fact, your child’s age and physical development play a big role in instrument choice. For children younger than age 10, the only real choices are piano and violin (because violins come in smaller sizes for younger children). Woodwinds (clarinet, saxophone) and brass instruments (trumpet, trombone, tuba) are not sized down for smaller children, so most children under 10 years old will not physically be able to play these instruments.
 
Another aspect of physical development is a sense of tone and rhythm. Many children don’t develop a consistent sense of tone and rhythm until they are six or seven years old.
 
Mental Development
Many private music teachers prefer that their music students be able to read before beginning lessons, so that they are more able to practice independently at home.
 

In addition, your child must be able to

  • Understand and follow directions
  • Focus on a particular subject for a given time period
  • Practice regularly

Finally, it helps if your child is really interested in taking music lessons.

Other alternatives
If you decide your child isn’t ready for private music lessons yet, there are plenty of other ways to introduce him to the joy of music:

  • Attend a concert together and point out the different varieties of instruments and what sounds they make. Children are more likely to stick with and practice an instrument if they like its sound.
  • Look into group musical activities, such as a “Mommy and Me” music class or a local church choir.
  • Listen to lots of different types of music together. Dance and move your bodies to the music.
  • Play rhythm games.
  • Make music together. Sing simple songs, bang on pans, or make shakers out of plastic eggs filled with beans or popcorn kernels.

There is no harm in waiting until your child is developmentally ready for music lessons. Beginning a child on a musical instrument in preschool does not ensure that he will grow up to be a gifted adult musician. In fact, starting children too early or pushing them too quickly is just frustrating for the child and can make him hate both music and music lessons.

Biography
Stacey Schifferdecker is the happy but harried mother of three school-aged children—two boys and a girl. She is also a freelance writer, a Children’s Minister, a PTA volunteer, and a Scout leader. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French and a Master’s degree in English. She has written extensively about parenting and education as well as business, technology, travel, and hobbies.  

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2007 All Rights Reserved

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share This!
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pintrest
Share on stumbleupon
Share on reddit

About the author

More4kids

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Kids Magazines

The Gift of Reading.
Read our Children's Magazine Reviews:
Best Kids Magazines
Best Teen Magazines
Best Parenting Magazines

Categories