There are many and different benefits to learning music. Benefits include helping to develop discipline, hand-eye coordination, intelligence, and brain training, all while building a skill that can make both the performer and the audience happy. Given that, it’s easy to see why you’d want to sign your child up for piano lessons.
You might be wondering how old my child should be. “What is the best age to start learning music?” you might ask. The answer to this question depends a lot on your child, but there is no wrong time to start playing music.
Here are some tips to assist you in making this selection.
What are the signs that your child is ready to study music?
Even if a child isn’t taking lessons, there are things you can do with them to help them get better at music. Taking lessons at your local music school or just letting them listen to a variety of music and make their own noises and movements to it can help young children and even newborns learn about rhythm, sound, and how everything fits together. If a child under five is interested in the piano, they should be able to explore and learn at their own pace. Toddlers can’t stay focused on one thing for more than three minutes because they are too active and interested. This makes it hard for adults to give them organized instructions.
A child this age who goes to school probably won’t learn much because their brains can’t stay focused for more than 30 minutes. Putting kids in a music program like Kindermusik, Music Together, Musikgarten, or any other preschool music and movement program can help them develop a general interest in music that, ideally, will grow with them.
Even though it’s different for every child, most are ready to start piano lessons between the ages of five and a half and eight. How should you know if your child is ready? Here are three things that can be thought of as requirements for formal education.
Their hand size
Your child’s hand must be big enough for all five fingers to fit easily on five white keys that are next to each other. Some five-year-olds’ fingers are too short to reach the keys. So, before you sign your child up for piano lessons, make sure his or her hands are big enough to use a keyboard.
Freedom of the fingers and coordination
In order to play the piano, your child must be able to move each finger separately from the others. Have your child raise their hand to see if this is true. Ask them to only move one finger, like their left ring finger. If they can consistently move the finger you asked them to move, they have at least the start of the independent finger coordination they need. You can also help kids learn and get better at this skill at home. Play a simple game of “copycat” where you hold out your hands and wiggle one finger for them to do. Just make sure to keep it fun and lighthearted.
A love of music and a desire to learn about it
The most important requirement is that your child wants to learn to play the piano. If your child wants to learn, it will help them get past any problems they might face. If your incentive is based on how much you want them to learn, it will backfire and put you in a power struggle. If your child is interested at first but then insists on not studying, you can take a break for a few months to see if the interest comes back. You don’t want to be so hard on them that they stop wanting to play. A short break might be all they need to rediscover their love of music and motivation to study without getting into a big fight.
Is being able to read important ?
Young children who can’t read yet may find it scary and hard to figure out what the notes on a piece of music mean. This doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for formal music lessons, but it does mean that a different approach is needed. Find a teacher or music school that teaches classes based on the ear instead of taking them to lessons where the teacher uses a book-based method and focuses on sight reading from the start. You won’t have to wait until a child is better at reading before starting to teach them. In an ear-based learning method, reading and writing music come later, when the child is ready for them.
Is there ever a time when it’s too late to begin?
Which I must answer with a resounding NO! As we get older, our brains lose some of their flexibility and speed of learning, but our endurance and willpower tend to get better. Learning the piano as a teenager or adult may take more patience because most teens and adults are used to being good at everything, and it can be hard to be bad at the piano. Keep going is important to remember. There are many reasons to learn how to play the piano.
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