HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG? STARTING MUSIC LESSONS AT THE RIGHT AGE

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Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing.   For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year or two to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines I have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.3 – 4 Years OldImage
If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, a group preschool music class will give them a good foundation in music basics which will be helpful in later private lessons. At this age, private lessons generally do not work as the child has not yet experienced the formal learning environment of kindergarten or school and learns more effectively through the music & movement oriented preschool environment.5 – 7 Years OldImage
A child who enjoys going to the piano and indicates a strong interest in playing the piano (or any other instrument) may still not be ready for private lessons.  In addition to interest, a child must be ready to accept the rules, guidelines and suggestions of the teacher.  Will the child still be interested and not frustrated when the teacher asks the child to play a certain way, or hold his hand in a certain position? Additional considerations include fine motor control as well as the maturity and attention span necessary for daily, individual practice.  Will the child happily focus for 30 minutes on a series of directed tasks? A child with a strong foundation in movement, vocal development, and listening is more likely to be successful and remain motivated than a child without.  Consideration needs to be given to the importance of skill building and motivation over a long period of time rather than how early ones starts.  Most importantly that the child enjoys their musical experience!  A Young Child, Kindermusik class is a great alternative for children who are more motivated in a group environment or who might need a transition period into all that taking private lessons entails, ie: daily practice, lengthy focus, fine motor control.  Young Child gives children a strong foundation in note reading and experience with 3 different instruments through musical games and activities in a group atmosphere. Piano/Keyboard
5 is a great age to start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.Guitar – Acoustic, Electric and Bass
7 years old is the recommended starting age for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 7 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older.Voice Lessons
8 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique. For children younger than 8, we have a Young Child Kindermusik class (5-7), and a preschool music class (ages 3-5) that teaches children how to use their voices properly, in a fun, relaxed environment.Drums
The average age of our youngest drum student is 7. This varies greatly depending on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone the size of the instrument), I recommend that most woodwind beginners are 6 and older.Violin
Violin students generally start from the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older. 

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