At one time or another, most parents consider music lessons for their children. For young children piano lessons are probably the most popular choice, with violin lessons running a close second. Older children may become more interested in other instruments, especially guitar, or band instruments like the saxophone, and flute.
Children can start piano lessons as early as age five. Depending on their temperament, a twenty-minute private lesson is probably a good length to begin with. As an alternative, you may consider group lessons. They may provide the variety needed to sustain a child’s attention for longer periods, but their development may not be as fast.
Parents without musical backgrounds are often amazed at what a studious child can accomplish and play at a young age. A quick internet search of young musicians presents what seems to be a never ending stream of child prodigies on online video sites. As a professional music instructor, I see these talented children as more of a testament of what all children are capable of, rather than any particular show of genius. Children are amazing learners. They can learn to read, do math, play sports and play a musical instrument like the piano.
The piano is particularly suited to young children because it is the only musical instrument that they do not have to hold. They merely have to sit at it. In addition, the large keys give them a great deal of playing surface for their fingers to push down on. A final major advantage is that students do not have to worry about playing in tune, like they would with string and wind instruments. All they have to do is press a set of keys in a particular order and they get results. Compare this to the violin student, who may spend their first year of lessons simply learning how to hold the instrument correctly, and mimic a bowing motion. It takes years of practice to simply get a reasonable sound on that instrument. That is why its important for violinists to start at a young age. Its only a four or five year old that will accept that kind of learning curve.
Many parents considering piano lessons for their children adopt a ‘lets try and see’ attitude. They want to let the child decide whether or not music lessons are a good fit. Although I respect and understand this approach, I would suggest that it is not necessarily the best one for a child’s success with music lessons. In practice, this approach can play out in having a substandard instrument for the child to learn on, an irregular practice schedule, and regularly missed lessons.
I would instead suggest that parents consider whether they feel music studies are important to them for their child’s development. If the answer is yes, make a true commitment to the lessons as part of the child’s education. Buy or rent a quality piano for them to learn on. View the lesson and their practice schedule as an extension of their school work. Make a commitment to a regular practice schedule, have the child take part in school recitals, and have them regularly attend their lessons. There will be times when the child complains, just as they will complain about doing their math homework. But the payoff in the long term will be worth it. On a year to year basis, take the time to review if you want your children to continue with music lessons.
The amount of quality teaching material and availability of instructors for piano students is vast. Consider becoming part of your child’s musical education by taking piano lessons as well. Online piano courses and other materials are a great way for parents to develop some rudimentary keyboard skills. You then have the opportunity to help your child with their piano lessons, especially during practice time when they will need it the most. This is especially true in their first year or two of lessons, while they are developing their basic understanding of the instrument.
If you have enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about playing the piano, make sure you sign up to my FREE newsletter in which you’ll receive regular professional tips and advice, the sort of stuff I usually only give to my private students. You’ll also get a FREE copy of my brand new ebook ‘Let’s Play Piano’ which I normally sell for $25, so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity if you’re serious about learning to play the piano.
Just enter you details in the box at the top left of this page, or CLICK HERE for more details.