Did you know that Mozart wrote his first symphony at age eight? Or that Stevie Wonder sang with Motown at the young age of 11? Other child prodigies are Julie Andrews and Frederic Chopin who at age five sang at public concerts and at the young age of seven wrote two piano pieces.
How in the world did kids this young get so good? Wouldn’t it be nice if all our kids were this gifted when it came to music? This is rarely the case.
A good deal of literature suggests, however, that there is a window of opportunity between the ages of birth and age nine where a child is most likely to develop what they call a music sensibility.
Parents often ask what age is a good age for their child to learn a musical instrument. The answers to this question are many and varied and often depends on the age of the child.
Most answers to this question agree on one thing, and that is that a child should start when they are ready. Ah, one of those answers that answers nothing. ‘How do you know your child’ is ready seems to be the more accurate question one should be asking.
One of the main criteria for knowing is the answer to the question of are they physically developed enough to be able to play the instrument.
Depending on the instrument, this could encompass different parts of the body. With string and keyboard instruments their hands will have to be big enough to reach the areas they are required to play.
With brass and wind instruments you need to ask yourself if they are big enough to hold the instrument and are their lungs developed enough to blow into the instrument properly.
Most kids younger than five to seven are too small to learn the piano. Also kids whose teeth are not fully developed should not be learning brass or wind instruments because they can affect the position of their teeth. Some teachers will set the limit on the age of kids they will take.
When a Child is ready for Music Lessons
They want to learn
If a child demonstrates interest in a specific instrument or music in general, this is a good sign that they are ready to learn; without this interest it will be difficult for them.
They will become easily distracted and unwilling to practice. If your child starts playing at your piano or shows interest in some other instrument this is a good sign that they want to learn.
A child must be ready to sit and learn a lesson. They must be able to concentrate, understand the concepts being taught, and understand the importance of practice. This, for some kids will come earlier than for others; the general guidelines for this is age five or six.
As mentioned above the child’s hands and body need to be developed so that they can hold the instrument as well as hit the keys that they need to. A six-year-old is perfectly capable of starting lessons on the piano but not a tenor sax.
It is important that your child not be involved in a lot of other activities so they will have time to practice.
If your child is begging you to play and is telling you over and over that they really want to, then you should probably find some form of instrument they can play.
It is important that you as a parent be ready, too, for your child to take lessons. You must have enough time to help them with their practice, enough money to buy what is needed, enough patience to put up with their not wanting to practice, and all the other things that go along with formal music lessons.
Just remember that you do not need to wait until your child is old enough to take formal lessons to introduce them to music. You can start much earlier by singing to them, playing music for them and taking them to concerts just to name a few.