It’s never too early to expose your child to music. And, chances are, they already enjoy listening and singing along. But, what about formal music instruction? What’s the perfect age to begin lessons? When is it worth it? Is it ever too late? In our 30 years of teaching music to all ages and levels, here is our list of signs and signals that it may be time to consider music lessons:
Expressed Interest. Your child gravitates toward instruments, and tries to play gently rather than banging or handling roughly. Or, perhaps your child has asked specifically for or about lessons, or has a fascination with others who play. You may even notice that they favor the sound of a particular instrument.
Physical Readiness. While physical readiness is helpful toward playing music, a secondary benefit of lessons is that it gives younger students an academic advantage. Music lessons teach mathematical concepts, spatial relations, aural skills, and pre-reading skills (things like ABCs, numbers, high and low sounds, direction and intervals, left and right, counting/rhythm, subdivision of beats).
Mental Readiness. In our teaching experience, if a child loves lessons, focus won’t be an issue. We do find it helpful if younger students can stay on task for intervals of 5 to 10 minutes. However, lengthier focus is something that we gradually and gently work toward as the student progresses.
Always singing. Does your little one love singing? Does he or she have favorite tunes, enjoy watching musicals? Know all the words to songs?
YOU are ready. Learning to play a musical instrument requires practice and consistency between lessons. Your little one doesn’t have to spend hours at a piano, but will need to set aside a few minutes each day to play and review what was done at the lesson. They’ll need you to remind them to practice, encourage them, and be interested in what they’re accomplishing.TRY OUT A COMPLIMENTARY LESSON
Older Beginners (Teens) Is it too late to really learn if you didn’t begin formal lessons by the time you were 5? Absolutely not! Tweens and teens come to the musical table already equipped with great academic insight, and the ability to focus, organize, and set personal goals. Chances are they are already quite musically aware, and interested in particular instruments and styles. Learning to play an instrument during adolescence can boost self-esteem, provide a sense of identity, and help teens learn to take constructive feedback well. In addition, when teens learn to read music, that valuable skill will also look good on college applications and may even help with getting scholarships and grants (If you’re wondering when to start lessons for your teen for college applications, early is best, but even if your teen is entering junior year, being able to list playing an instrument can help round out their extracurricular activities).
Learning as an Adult The benefits of learning an instrument don’t stop in childhood! Regardless of whether or not they’ve had any prior music experience, adults learning to play may find it both relaxing and stimulating. And, although many adults worry they won’t pick up as readily as children -- wisdom goes a long way! Adults learn quickly, understand deeper music theory concepts, practice smarter, and develop a greater sense of music appreciation. If you and your child or grandchild both play instruments, playing a duet is a great way to spend quality time together. There are some long-term perks, too. Playing an instrument keeps your mind active as you age. The breakdown of cognitive function associated with aging can be stalled with tasks that require use of multiple areas of your brain, including those related to interpreting symbols and sounds. According to researchers at Emory University School of Medicine commenting for The Daily Mirror, “some mental activities, such as playing a musical instrument or speaking a second language often, can improve cognitive skills.” Playing piano alone won’t prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s, but it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to keep your mind and body strong.
Try Out A Lesson
A great way to find out if lessons are a good fit is to simply TRY one. We offer a 20-30 minute complimentary, Interactive Try-Out, where your child (or you) can experience what an actual lesson is like. Just click below for the link to our Calendar...and a special offer: