Music lessons can be very enjoyable and beneficial for a young child. However, there are a number of concerns parents express when they begin to contemplate providing music lessons. When should a child start lessons? Why should they take them? How do I go about deciding what instrument they should play? How can a find a music teacher? These are all valid concerns, and we will address them and provide answers in this two-part article.
A common question parents have is when they should enroll their children in formal music lessons. Here are some guidelines to determine if and when your child is ready.
Children can start music lessons as young as 3. There are some ways to determine if your child is ready.
Does your child show interest in music? Do they spontaneously break into song, or turn any pot and pan, and even the silverware into music makers?
If they seem to have an interest in music, talk to them about what lessons are and their remaining involved, as well as their responsibility for practicing.
Don’t rush into anything. If your child is resistant to the idea of music lessons, it is best to wait. Also, you know your child well enough to know their level of responsibility, interest, and whether or not they are likely to stick to it.
If you just can’t wait, you can begin as young as two and a half teaching a love of music and a desire to make it. Provide simple musical toys and instrument like keyboards. Take them to hear live music. If someone in your family plays, have them play for your child.
The magic number is about three and one half years old. Concentration for most children begins to be longer. If you child stays engaged with a toy for more than fifteen minutes, they are probably ready.
The best classes for very young children are group classes. If you can’t find one in your area, consider talking to parents of other preschoolers to create your own group. Children this age are social and they will look forward to lessons that resemble a playgroup.
Set up opportunities for your preschooler to perform. Holidays are especially good times for this. You can also have a family and friend recital with refreshments after the performances. The attention they receive will encourage continual practice and participation.
Children 6 and older are ready to learn to read and play music. Usually, school bands and orchestras are available for those ten and older. However, it is never too late to start. The private school my children attended required all children participate in band. My daughter started there in tenth grade and was playing the flute well enough she didn’t hit any wrong notes within a year.
There are neurological benefits to music training when a child is very young and the brain is forming. Music stimulates brain development and fosters creativity. Music lessons are beneficial to the academic and emotional well-being of your child. Research has shown the overall benefits of music instruction include:
Although children of any age can participate in musical expression, it is best to wait for formal lessons until your child has the attention span, maturity, and ability to be successful. There are many benefits derived from music lessons – educational, physical, emotional, and mental. Once you make the decision to offer lessons to your child, you will need to make some specific decisions concerning the choice of an instrument and the method of instruction. We will cover those areas in our next article.