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At What Age Can Children Start Music Lessons?



Age Can Children Start Music Lessons

Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

When it comes to enrolling children in music lessons, there is no definitive answer as to when they should start. Every child is different, and the appropriate age for a particular child will depend on the individual.

However, many music teachers suggest that children as young as three or four can begin taking music lessons in some form. At this age, it is important to emphasize the fun of learning and not put too much pressure on the student to be technically perfect. Many parents find that a group lesson for kids of similar ages, such as a Pre-K music class, can be beneficial in helping children stay engaged and motivated.

When Can Children Start Learning an Instrument?

Most music teachers recommend that children begin formal music lessons on an instrument around the age of five or six. At this age, children can usually sit still long enough to pay attention and begin developing the fine motor skills needed for playing more complex instruments. However, if your child demonstrates an above-average interest in music or a specific type of music or specific instrument, it may be appropriate to start them earlier than five or six – with parental guidance and enthusiasm.

What is a Good Instrument for a Toddler?

According to the Joe Ferrante Music Academy in Monrovia, CA, “We introduce toddlers to percussive instruments like small tambourines, shakers, beat sticks, hand cymbals, miniature xylophones, and miniature pianos. This introduction to instruments allows them to learn rhythm, coordination, and the fundamentals of music all while being social and having fun.”

Ultimately, the best way to know when your child is ready for music lessons is to watch them closely and listen to their interests. If they seem eager and willing, then you can talk with a qualified music teacher who can help guide you in the right direction.

Around Age Four

Piano and violin (1/8 or 1/4-sized instruments) are typically appropriate for four-year-olds. Kids who are too small to play full-sized violins can start learning on full-sized pianos. They also have the attention span to practice for short periods of time, allowing them to make progress quickly.

The Joe Ferrante Music Academy in Monrovia also suggests that children as young as five can begin taking drum or vocal lessons as well. They say that “voice lessons in particular can be incredibly beneficial for children of any age to learn about vocal technique, proper breathing, and dynamics. It’s never too early to develop the confidence to use one’s voice as an instrument of power.”

Voice and drum lessons may not be taught to five-year-olds in every school, so it’s essential to check with your local music studio. The Joe Ferrante Music Academy is one such studio that offers these lessons to young children, saying “We’re very proud to offer voice and drum lessons to young kids; we know not everyone does but we believe if a student has the ability to sing or play, we should teach them to sing or play to the best of their ability, even at an early age.”

Can a 2-Year-Old Learn Piano?

Age two might be too young to learn the piano, as most music teachers recommend a piano student start around age four. But you can still sign your two-year-old up for general music lessons or a Pre-K music program if that is available in your area. They will learn general concepts of pitch and rhythm, and of course, learn to appreciate and have fun learning music.

What is a Good Instrument for an Older Child?

Around Age Six

Guitars (1/2 or 3/4-sized guitars) or drums are popular choices at this age. They do require more physical coordination, finger strength, and accommodation than small violins, pianos, or percussion instruments, so it’s best to wait until age six to start guitar.

Six years old is also a good age to start voice lessons too.

Around Age Nine

At this age, children can start to learn full-sized instruments and wind instruments like flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone. If they start general music lessons or another instrument early on, they will come in with an understanding of reading music and music theory which will help them progress faster.

How to Decide

By following the age-appropriate guidelines mentioned earlier, you can more confidently select an instrument or lesson type for your child’s first music classes. Remember that they can always switch instruments in the future, retaining the valuable musical knowledge acquired from their previous lessons and/or previous instruments.

Another major factor in deciding when and on which instrument to start music lessons will be the child’s interest. If they are enthusiastic about learning, then it will be easier to motivate them and help them progress.

A local music academy or online teacher can help you find the right instrument for your child to ensure a positive and successful learning experience.

Joe Ferrante established The Joe Ferrante Music Academy in Monrovia, CA in 2003. He graduated from USC with a focus on Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television. His training includes extensive study of Concert Piano in New York and France under renowned mentors such as Jeaneane Dowis-Lipman, formerly of the Juilliard School and Manhattan's Mannes College of Music. Joe has composed, conducted, and recorded seven original film scores for professional symphony orchestras at Paramount Pictures. Currently, he is crafting his second solo album featuring his own original compositions.

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