Ask any musician when to start piano lessons, and you’re likely to hear something along the lines of “right now!” Learning to play the piano improves dexterity, relieves stress, and improves your brain’s power and elasticity throughout your life. Whether you start at 4, 14, or 64, there’s plenty to learn and love about playing piano, but some benefits are of greater interest to different age groups.
If you’re a mom hoping that your child will be the next Mozart, a teen looking to broaden your interests, or a retiree looking for a leisure activity that will keep your mind active and your hands supple, piano lessons offer a lifetime of personal growth and fun. So if you’re wondering when to start piano lessons, there’s no wrong time!
Preschool and Elementary School Years
For kids ages four and up, piano lessons can help develop fine motor skills, the ability to focus, and may even make kids smarter. Children learn to interpret symbols quickly as they learn to read music. With practice, children also develop discipline and reap its rewards. If your youngster is learning to play piano, record them regularly, so you can compare their early efforts to later successes. The tunes they swore were too difficult in week two may be conquered by week ten – and that’s worth celebrating!
Tweens and Teens: Learning Piano for Adolescents
Tweens and teens gain these same benefits when they learn piano, as well as others that are crucial during adolescence. Learning to play piano can boost self-esteem and help teens learn to take constructive feedback well. When teens learn piano, 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 piano lessons for your teen for college applications, early is best, but even if your teen is entering junior year, being able to list piano playing can help round out your teen’s extracurricular activities.
If your teenager started learning at a young age, now is the time when they might be able to be able to teach younger students or even get their first gigs as a paid musician. Teenagers learning piano also have the advantage of being able to learn longer pieces, and being able to play the top 40 tunes might help them impress their friends. As adolescents experience growth spurts and the clumsiness associated with rapid growth, the fine motor skills that playing piano helps develop will give your tween or teen something to feel in control of.
Learning Piano as an Adult
The benefits of learning piano don’t stop in childhood. Adults learning to play piano may find it both relaxing and stimulating. Once you get past the initial learning curve, the stresses of your day will melt away as you focus on learning new tunes or practicing favorite ones. And if you and your child both play piano, playing a duet is a great way to spend quality time together!
The Golden Years
The benefits of playing piano through adulthood into your golden years are clear. Playing piano will keep your hands limber, which can reduce the severity of arthritis in the hands. Your dexterity as you age will become a major factor in your ability to live independently as you grow older, and learning to play piano will help you stay strong and agile. If you’re wondering when to start piano lessons to reap these benefits, the answer is any time — many seniors start taking piano lessons and notice the benefits almost immediately.
Playing piano will also keep 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.
Learning to play piano has benefits for the whole family. Kids starting school will exercise their ability to interpret symbols and develop discipline. Teenagers will gain confidence and improve their standing with college admissions officers. Adults will see stress melt away at the keyboard, and remain active into their golden years. Learning to play piano together will help you bond as a family, and you’ll support each other’s endeavors. You may look at your family and wonder when to start piano lessons… the answer is today!
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito