Music is a powerful thing. Turn on a tune and most children will have a natural inclination to dance or sing along, even from an early age. With all of the benefits of learning music, you may be asking, "What's the right age to start private music lessons?"
The "right" age to begin typically depends on the individual child, as things like reading level, attention span and emotional maturity are all factors. However, here are some good guidelines to keep in mind:
Kids under 5 are certainly able to start learning things like rhythm and recognizing sounds, but in most cases are not ready to work with a specific instrument. This is the perfect time for at-home activities that will foster your child's love for music, such as singing songs together, listening to music during other activities, and watching performances.
Most children will be ready to begin music lessons at the age of 5 or 6. At this age, the fine motor skills involved in playing an instrument are usually developed, and students can begin learning how to read and recognize notes on the staff. Piano is one of the most common instruments to begin with at this age, and can pave the way for other instruments as your child progresses.
At the age of 10 and above, most kids are ready to handle just about any instrument. This is also the time they may start band or orchestra programs, if your school offers them, which introduces them to a wide variety of instruments. (Keep in mind that child sizes are available for some instruments, such as guitar and violin, and should be sized appropriately.)
It's never too late to start music lessons! Research has shown many benefits for adults taking lessons, including lower stress levels, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Once you've taken that first step to sign up for lessons, you'll likely notice the benefits immediately–especially if your goal is just to have fun and learn a new activity!
No matter what your reasons are for taking music lessons, you'll need to figure out the logistics first: the who, when, where and why! Here are 4 questions to consider as you start the process:
Do you want to grace the stage at Carnegie Hall someday, or are you just taking music lessons to have fun and learn something new? Whatever your goals may be, recognizing them is the first step to success. The more specific you can get with your instructor, the better equipped he or she will be to help you stay on track and reach those goals.
Learning a new skill takes time. Take an honest look at your schedule and make sure you can set aside time for both consistent lessons and practicing on your own. This also includes the time of day that you select for your lessons.
Selecting a teacher who understands your learning style is important, so take some time to think about how you work best. Do you or does your child need an instructor who will provide critical feedback and be a bit strict? Do you learn best after you've reviewed the theory behind a concept? Are you hoping to learn a specific technique or genre? These are all good things to think about.
There are a few things to consider when choosing between 30-, 45- or 60-minute lessons. First and foremost, take your age and experience level into consideration. You'll also want to think about your long- and short-term goals, and the time you'll need to reach them. Most importantly, consider how long you or your child is able to stay focused.
First lesson jitters? Completely normal! No matter if you're 8 or 80, the idea of starting something new can be intimidating. You might be feeling a fear of being judged, or even a fear of failure. Here are some general first-lesson guidelines to get you prepared:
You'll need to bring your instrument, and it's a good idea to bring any accessories you've already purchased, such as a guitar strap, extra reeds, tuner or metronome. If you aren't comfortable using these tools yet, this is a great opportunity for you to learn from an expert. For voice lessons, bring a bottle of water. A recording device can also be very helpful.
Every teacher is different, but most first lessons begin with an assessment of where you are in your studies. At a beginner level, you might review the basics of your instrument, such as the different parts, how to hold it correctly, and proper care and maintenance. For voice, this may be the time you learn about breathing and posture.
After booking lessons with us, you'll have access to your teacher's profile, which includes a picture, and information about their teaching style and background; some instructors also upload videos or audio files. Sit down with your child and look at the pictures - sometimes just knowing what their teacher looks like will help with some of the nervousness. It's also important to talk about your expectations for the lessons at this time.
Talk to your child after the first lesson to find out what they thought of the experience and their teacher. Nervous beginnings are normal, but if your child doesn't like specific things about their teacher that you feel will impact their comfort level or overall success, it's completely OK to try out a different teacher. If you anticipate an issue – for example, your teacher isn't equipped to handle your rambunctious 5-year-old, it's much better in the long run to switch sooner rather than later.