Is My Child “Ready” for Piano Lessons?

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I frequently get asked “How do I know if my child is ready to take piano lessons?” While some children can start reading at 3, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the emotional/social development necessary to start classes. I know some piano teachers wait until children are reading fluently, but our teachers at My Little Conservatory can start lessons with children as young as 4 years old. That’s because we are specialize in early childhood music and have developed tricks and techniques that are age appropriate, educational and fun. But there are a few things we want to see your child be able to do so they can have a successful start. Here are the some questions to ask yourself about your child to see if they’re ready for piano lessons:

  1. Can your child identify their numbers 1-5 and letters A-G?
    Being able to point out numbers and letters correctly means that they have they’ve reached the stage of brain development where they will be able to learn piano. And every child is unique, so they may reach this stage sooner or later than their peers. You don’t need your child to know all their numbers and letters, just the ones that they will use to understand notes, finger numbers, and beats. If your child can easily count and consistently point out numbers to 5 and say and consistently identify the letters A-G, they’re ready to learn the names of notes and the correct fingers to use while playing. But there’s more than just “book smarts” that go into taking lessons.

    2. Will your child talk and interact with the teacher?
    Our way of teaching piano is very interactive. And because of that you’ll want your child to be at a stage in their development where they are comfortable talking with an adult outside their family and following instructions. Many times, this ability comes when a child is ready for preschool or has been in a preschool or daycare environment from a very young age. We understand that a child may need time to warm up to a person, but through our play curriculum we are able to build a rapport with some of the shyest students and get them comfortable with their lessons and teacher.
  1. Can your child participate and try new things that the teacher asks?
    All children are naturally curious. But having been in education for a long time, I know that not all children are gung-ho learners or they just need to get used to new environments. So we look for our students to be open to new experiences and not skeptical that they might like it. We also want students to want to try out new activities. Younger students may feel shy about trying out new activities or not want to do them for various reasons. But as they get older, they’re more open to trying new things during their lesson.

Each child reaches the above milestones in their development at different times, so that’s the reason why we don’t put a hard and fast rule on how old they need to be to start lessons. They can be as young as 4, or older. It’ll all depends on when the individual child is ready. But don’t fret, they will get there. And the worse thing that we can do is start lessons when they’re not ready and they learn to not like them before they can even really try.  We want to make sure that this is a fun and rewarding experience for them.

But I have one more question you should ask yourself as a parent/caregiver, “Am I ready for my child to start piano lessons?” Are you ready to devote time during the week between lessons to practice?  Because your child is young, you will need to help them with reading instructions, playing the piano, reviewing flashcards and making sure they’re doing the workbook activities. If you don’t know how to play the piano yourself, you can use this as a way to learn alongside your child. While practicing doesn’t take up a lot of time, you as a parent/caregiver will need to commit to practicing with your child so that they have the most success. And when your child feels successful, they will want to learn more.

So if you feel that the answer to the question “Is my child ready for piano lessons” is a “yes,” then please sign up for a free piano assessment and info session. We’ll be more than happy to talk with you and your child about starting piano lessons.

Written by Amelia Vitarelli, owner and educator of My Little Conservatory in San Jose, CA. Amelia has been enriching the lives of children in Silicon Valley for over 20 years.