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#945317 - 03/08/06 10:34 AM At what age to start piano lessons
patlou Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/06
Posts: 39
Loc: Québec, Canada
I have three children: 5, 4 and 2 years old. I would like my kids to take piano lessons and I wonder if my older daughter (5 years old) is old enough I start piano lessons. My piano teacher gave me a partition (method suzuki) for her but I think it would be better if teaching came from someone else that me. \:\)

What do you think about that ?
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♪ Louise ♪

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#945318 - 03/08/06 12:47 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
Hobie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 475
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Louise

I recommend starting kids at age 6. This way the have the beginning reading skills going, they have a better attention span, and progress goes quickly. If you choose to start younger kids I would do lots of rhythmic movements, clapping, singing, etc. You could show them the names of the white keys, get the basics of counting quarter notes and 1/2 notes, that type of thing. There are coloring books for coloring in piano keys and concepts for younger kids. There are also programs like Musik Garden and Music Together that work with little kids and parents doing the preliminary stuff I mentioned. Hope this helps!
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#945319 - 03/08/06 01:04 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
patlou Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/06
Posts: 39
Loc: Québec, Canada
Thank you very much ! I think clapping is a good idea and I will look for the programs you mention.

\:\)
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♪ Louise ♪

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#945320 - 03/09/06 09:40 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
nuteachr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/05
Posts: 166
Loc: Michigan
Patlou,

Honestly, I believe that children are capable of beginning piano if they know their ABC's, colors and can count to Ten. This could potentially be at age 4. I believe that most of American society GREATLY under estimates young children and their capabilities. Concepts such as keeping a steady beat and learning musical pitch is developmentally possible and realistic to expect. I would suggest someone other than you to teach your 5 year old. I also know of a wonderful pre-K piano method- Music For Little Mozarts. This method incorporates aspects suited toward many learning styles: kinesthetic (movement), rote teaching, singing Sol-Fa and folk songs as well as a lot of coloring to concretely and visually associate and learn abstract musical symbols and concepts. Depending on the student, this method may move too quickly...it just depends on the individual.

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#945321 - 03/11/06 09:43 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
humeister Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/05
Posts: 22
Loc: Sydney, Australia
9 for boys,

7 for girls,

if both parents have a musical background, then you can start them earlier, the most important thing is, kids need to be exposed to music BEFORE taking lessons.

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#945322 - 03/11/06 10:23 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
bethann Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 13
Loc: Nebraska
I use Music for Little Mozarts (published by Alfred) and do partner lessons for four and five years old (up to first grade.) Our lessons are one half hour, and we spend about 10-15 minutes of that actually at the piano. The rest is filled with large motor activities, rhythm work, coloring (in the accompanying workbook) and music appreciation. I am amazed at the progress these students are making, and I think they will really have an advantage when starting private lessons...

which I start at age 7, or First Grade.

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#945323 - 03/13/06 08:45 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Children are different and families are different. Hard and fast rules don't take these differences into account. While I would agree that nine isn't a bad age for a boy to start, I sure am glad young Claudio Arrau's mom didn't think that way ;\)

I wanted to start my son at age seven or earlier. He was reading at five so that wasn't an issue. I'm a pianist and could teach him many things myself, but didn't want to be his primary teacher. The issue with him was bounciness and focus. That didn't come together until he was eight. So that's when he started formal lessons.

A quieter, more intense and self-directetd child could start much earlier. Some children are drawn to music in ways that are difficult to explain. That interest can be nurtured regardless of their age.
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#945324 - 03/14/06 05:18 AM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I agree with Piano Dad. My own experience as a child very much guided my approach as a father. I was forced into lessons very early and disliked it - it did not nurture a love of music and it took me ages to recover from this.

The absolutely key thing in my view is that your child MUST be motivated to do it. My little boy wanted a guitar when he was six (he saw me play on stage quite a bit) but was shocked that he could not play it straight away. He then had guitar lessons at school but dropped it quite quickly (hopeless teacher though!)

He has been exposed to me playing classical piano a lot lately but has never really shown interest himself.

Then all of a sudden aged 8 1/2 he picked up one of my electric guitars (rather than his child sized one) and demanded to be taught "Smoke on the Water". To my surprise he got it straight away and has been practicing guitar whenever he can ever since. He has no issues with having an audience and passes on tips to people (it is hilarious to hear my own voice coming out from him : "let those notes ring out!".)

At the same time he suddenly decided he wanted to learn violin. Luckily his school is incredibly musical and the director of music is a superb violinist. My son is now very enthused by violin too.

My approach was to be patient and not overly encourage him to play until he was ready. But he was exposed to all kinds of music (classical, rock, folk, film. pop etc). If children are going to make the jump into being a musician, then unless they have obvious precocious talent then I feel they are best allowed to do so in their own time.

They need to find their instrument (and this can change) too.

I am sure other parents have different experiences.

Kind regards

Adrian
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#945325 - 03/14/06 08:23 PM Re: At what age to start piano lessons
kwoksmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 169
Loc: California
My son started at 3 and half at a class similar to what Bethann described above - group piano with various fun activities. After a year, we switched him to private piano with a very gentle teacher but he didn't exercise any discipline and half the time, my son was as much under the piano bench as he was on it! But he was 4.5 years old. I shopped around and finally found a teacher who both loved children, and a terrific musician and he's been with her since.

But in retrospect, I think that's maybe too young. While his brain was ready, his motor skills were not, and there is no way to push that development. So there were many hours of frustration trying to get the finger to things at 4.5 years which he wasn't ready to do!

My friend's son started at 7, and he progressed very quickly, and I felt with less motor skills frustration. I'm not clear I had gained much by starting my son so early. The only advantage, is perhaps that he's not afraid of memorizing anything because he's been doing that since his first year of piano lessons so it's like second nature to him.

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