Do you have a little one who seems to respond to music? Maybe your baby’s face just lights up when you sing to him or her. Maybe your two-year-old is already singing along with you in the car or clapping and dancing to the beat. Maybe your three-year-old’s favorite toys are the percussion instruments and piano in your home.
Eager parents are always asking me, “When can my child start music lessons?” Many are wanting to begin a child’s musical training and education as soon as possible. I love this enthusiasm to want to nurture a love of music in a child from the beginning. The majority of parents ask about piano lessons, but we also get requests for voice, drums, and string lessons as well. So here are some realistic expectations as far as an early childhood music career is concerned…
For now, let’s use piano as an example, since piano is the best instrument for a solid base in music education. Four years old is typically the “golden age” for any child to begin formal piano lessons, (FYI- percussion and violin as well!). At four, a child typically has learned their letters, can sit through a half hour lesson, and has developed the motor skills involved in playing the instrument. Many parents of three-year-olds will come to me and say, “My child meets all these criteria. Can we start lessons?” And my answer is always, “Well, let’s give it a try!” There is no harm in scheduling a few trial lessons to see how your little one responds. Sometimes they do great, and lessons can always be customized.
If your little one loves music, but formal lessons are a bit too much for their developmental age, then I always suggest Mommy and Me group classes. They are typically really well structured and will feel more like a play date than a lesson. Your child will be introduced to all types of music and all the various instruments. They will also learn basic music skills such a rhythm and pitch matching while nurturing a positive association with music through fun and playing! Mommy and Me classes can start as early as 6 months old.
Kelsey Yantzer, voice and piano teacher, BSM