Ah, music. There are numerous studies that prove the benefits of music to humans; both young and old.
In one study conducted by Northwestern University, it was found that young children who are actively engaging in music－either by playing an instrument or even by just reciting and singing along－have improved cognitive function. In layman's terms, music improves brain health in children.
So, does that mean you should engage your toddler in piano lessons so that he or she can reap the benefits as early as possible?
The study emphasized the need for the child to actually like the subject matter. If he or she prefers to remain passive or doodle in music class, benefits will not be reaped.
When to Bring in the Angel of Music
You might ask: when to start piano lessons then? Truthfully, it really depends on the child. Some three-year-olds can handle fumbling around with the keys using their tiny fingers. There are also others who cannot bear them until they turn eight.
To know if your child is ready to learn the piano, ask these questions:
1. Does my child want it?
Before anything else, it is essential that your child wants to learn the piano or study music in general. Forcing him or her to do something he or she may not like would only be a waste of time, money, and effort.
The good news is that you can convince your child to study piano by making an example in your home. Some kids get enthusiastic about learning the piano if they observe their older siblings or
their parents doing AND enjoying it.
The key is to make music a fun and enjoyable activity to spend time on.
2. Can my child handle being focused for a reasonable amount of time?
Piano lessons may mean sitting down for the duration of the meeting which is usually around 30-45 minutes. Most kids, especially at the three- to five-year-old bracket, cannot even handle
staying still for three minutes, let alone thirty!
Because of this, some piano teachers recommend starting piano lessons at the age of six. By this time, your child has already experienced being in a classroom environment, with a teacher discussing a subject matter and him or her listening.
But then again, if you can train your three- or four-year-old child to be able to listen even for just 20 minutes, then he or she might be able to handle sitting still to learn music.
3. Can it fit in my child’s schedule?
Let’s admit. As parents, we want our children to be accomplished in as many fields as possible. However, cramming in piano lessons on top of your kid’s schoolwork, private tutor lessons, and soccer practice is too much for him or her.
Learning an instrument takes time and commitment just like any other field. If you honestly believe that your child may not be able to focus on it at this time, then you must postpone it for now.
However, if your child wants to start taking piano lessons even though he or she has a lot on his or her plate, ask him or her to let go of one extracurricular activity first before giving your permission. Explain to him or her the commitment and effort required to study the piano.
4. Is my child ready physically and mentally?
Sad to say, but there are requirements before your child is allowed to learn the piano. For one, his or her fingers must be flexible enough to handle five coinciding white keys. If not, it is best to
wait for his or her hands to grow a bit.
That is just one indicator as to when to start piano lessons. Another is his or her motor skills. Can he or she move, raise, or wiggle each finger independently? Can he or she move a different finger on each hand at one time? Finger strength and coordination are essential when playing the piano.
As for the mental attributes, it is best that your child already knows basic arithmetic or the alphabet (at least the first seven letters, memorized both forward and backward) so that the pacing of the lessons would be significantly faster.
5. Can my child handle the responsibility?
As previously mentioned, studying music takes commitment. That includes listening attentively during the lesson, learning the music, and practicing the exercises and piece until they become excellent.
Most children can already understand the concept of independence by age 8. However, this does not mean that teaching them how to be responsible should only be taught at this age.
Getting them accustomed to responsibility as early as possible can teach them valuable lessons that they could treasure as they grow up.
Your Role as a Parent
On the other hand, it is not just the child who must be taken into consideration as to when to start piano lessons. As a parent, you should also know if you can handle the task of shouldering the expenses.
Piano price quotes by CostFigures state that a good-conditioned piano can range from $200 to as much as $100,000. These prices usually do not have delivery costs and a bench attached to it yet.
Spending for piano lessons also includes paying the teacher, buying the required manuals, and investing in music sheets. Learning the piano is not just time-consuming and life-altering; it is also costly. Thus, you must think and weigh your options carefully before deciding when to start piano lessons.
Aside from that, you must also be around to accompany, help, and encourage the child during his or her practices. When recitals or public performances come rolling in, your son or daughter would appreciate your presence and support by being in the audience. Are you ready for it?
Knowing the right timing as to when to start piano lessons depends entirely on how well you understand your child’s personality, behavior, and character. But more importantly, it depends on what you all agree as a family. Remember that time, money, and effort are at stake. All three are precious and must not be wasted.