There is no doubt about the benefits that come along with music education, like the improvement of memory and concentration, intellectual stimulation and, of course, confidence.
Being a parent can already be a challenging adventure with everything - from choosing the best school to convincing them to eat their broccoli. At the end of the day, you make decisions according to what you believe is the best for your child. So, how do you know whether your child is ready for piano lessons?
Here are 10 questions to ask yourself which should help you assess whether or not your child is ready:
Does your child show an interest in music?
Children are curious and love to explore new things. If your child is drawn to the piano, or perhaps even music apps, their interest and curiosity will ensure regular visitation.
This will be the first clear sign that your little maestro might be interested in music lessons.
If you still experience doubt, ask your child, whether he/she would like to engage in piano lessons. Their response should also give you a clear indication.
Does your child respond positively to instructions?
Piano teachers are loving and encouraging because they love what they do and care about your child’s well-being. However, it’s still a part of their job description to correct mistakes and teach the student new things.
If your child has shown resistance to following instructions, or struggle to process criticism, it may be better to wait a bit longer before starting the piano lessons.
Will your child be willing to practice?
As a parent, you know that it will not be possible to answer this question with a confident “yes”. Especially when your child decided that the top priority of the day will be to... not listen to you. And that’s okay! We all have our bad days.
The most important thing to keep in mind is; your child will need to spend some time in front of the piano each day in order to make progress and succeed.
Is your child will be willing to do this? Has your child has shown self-discipline with other activities? Based on this you should have a better idea whether or not piano lessons and practice will form part of their routine.
Can your child concentrate on one thing for at least 20 minutes at a time?
Teachers use creative methods to keep children interested and motivated during piano lesson. But, your child will still need to sit for long periods at a time at the piano. It is important that your child has the attention span to focus for at least 20 minutes at a time, and to listen to the instructions given by the teacher.
Can your child read and write?
It’s not necessary for your child to be able to read and write fluently if they want to learn how to play the piano. However, it will be to your child’s advantage if he/she is able to identify and write a few letters. This will be helpful in their study because the “musical alphabet” exists out of the first seven letters of the alphabet.
Can your child see patterns and recognize left from right?
During the early stages of piano lessons, the teacher expects a child to recognize groups of two and three black keys and patterns within these groups, as well as between up and down on the piano.
It is also necessary for your child to be able to differentiate between left and right. During their piano lessons, they are taught to play the low notes with their left hand, and the high notes with their right hand. If your child struggles to recognize left from right, and different patterns, it may be best to wait another year before starting.
Are your child’s fingers developed enough to operate the piano?
For your child to be able to play the piano, there is a physical aspect that needs to be developed. It can be possible that your child’s fingers may not be strong enough to push down on the keys yet, or he/she cannot comfortably place all five fingers on five adjacent white keys on the piano.
Has your child developed his/her fine motor skill?
If your child is able to use scissors and color fairly well within the lines, it is good indication that they have developed their fine motor skill and they will be able to work more comfortably on the piano and may be ready for some lessons.
Am I willing to invest financially?
Money. A word that we equally hate and love. And the reality is that the cost of lessons, books and equipment can be daunting. So, it is necessary to do proper research in regards to the budget. If you don’t own a piano, will you be able to buy one in the future? Or maybe rent one on a regular basis? If not, it’s not the ideal scenario, even if your child is ready to start with the lessons.
Am I ready to commit to the piano lessons?
You need to be just as ready as your child for this commitment. Your involvement is one of the most important aspects of the process of learning. There will be times when you need to sit and help your child practice that one section of music over and over. At other times, all you need to do is keep them company, or be the chauffeur to and from the piano lessons. Your support can be the key to their success.
When you can answer yes to most of these questions, it’s time to start the search for the music teacher. And remember, your child doesn’t have to show signs of a musical genius before starting with piano lessons. The love for music has no boundaries and once your child is ready to start taking music lessons, your support, love and patience is all they really need to start expressing themselves musically.
About the Author: Joseph Evans
My name is Joseph Evans and I am a guitar playing, freelance writing, online teaching music lover based in Seattle, WA. Growing up in a musical family naturally lead to obtaining my Bachelor of Music (BM) in Composition & Music Theory degree, after which I taught and traveled my way across Europe for 7 years before returning back home to settle in beautiful Seattle. On a typical day, you would find me playing my guitar, pottering around in the vegetable garden, going on long hikes, reading and/or writing.