When To Begin Music Lessons
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing.
For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.
3 – 6 Years Old
If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, we recommend either our Music Adventures or Music Explorers program which will give them a good foundation in music basics which will be helpful in the transition later to private lessons. At this age, private lessons generally do not work as the child has not yet experienced the formal learning environment of kindergarten or school and learns more effectively through the game oriented preschool environment.
At our school, 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.
Guitar – Acoustic, Electric and Bass
8 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 8 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older.
For children younger than 10, we have a children’s program that teaches them how to use their voices properly, in a fun, relaxed environment. For students over 10 years old, private vocal lessons tend to focus more on the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), that the younger body is generally not yet ready for.
The average age of our youngest drum student is 8. This varies greatly depending on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.
Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.
We accept violin students from the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.
The trumpet requires physical exertion and lung power. 9 years and older is a good time to start the trumpet.