What is the Right Age to Start Piano Lessons?

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As I start to think about the activities to put Ella into now that she’s 4yrs old, I try to balance my desire to have a “well rounded” child vs. over programming her .  Music lessons is something I’ve always wanted to expose her to.  Of course in the back of my mind, there is always the concept of “music makes you smarter” that you hear about so I figure it couldn’t hurt.  At the very least even if it didn’t have a direct effect to her doing any better in school, she’d gain a new skill, learn to play some music for herself and others, and at least teach her how to focus on something other than the iPad!

I am surrounded by over a hundred musicians and teachers all the time so here is what I found.

Ella piano

  1. Know your ABCs.  As soon as they have a good handle on their alphabet, they can start music lessons.  General consensus was probably 4 or 5yrs old would be the youngest.
  2. Piano is an easy instrument for young ones to start off on. With piano there are no issues with the instrument being too big to handle and no frustration with technique or enough air capacity to even make a sound on the instrument.  You press the key and that’s it.
  3. It’s not the amount of time but the frequency of practicing.  Regular daily practicing for 5-10 minutes is all that is expected.  As much as this is trying to teach them to focus, you can’t expect a young child to focus for more than that so regular practicing in smaller chunks will help them retain the information.
  4. Music is like learning a language.  Speaking a new language doesn’t happen overnight so set your expectations accordingly.  It’s a steady skill build that takes years not months to develop.
  5. Expect highs and lows with motivation.  Help support them through these humps while keeping the bigger picture in mind.  The novelty of trying something new will quickly wear off when they figure out they have to put effort in to learn.  Once they start seeing results, it will help with the motivation but again, expect another low period that will require your support.
  6. Make it social.  If you have the opportunity to get them into a group lesson to learn with their others their own age that is a great way to help with motivation.  Basic are basics so why not make it more engaging for them to learn in the early stages.  After a couple of years once they start to build a strong musical foundation, they can head off to a specialist for one on one lessons.  By this time, hopefully they’ve grown an appreciation for music so one on one lessons can help them really take off.
  7. Make it fun to practice!  Turn it into a game where possible (ie. who can find middle C the fastest).  Like everything, they want your attention so if you are participating in their learning, they will want to do it even more.
  8. Get both parents on board.  Help share the load if at all possible with helping with practicing or going to the lessons.  If you are able to sit in on the lessons, take advantage and learn along.  It’s like getting two lessons for the price of one!

My husband and I talked it through and decided we were both committed.  We enrolled Ella into piano lessons a few months ago, purchased a piano and look forward to hearing her play for us.  Stay tuned to share in this new adventure with us as I’m sure there will be bumps along the way!

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23 thoughts on “What is the Right Age to Start Piano Lessons?

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  4. Great tips!! Our son is 14 and has been playing for awhile. He’s now going through that time that it just doesn’t seem worth it, but we’re praying that he will stay strong and practice, etc. He definitely has the talent.

    1. Nice to hear that your journey has lasted so long Jamie! Here’s hoping we’re on the same path. Good luck to your son, that’s great that he’s so talented and hopefully you can get through this hurdle as he’s come so far – congrats on that!

  5. Thanks for sharing the tips! I still can’t quite get the courage to enrol Raynor in piano. It seems like such a big commitment that I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up with it. I hope Ella is enjoying the lessons! Thanks for linking up at the #ConfessionsLinkUp

  6. This is a genius list. My son is almost a year and a half but has already taken an overly zealous interest in the piano and I found myself wondering when I should start lessons? Now I know that he may not always be this interested in it but this is a great post to reference when the time comes. Good for you for even being conscious of the possible parent programmage although I think you know what you’re doing. Thank you for sharing this wisdom at #MommyMeetUpMondays.

    1. Wow – that’s awesome that your son is already so interested at such a young age! Good luck with your musical journey!

  7. I think it’s wonderful that you put your daughter in piano and these are some fantastic tips! Music is a huge part of my life and I wish I would have started sooner. I can’t wait to begin teaching my daughter all I know (and hiring out for the things I don’t!).

    Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays! Hope to see you again next week!

  8. Really great tips! I have all of my children involved in a lot of activities but most are physical or sports related. I would love to get them started in something to do with music. I started playing piano around 5 and played until I was around 11 or 12. I think it will be something I give my children the opportunity to experience as well.

  9. Love this. I have tried piano lessons as an adult and only wish I had started when I was younger. I would love to know how to play. I just can’t get the knack. Maybe someday if that’s possible in my late adulthood! lol Great tips and lovely photo. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. Thanks Jenny. I think it’s never too late to start again. I hear of many adults putting this on their bucket list. Good luck to you if you decide to pursue it again!

  10. My oldest boy is 4; we’re going to have to wait a while yet before starting piano lessons. He knows his letters, but the interest level isn’t quite there. Guess I need to up the sales pitch..

    1. Our daughter wasn’t too thrilled with the practising or lessons initially. We had to make a few changes to get her excited about the process which I plan on writing a post about soon. Who knows maybe your son will show interest in guitar or drums down the road when he’s a little older. Check back and share if you do go down this path as I’d love to hear about it!

  11. These are some great tips! I really want to put my daughter into piano lessons when she gets older (she is 2 and a half now) but I’ve wondered what age they recommend that they begin lessons. I always regretted not taking piano lessons when I was a child and my mom wanted me to, and my daughter LOVES all things musical so far so I think she will love it! And the fact of learning a new lifelong skill is just great! I hope your daughter enjoys it and does well! Keep us updated on the progress! Maybe some videos soon? 🙂

    ~Amy Lou

    1. My parents put me in piano lessons at 6 years old and it lasted about a year and a half. I absolutely hated it. One of my biggest regrets is quitting. I so wish I would have stuck with it.

      1. Thanks for sharing your experience Whitney. Hopefully it will help some parents get through the rough times with their child and know that the child will likely thank them for it down the road. That’s the position we’ve taken with Ella so we’re committed for the long haul.

    2. I think the general consensus is about 4 or 5yrs old to start – not likely any younger then that unless you have the next Mozart on your hands 🙂 Good question – I should update the blog too as I’m sure there are others wondering. And I will be posting updated on progress and hurdles along the way great ideas about tying videos into it as well. Now I need to figure out how to do that in wordpress!

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