5 Tips Parents Need To Know When Starting Music Lessons
Different Age Groups/Different Stages
I often receive enquiries from parents who are often concerned when they should start their child’s music education. Many have questions along this line, such as: Would my three-year old enjoy lessons from a pre-school music class and be able to learn at that age? Is my five-year-old ready for private piano lessons? I have always wanted to learn the piano when I was young, however I didn’t have the opportunity than. I would like to start learning now. Am I too old to start learning the piano now? My answer to these questions is to sign up for the music programs appropriate to your age.
- Pre-School Age.
This is the age where Music should be learnt in a group setting. Most of children love music and when given the opportunity to participate in music-making activities, they would love to be involved in it.
Children, in this age group between two to five, can learn music using familiar nursery rhymes and folk songs. They are able to play simple percussion instruments, and use movement, clapping, and dancing to learn rhythm; and using audio senses for these activities as well.
They can learn basic music skills and experience the social, personal and expressive forms of music through these songs, musical activities and games. This builds a foundation for their music education and music making.
- Children, ages five to seven,
Children ages five to six years of age is usually the earliest I would recommend to begin private piano lessons. However some children may continue to grow musically in a a music group setting.
When choosing between private or group lessons, consider your child’s attention span of between 30-45minute for one-on-one interaction.
- Age eight
Private lessons may also be considered as a child of this age has the attention span for a 45-minute to an hour lesson and is more familiar with a formal learning environment. The child will also have developed enough hand strength and coordination.
- Children, ages 12 to 18 years of age
Children at this age group, commonly divert from the traditional, basic music training they have received. Often, parents express an interest in keeping their child in music training, when the student has decided they want to quit or that they are bored with the instrument or style of music that they are learning.
Private music lessons are a great way for the students to receive customized education in classical styles and contemporary pop or jazz styles from beginner to advanced levels.
- Adult students
Adults students may begin music lessons at any time. There has been an increase in the number of adult students beginning their music lessons recently.
An adult students’ progress is often tied to his/her commitment to setting aside time for regular practice.
Adult beginning students who commit to regular practice sessions of about (20-30 minutes/day) can make significant progress on their instrument.
Make Practicing Easier
One must practice more until it becomes natural, easy and effortless.
Schedule practice sessions at a certain time each day so there is consistency and routine.
Practicing correctly can be hard work. Repetition is required and an understanding of the purpose and the goal of the practice is needed to keep it interesting. By developing discipline in practicing music, it can be applied to any area of academics, sports, etc.
Create a Musical Environment at Home
Play music at home, be it the CD, or tuning in to the radio stations. Being exposed to music is a great way to develop listening skills and understanding of musical shapes and expression.
For intermediate and advanced students, through listening, one also develops an understanding for the style and genre of each genre of music.
Learning from a Qualified Instructor
Having music lessons with a qualified instructor in a professional teaching environment is key to your child’s progress. In a short period of time of (45-60 minute) lessons a week, your child can progress significantly without any distraction in class.
Don't Focus on the Time it takes, instead Focus on the Progress
Having regular instruction with an experienced and qualified instructor over a period of time will allow your child to develop a good set of musical skills.
One of the most common questions I get; “How long does it take to learn to play?”
There is really no definite answer to this, as it depends on many factors, such as
- Prior learning experience and music training
- How much commitment is set aside for practice time
- How productive practice time is
The focus one should have with regards to learning and time it takes should be on progress, not how long it takes.
Ultimately, music education can help develop discipline, creativity, memory skills, confidence, self-expression and appreciation for the arts.
However, don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your child. The journey of learning is part of the gift of music.
Enjoy the journey, and you will find hours of enjoyment and bonding with your child.