18 answers

Starting Piano Lessons

My son is 2 and my husband and I are considering purchasing a piano within the next year or two. I know how to read music, and can teach him the basics. What age is appropriate to start teaching piano? Any ideas as to how to ease a little one into learning an instrument? Does anyone know of any good resources - websites, games, books, videos, etc.?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First, I want to thank all of you who responded with so many wonderful ideas. I'm definitely going to start slowly, mostly with games. My son is bright, but from a maturity perspective he is still very much a typical 2 year old boy. So I think I'll wait a little longer before introducing more "formal" teaching or anything that requires a significant attention span. I loved all of your ideas. Thank you so much!!!

Featured Answers

Hi,
I'm a musician and would recommend not starting formal lessons until 5-6 years old, when he can read. I've been taking my 2-year-old to Music Together classes for almost a year, and now he actually picks up his little guitar, plays and sings! I think just giving him access to an instrument, and playing for and with him would be great.

All the best,
S.

My husband is a partner in a music teaching operation. The rule of thumb that they follow is usaully 3-5yrs of age is appropriate to start piano. The child needs to be able to sit still and pay attention for a 15min stretch of time or more.

More Answers

Hi A.,

It appears that you've already received some great advice!

I, too, am a piano and public school music teacher. I would say that readiness definitely varies from child to child. That being said, the youngest student I have worked with was four years old, and in a group music class with two other teachers. The class focused on fostering an appreciation for music and musical exploration using the body, voice, and instruments (small hand percussion). Within the group time, I would take a child for an average of 7 or 8 minutes for individual piano time. During the individual piano time, I taught pre-reading skills (finding the groups of 2 or 3 black keys, etc.).

It really helps if the child knows the alphabet - that way you can start to introduce the white keys by their letter name. You can also work on high/low/same. Singing with the notes helps develop aural skills. Get creative with games, if your child demonstrates an interest.

My oldest son (now almost 3) has been exploring with the piano since he was only 6 months old! I used to put him in his bouncy or exersaucer while I played or practiced, and he would try to reach his arms out to touch the keys. I would sit him on my lap and let him explore. When he began walking, he was just tall enough to reach his arms over his head and push the keys down. Now, he pulls the bench out, and climbs up to play on his own. He loves music, in general, and loves to have Mommy or Daddy (we're both musicians) play one of his favorite songs - like the theme to Little Einsteins on the Disney channel.

There is a music software program that I am a big fan of, called Music Ace. If you go to www.harmonicvision.com, you will find a free demo download to try it out. It has some of those pre reading skills, but gets pretty complex as well. It would be a good tool to use later on for reinforcement of what is learned at the piano. I think it's well worth the investment if your child demonstrates a true interest in learning more about music & piano, as it builds on previously learned skills and concepts.

One of the best things you can do for your child at this age is to simply let him explore, and give him lots of praise for what he discovers both on his own, and with your guidance. Love of music doesn't have to come just from the piano. You can make homemade instruments and find things around the house that make musical sounds, too!

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I am a private piano teacher in Fairfield. As to when to start formal lessons, it really depends on the child. Some children do very well with lessons at age 4 while others really need to wait until they are 6 years old. In my 20 years of teaching, I have never encountered a child younger than 4 years old who was ready for formal lessons. This has to do with eye development, coordination and readiness to follow instructions. But, that does not mean that you can't introduce your son to piano and all the fun that one can have. At the age of two, most children will have some trouble using the correct fingers even for the fun stuff. Some exercises you may try would include playing fun games at the piano such as "two black keys." With this game, your son plays a set of two black keys with the middle and index fingers of his left hand all the way to middle C and then the middle and index fingers of his right hand will play two black keys all the up to the end of the piano. Once he can go up, then you can reverse it and have him go back down again. You can then play "three black keys." You can introduce rhythm by having him say two black keys as he is playing them. Same for the three black keys. This type of pre note reading playing gets the child acquiainted with the keyborad and where things are. I would advise that you stick with the games until he is 3-4 and then you can try him with reading some notes and music. Some teachers teach pre note reading children with funny looking notes that have a letter in them and other methods but I don't believe in it. That is not the way we play piano and in my opinion it shouldn't be started that way. I have never picked up a student who was started that way that didn't have to start over and do it the correct way. Start as you mean to go on - learning about the keyboard, using correct fingers, finger exercise games, reading the notes, counting the beats and having a lot of fun doing it! I would be happy to explain the other games to you if you are interested. They are for pre note reading young children and they include getting familiar with the piano, basic counting and establishing a beat and learning to play a children's song by rote. My e-mail is ____@____.com me know if you have any questions or if I can help you.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

HI A.
I was a piano teacher for about 10 years. The youngest student i ever taught successfully was 6. For teaching from mom it could start earlier - but the child really needs to have some fine motor skills as well as a more developed attention span. Some kids have these at 4 or 5 - but 6 is usually where it settles in - as a general range. Otherwise the child just gets frustrated and will have a negative association. For now - you should get the piano and play FOR the child and encourge him to watch and play along and just improvise on high/low, loud/soft, slow/fast...and HAVE FUN!

Really their is no age to start playing piano. Right now let your son play by air so he can get the feel of the keys. Sometimes it would sound so good that yopu are saying to your self that sound so good and others it may not. About5and 6 yrs old you can teach him the read music. For example, Make fun by saying space lines on the right hand f a c e which spell face line notes every good bird does fly which is egbdf. Get the most easy book you can find. For example,Sam Ash has some great ones.

Hi,
I'm a musician and would recommend not starting formal lessons until 5-6 years old, when he can read. I've been taking my 2-year-old to Music Together classes for almost a year, and now he actually picks up his little guitar, plays and sings! I think just giving him access to an instrument, and playing for and with him would be great.

All the best,
S.

Hi A.,
I've been teaching piano for more than 10 years now and I think appropriate age for piano lesson is at age 5. You can start at age 4 but will be really slow learning,like listening to CDs a lot and play more with the teacher than actual learning. There's a music classes for infants and toddlers and I think it would be great for your son to start learning what music is...there's a lot of classes but most popular ones are 'Musik Garten' and 'Music Together'. They will teach about the rhythm,beats,tunes and also teach some instruments that they can easily learn and play with it. I hope my sharing kinda helped you.

Hi A.,

I have a 10 year old daughter who plays piano, and she didn't start until 3rd grade (8/9 yrs old). I wish we had been able to start her sooner, but in any event she has caught on very fast and seems to really love playing.

She takes lessons from an instructor at a Catholic School, and when I inquired about my 5 year old starting lessons, he said it's much easier to take lessons as soon as they can read words. (Usually around 1st-2nd grade.) My son is just starting kindergarten this fall and we are working on his reading skills so maybe I can convince the instructor to start lessons sooner!

That being said, I have heard of kids playing piano at ages younger than 5-7, so somehow, somewhere, someone is teaching some kids, (perhaps with exceptional intelligence?) at younger ages.

Given your son is 2, and you can read music, I would say get him involved in music programs for his age, (my son started a program at pre-school called "muscially yours" in which they come in once a week and learn about notes, instruments, sing songs, etc.) Also you should begin to make sure he learns how to read at a young age. If he can begin to recognize letters & the sounds they make, music notes & those sounds and you lable the keys for him and teach him what is what, he will be ahead of the game. You may want to call a few piano teachers in your area and get their opinions on how to "prep" your son!

Play lots of classical music for him while he's playing in the house etc. Does he watch Disney's "Little Einsteins?" My son loved that show. It's very musical. There are lots of musical programs for pre-school kids to attend on a weekly basis. Like Kinder-music or Musically Yours programs. Google them in your state and see what pops up for your area. Often they have a 1-800 number to call and get a location. Good Luck! I hope this helps.

D.

Hi A.
My son, now 8, started suzuki style lessons on the violin at age 3 1/2, and started learning non-suzuki style piano at age 5. He is a brilliant child with so many musical gifts and talents. He also started voice lessons this year. 3 1/2 was a great age for him to begin his learning becuase he was able to actually sit and pay attention for a half hour to my husbands teachings (he is an accomplished pianist himself). My son was also very anxious to learn and once he started there was no stopping him. We found the "DOZEN A DAY" instuctional books to be the best for beginners. My other son now 5 just started piano lessons himself this past Dec. He had no wants or patience for any instruments before this so I guess it solely depends on the child and when they develop the attention span necessary. Good luck with all the beautiful music your home will soon be filled with.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.