15 answers

What's a Good Age to Start Piano Lessons?

My little guy just turned 4 and is very interested in music. He particularly likes the guitar and piano. I've heard the 5 is a good age to start piano lessons.

Also - is a digital piano (also known as a smaller investment) a good start? I've seen some pianos in the $8-10k range but don't want to purchase before I'm sure he'll remain interested.

Help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

If it were me I would start out with a $20 electronic keyboard. If it puts down in a week you know that isn't what he really wanted to do. Walmart has a section in the toy department with lots of kids instrucments. They are mostly resonable prices. Maybe you could get him a few of those and see which he is more interested in playing and then go from there.

More Answers

Dear A. , If your son goes over to the piano and plays on his own(without being asked), I would say school age 5,6 yrs. old is a good time to start. Don't forget that their little fingers may not be able to stretch enough to reach all the keys, but that will come as they get older and develop more dexterity. I would not , from my personal view, get an electric piano. the action is entirely different on it and when time comes to play regular piano, that could be a very difficult transition. I studied piano, as a child . My daughter also takes lessons......good luck to you and your boys. If you need any referrels for a good teacher, let me know! caroljean

Hi A.,
Husband is in the music biz and he works in a music store where they give lessons. Buying an instrument at a very young age is a huge investment. They usually loose interest cause they don't want to go to that "LESSON" you have to be sure its a real interest and not a intrigueing phase. I (musically inclined as well) highly recommend a to start him in a group class first like KINDERMUSIC. Its a little expensive but fun and teaches children the funamentals of music with incorporating everyday sounds and tasks. I would start there. If there is still an interest then go ahead and start with an instrument. I have a son who is five and of course is interested in music its all over our house but he has a hard time dedicating himself to practice and go to lessons. So we are patiently waiting it out. He has taken Kindermusic and loved it. Good luck and if you have any questions please feel free to do so.

A. -
I'm the mom of 3 boys (5, 3 and 9 mos.). I'm a teacher of piano and french horn, and our oldest began piano in August! As a parent of a child learning piano, and also as a teacher, the age where your child can sit (relatively :) still for 30 min., give or take, and is excited, and eager to learn and practise, is the perfect age! I began myself when I was 4 years old, and like I already mentioned, my husband and I began our son just this past August. He practices every day without prompting, and it's often the first thing he does as soon as he wakes up! Now, both my husband and I are musicians, so the apple is not falling far from the tree, but it is important that you don't push him to practice, although some encouragement is a good thing! Also, make sure you find a 'good fit' in a teacher for your son. That is almost half the battle. Ask around, take him for a demonstration lesson, etc.
With regard to the keyboard, that's what we have right now. The 'touch' (how it feels to play an electronic piano VS. a piano) is different between those instruments, but not a detriment until your son becomes much more advanced and committed.
AND, you can get a very good piano for much less than $8K.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
B.

Good morning A.,
I was a piano major in college and I started quite
young. The truth of the matter about age to start
is interest. Some children are more advanced than others and can concentrate longer.
Why don't you get a small piano like an upright. You can
find inexpensive pianos at estate sales or moving sales.
Check your local paper.
Let him explore the piano before getting a teacher. Then look
for a child friendly teacher. There is nothing worse than an
aggresive teacher who doesn't know how to make the learning experience fun.

It depends on the child's interest and attention span. Some children have an advanced attention span at age 4, others simply cannot sit still for a lesson until they're at least in school full days (kindergarten in my school district).

I'm a Music Together teacher and a piano instructor and have found that children are vastly different when it comes to formal instrument instruction. I do teach beginners as young as age 4 but with them I use a different teaching method that's more of a transition to piano in which the child becomes familiar with the keyboard and learns to pick out melodies by ear before progressing to actually reading music. If you feel your child is ready, then by all means try. I wouldn't recommend buying a piano just yet, however, as it's a big investment and there are no guarantees that your child will stick with it. I'm not fond of electronic keyboards because the cheaper ones aren't touch-sensitive and therefore don't feel the same way a real piano does, but they're good to start out with until you determine whether or not your child is serious about continuing piano instruction.

As a previous poster recommended, try enrolling in one semester of an early childhood music and movement program like Music Together or Kindermusik. They initially seem expensive, but when you average out the tuition on a weekly basis, it's really not bad...in fact, it's probably cheaper than private piano lessons.

My advice is to "feed" his interests. He's not too young to start. I hear alot about "when" a child should or shouldn't do things....I say...a child is not a "statistic" but an indiviual...treat them as so. Dr's always say a baby is "under weight" if they're age doesn't match the weight scales....I say aa child will grow just as fast as he/she grows. there is nothing out there that will make them grow any faster.

Do what you feel is right for your son....if he loses interest, then all you can say is you tried

Let me know what you decide. You can email me at ____@____.com

D.

If it were me I would start out with a $20 electronic keyboard. If it puts down in a week you know that isn't what he really wanted to do. Walmart has a section in the toy department with lots of kids instrucments. They are mostly resonable prices. Maybe you could get him a few of those and see which he is more interested in playing and then go from there.

what about a used piano? There is a Suzuki piano store in Westport that sells refurbished used pianos. I don't think 4 is too young.
lynn

I myself started piano lessons when I was 6.I wanted to when I was 5 though. My mom was taking lessons as well so my dad invested in a baby grand piano. Of course when i got in middle school and became interested in boys I didnt want to practice anymore so the lesson stoppped and my moms had before that so up went the piano for sale...
I would definately go with a cheap electric piano till you know if he really wants to stick with it...you could always get one for him to tinker with till he's a bit older. Or wait a couple years and do guitar....if he learns that it's pretty easy to teach yourself the piano after that. Guitar is definately something he will like having under his belt when he is older.

I also have a 4 yr old who really likes music. I just bought him the Fisher Price I Can Play Piano system. It is a keyboard that hooks up to the television and has games and songs that go along with it. It will teach hand/eye coordination, teach them the keys on the keyboard and also the notes in the music. I thought that would be a great starting place for him to learn piano in a fun way that will keep his interest.

Dear A.,
I am a piano and Kindermusik teacher and have taught piano for over 30 years. In that entire time, I have only had 5 piano students who were 5 yrs old. I have 2 now, and they are VASTLY different. One is able to master everything, and the other is struggling, so its a very individual thing. It all depends on how ready/coordinated they are, because piano lessons require much coordination, and discipline. If you are in a city that offers Kindermusik classes, you should have him enroll for classes there, which would give him a broad knowledge of the basics of music, and then you can decide.

I should think that the same would go for guitar also.

Good luck!

D.
Director, Taprobane Academy of Music, Cliffside Park, NJ
(www.taprobanemusic.org)

well i would go say 4 or 5 is a good age to start,im not sure about pianio but i put my kids in sports at that age,kids are smart lil ones,my advice is to try it,if he dont like it,well at least u tried,if u dont youll never no wat coulda been,lol,good luck to you,

A child who is only 4 or 5 generally benefits most from group music situations, such as learning rhythms and singing intervals and moving to music.

As a piano teacher I believe the best age to start a child on private piano lessons is around 6 or 7. It also depends on their motor skills and being able to distinguish left from right and eye hand co-ordination. When they learn to read in school from left to right this helps learning to read music.

I have been teaching piano for 40 years and have a degree in piano. I have started children as young as 3. I have found that they become dis-interested if started too young with an intensive program. They need to first learn to have fun with music

You can do activities with your child at home to increase their ability to study music later, such as bouncing a ball in rhythm to the music. Echo clapping rhythm patterns, and singing simple songs and pointing out the intervals that occur such as : Three Blind Mice or Mi-re-do, or 321. Use your hand to demonstrate how the sound moves up or down and have them do the same.

I hope this helps you. If you would like to ask more questions or need more information on what you can do please don't hesitate to email me.

Mary Rightmyer ____@____.com

Hi A.,
I think 5 is a good age to start. Before investing in a piano, as you said, it would be a good idea to start smaller. Most piano teachers will give lessons on a electric keyboard. They don't have as many octaves as a piano, but your child can learn very well on one and if he likes it then you'll know whether or not to make the investment. Casio makes one that is very nice and you can get a small bench for it as well and it's actually more comfortable for little ones since they're not overwhelmed by the size of a large piano. Hope this helps. - B.

We are going through the same thought process lately, also with a four-year-old. A friend of mine is a music teacher, and she (as well as the developmental specialist that works w/ my daughter's pre-K class) recommended it for our daughter. I guess that if children are interested and musically inclined, there's no recommended "start age". We're holding off on purchasing a piano until we see if she sticks w/ this or not.

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