There are many reasons why kids should be encouraged to learn music. Children who take part in music lessons have more developed language and reasoning skills than those who do not. Several studies have shown that children who sing or play an instrument consistently do better in school than their non-musical friends. Music is also a way of self-expression, and is often seen as a form of therapy.
Some parents try to rush children into music lessons, but when is the right time to start learning? This article discusses a few points that parents should be aware of when enrolling their kids in music lessons.
Age Isn’t Just a Number
The brain begins to properly understand music around the age of three, although many formal music schools ask that students be at least five years old. This is because at five, children are better able to focus on a task for longer periods of time. Before that, parents are encouraged to work with their children to figure out if they are more attracted to singing or to a playing musical instruments, as well as to identify which instruments their young are most fascinated by. Adults can also teaching them about pitch by singing a note and asking them to repeat it.
Size Is Also a Factor
Another reason many instructors will not take a student under five is due to the size of the musical instrument. At the age of three, most children still have very small hands with little physical strength. By the time they are five, they will have gained more strength, making it easier to hold a guitar or stretch across the keys on a piano. Of course, size is not directly related to age, so some younger students may be big enough to handle the instrument while some older students may still be too small or weak to do so.
Take Cues From Your Child
The most important thing is to take cues from your child. If your son is constantly banging on that forgotten piano in the living room or your daughter loves her toy guitar, you might have a naturally talented musician in your family. Listen to your child singing along to the radio. If they’re showing a lot of interest and aptitude, it’s time to start looking into private music lessons or classes!
Pay Attention to Continued Interest
Once you have enrolled your child in music lessons, pay attention to if their interests continues or drops off. If you find that your daughter isn’t practicing her piano when she is supposed to, or that your son is making up excuses to avoid going to music class, they may be feeling too much pressure. If that is the case, speak to them and also their teacher. Sometimes, all it takes is a switch in the lesson material to make it more interesting, easier or challenging, depending on what your child needs.
Of course, even if your child loves music, they may not be ready for formal lessons until they are a little older. It may be tempting to force your child to stick with the lessons to learn discipline and responsibility. However, keep in mind that if you force them before they are ready, they may start to resent music.
Think About Alternatives
If your child is too young, too small or just doesn’t seem to be taking an interest in formal lessons, try a different approach. There are many programs for kids that simply engage them in discovering music, without a formal lesson plan. Children can bang on the drums, sing along to songs, or simply explore different instruments.
To conclude, remember that when it comes to making a decision for your child, it’s best to follow your intuition. If you think your child is ready, look into it. If you don’t, wait until you are sure. By waiting until the right time, you’ll ensure a worthwhile experience for both you and your child.
Amanda Williams is a staff member and blogger for TakeLessons. Since 2006, TakeLessons has helped thousands of students discover their passion through music, by matching them with the top local music teachers across the nation. These certified music instructors specialize in teaching guitar, piano, singing and more.