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When Is Your Child Ready For Formal Music Lessons?

Children may grasp rhythm and pitch as early as age 3. Does that mean it’s time to start piano lessons? Many need more time. Some are musically ready early but lack social and emotional skills. Gauge your child’s readiness:

  • Can your child sing a song in key?
  • Can your child keep a consistent beat?
  • Can your child sit still and focus for 15 to 30 minutes?
  • At minimum, does your child know numbers 1 to 5 and letters A to G?
  • Is your child interested in reading and able to begin reading music?
  • Is your child big enough to reach the keys or hold the instrument?
  • Is your child easily frustrated, or can she cope with the discipline and patient repetition needed for practicing?
  • Can your child handle the pressure of performing in public recitals?
  • Is your child overscheduled? Is there enough play time in his day?
  • Does your child truly want to learn an instrument?

Many music educators suggest waiting until age 7 to 9 for music lessons. Suzuki Method students start as young as 3 (without reading music) but still need rhythm and pitch basics first. If either rhythm or pitch is a challenge, try informal, movement-based group classes first, like Dalcroze, Kindermusik, Kodály, Music Together, Orff Schulwerk, or others.


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