When I was in my piano pedagogy class at college, my professor told us that she never accepts students under the age of six. She listed some reasons related to the development of bones in children’s hands, their abilities to focus on one task for a half an hour, and other daunting generalizations about young children.
Given my teacher’s extremely high standard of perfection that she upheld in our lessons together, I’m not surprised now that she said such things.
But the question of “How do I know if my child is ready for piano lessons” cannot simply be answered by a birthdate. The more important question to ask as you are looking into enrolling your child in piano lessons in Seattle is: “What do I want my child to get out of music lessons?” Now that changes things.
The Reality for Younger Students
The reality is that with children under the age of six, piano lessons start off more like general music enrichment lessons. Think about how school works for kids this age: it is just as much about learning how to interact with other children as it is learning practical knowledge like how to use the alphabet. Similarly, when I, as a private piano teacher, teach lessons to very young children, my aim is to create a beautiful interactive experience for them that is subtly sprinkled with learning opportunities.
It’s true that the piano is a complicated instrument, so getting young children to play it with confidence takes time and patience, which is why I use so much additional musical material and games to make sure the experience is fun.
How Do You Know if a Child is Ready?
How do you know your child is ready for piano lessons? They want it. They are excited about music. They are sounding out melodies on your family keyboard or are constantly singing. They are pretending to conduct music on the radio or are dancing around when their favorite song comes on. Sometimes they will ask for lessons, but sometimes you as the parent can persuade them to start and they may find out later that they love it. I have no memory of asking my parents to put me in piano lessons and it took me five years of lessons to realize how deeply I loved music and how important it was to my identity. Now I am so thankful that my parents decided to sign me up because music has changed my life.
Fostering A Love for Music
I was recently on the phone with my childhood piano teacher, whom I strive every day to be like and who has been one of the greatest influences on my life. I asked her how to help some of my students who had not been making progress like I had hoped, and she responded: “Natalie, with these students, you are just trying to foster a love of music that will last them the rest of their lives. You are there to be that one bright spot of pure joy in their weeks that they just can’t wait to return to every single week. You’ve got to engage them where they are at, and make them love music by showing them how much you love it too.”
I let the words wash over me and could feel a warm sense of gratitude in my whole being. How had I been so lucky to have this teacher growing up? How had I forgotten such a simple principle, the one principle that had carried me through some twenty years of music study and a rigorous masters program? It’s all about the joy of music. It’s all about love.
Lessons In Your Home Is Here to Help
So I would say, if you are still uncertain about whether your child is ready for piano lessons, maybe reframe the question like this; “Is my child ready to experience the joy of music?” If you can talk to your child’s potential teacher about how excited you are for your child to develop a love of music, you are sure to make excellent progress together. Your teacher will know when the child is ready to learn new concepts and progress to harder repertoire.
And as always, the best thing you can do as a parent to help new lessons go smoothly is encourage your child to practice daily and praise them for their hard work! At Lessons in Your Home you are sure to find a teacher who is right for your child and can help them learn to love making music. Our teachers will come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. However, our online music lessons are being taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your child! Contact us today to learn more.
By Natalie Bartles