Music, like other forms of art, is not always cut and dry, easily assessed, or broken down scientifically. But science tells us two things about a child’s ability to learn:
• The first five years of life are crucial to brain and motor development
• The optimal time frame to learn an instrument is up to age nine
However, this should not always be the deciding factor for when a child should begin learning an instrument. Determining when to pair your child with a violin teacher rests on a variety of factors, which vary from person to person.
Consider the following factors when making the decision to pursue violin lessons in Atlanta for your child.
1. Balance of interests
Make sure the time is right within your child’s schedule to devote the appropriate amount of time and energy towards learning how to play the violin. Your child may be learning the ropes of elementary schools as a first grader or may already be devoting their time and energy to other after-school activities that currently command their attention.
It is great that your child is able to try new things, but for the parent who wishes that their child takes violin lessons seriously, consider their current workload. If your child already has a lot on their plate, it may be difficult to learn the violin, despite their interest and desire to learn. Make sure your child is at a point in their lives when learning the violin is not intrusive or overwhelming.
2. Attention span
Children go through all sorts of physical and mental changes as they mature. One factor that can drastically change with age (especially for boys) is attention span. Before signing up for lessons, consider the state of their ability to remain focused on the task at hand, and their willingness to co-operate.
As the medical community has uncovered within the past ten years or so, it is common for children to be misdiagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at an early age. Around the age of seven, children can exhibit behavior resembling ADHD without truly possessing the condition; however, with age, children can and often grow out of these symptoms.
Your child’s capacity to stay focused is a crucial deciding factor for when they are ready to learn the violin. For some children, that time is later than it is for others. You want your child to retain what they learn in private music lessons that you pay hard-earned cash for; therefore, place careful attention on their capacity to hold it.
3. Parental availability
Your schedule and availability as a parent is an equally important factor, as it is your job to offer your child emotional support at home. If you find that your busy schedule does not allow time for you to sit and listen to your child play, or at the very least, ensure that your child is practicing, then your child may not be ready to learn the violin.
Your child needs your assistance and support if they are to retain what they have learned in their private lessons. Ensuring that your child has a stable and consistent schedule to practice in the safety of your home is the best way to support their learning.
After you have considered these factors and concluded that your child is ready for private violin lessons, here are some activities to prepare your child for learning the instrument:
• Sing along to music together, as this will help develop their ear for tune and pitch, and the ability to adapt to various rhythms.
• Introduce your child to the sound of violin played by masters of the instrument; this will foster within them a desire to eventually reach this level of proficiency.
• Develop your child’s sense of focus and cooperation through activities which require patience and collaboration with either yourself or a sibling/friend. This will prepare your child for the private lesson environment, and teach them how to hurdle challenges along the way towards mastering the violin.
Considering these factors can help inform your decision as to whether your child is ready for private violin lessons or not. You want your child’s journey towards mastering the violin to start off on the right foot, and to do so, you must pay careful attention to their readiness, as well as your own. When your child is ready to begin their lessons, contact us to find a teacher near you.