Is My Child Ready for Piano Lessons? Six Questions to Ask Before You Start

What age is the right age to start piano lessons? As a piano teacher, this is one of the questions I am asked most frequently. While it would be great if there were one right age for everyone to start lessons, the answer is actually a lot more complicated than that. Some children are ready to start at age 5, while others have better success if they wait until 7 or 8. When I do an evaluation with a prospective student, I like to ask parents these questions to see if their child is ready to start piano lessons:

  • Has your child shown an interest in music or music lessons? Lots of parents want their child to learn to play the piano, but if the child hasn’t shown any interest in piano lessons, they will only be a struggle for both parent and teacher. Pro tip: Start playing music for your children (especially classical music!) at a young age. Studies show that children learn to like what they are exposed to.
  • Can your child sit down and focus for 10-20 minutes at a time? The best students I have aren’t necessarily the most “talented,” but those who will pay consistent attention in lessons and then transfer that focus to their practicing each day.
  • Does your child follow instructions well? As teachers, we only get to work with your child once a week, so it’s important that they be able to follow our verbal and written directions for practicing at home. Pro tip: Turning tasks into a game makes children much more willing to complete them. I do this all the time with younger piano students!
  • How are your child’s fine motor skills? When I meet with a prospective student, I take 3-5 minutes to assess the child’s physical abilities at the piano, but if your child can do things like hold a pencil and use scissors, that’s a pretty good indicator that he or she is ready to begin piano lessons.
  • Can your child read? This one has a little bit of wiggle room. Teaching piano to a student who is reading is easier for a lot of reasons. However, I sometimes will start a younger student who knows at least the first 7 letters of the alphabet and whose parent is willing to provide a little extra support in lessons and at home. Pro tip: Being able to read helps students learn music, but did you know that learning music also helps students to read? Check out one of my favorite articles on that topic here
  • Is your family ready to support your child in piano lessons? Parent support is vital to success at the piano. Some students will need one-on-one help with their practicing on a daily basis; others might need just a little supervision. But every student needs love, praise, and encouragement to keep going when they have a tough practice day (trust me, it happens to everyone). We as teachers do the best we can, but we could never do it without the awesome piano parents who help continue the good habits at home.
If you can answer positively to all or most of the questions above, your child is likely ready to start playing the piano – so get out there and find a teacher!

 

If you live in the Utah County area, call 801-317-3825 to schedule a free tour and official evaluation to see which piano program is best for your family.

 The Utah Piano Conservatory serves the Utah County area, including Provo, Orem, Spanish Fork, American Fork, Lehi, Springville, Pleasant Grove, Payson, Highland, Alpine, and Mapleton.

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