little girl piano
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

A lot of parents would love to give their children the gift of music as early as possible. Piano lessons, in particular, offer a lot of benefits to your child that will last a lifetime. However, you don’t want to push your baby into something he or she is not yet ready for. So how do you know when your child is ready?

There are a lot of ways that this question can be answered, and a quick online search will bring you numerous results – sometimes conflicting. So today we approach this subject from a real-life perspective – that of a musical mother that has played piano since childhood, taught piano and now has children learning piano.

Meet Kierste:

I don’t remember a time that I haven’t played the piano. My parents–neither of them with any kind of musical background–started me with piano lessons when I was four years old, and it’s been an enormous (and wonderful) part of my life ever since. It taught me at a very young age how to work hard to learn something new, dedication, responsibility, and getting over some of my fears.  I performed and played all through high school, and then into college on a piano scholarship.  I taught piano lessons for many years–all through college and up until my last baby was born two years ago. Via Simply Kierste

In addition to teaching, she also shares how her piano-playing ability has given her opportunities to perform and serve in her church and community. It has also helped support her through college (where she received a piano scholarship) and graduate school, as well as helping her with the extras when she was done with school. But these are not the benefits she most appreciates:

But even more than that, it has filled my life with immeasurable joy, and our home has always been filled with the sound of music. How grateful I am that my parents gave me this gift! Via Simply Kierste

As far as knowing when your child is ready for piano goes, Kierste is quick to point out that every child is different, so each child will be ready at different times. Even so, based on her years of experience playing and teaching piano, she offers a simple guideline that should help parents know just when their kids are ready:

1. They’ve got their ABCs down

abc blocks
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

A child doesn’t have to know how to read to start lessons, but knowing the alphabet is essential. The notes have letter names (A-G), and and they need to be able to recognize their letters. Via Simply Kierste

2. They can tell their right from their left hands

When you play the piano, you play something different with each hand, and the notes are written differently for the left hand and right hand. Being able to distinguish which hand is which is important. Via Simply Kierste

3. They can sit still for 15 minutes or more

This is one reason why different children will be ready at different times.

Some three year olds are ready, and others might not be ready until age six or seven. It’s the reason my six year old twin boys haven’t started yet–but will this year. They need to be able to sit through a lesson, and then sit at home each day to practice. Via Simply Kierste

4. Their little fingers can take it

small girl playing piano
Image Courtesy of YouTube

It does take strength to push down the weighted keys of a piano, and those little fingers need to be able to do that! It doesn’t mean that they can’t start when they’re young, but it is something to consider–especially if they can’t push them down at all! Via Simply Kierste

5. They show interest

boy plays piano
Image Courtesy of YouTube

This is important because it will contribute significantly to your child’s motivation to stick with his or her piano lessons when things get a little harder. Even so, parents should be aware that even the kids who are most excited about piano may later struggle with practice sessions:

At our house, learning to play the piano is like math…it’s a required subject. So this one doesn’t really apply here. 🙂 But…in general, a child should show some interest in either the piano specifically, or in music. If they like it, they’ll want to do it! Via Simply Kierste

6. Age

Personally, I like to start kids on the younger side. It’s like learning anything new–they just soak it up when they’re young. They also get used to practicing from an early age, which makes it easier as they get older. I think there are many advantages to starting around four or five if they meet the other criteria above, and then going from that point. Via Simply Kierste

Featured Image: Image Credit

What Age Should a Child Start Piano, Voice, Violin, or Music Lessons?

Related Articles:

5 Things I Learned When I Started Piano Lessons At Age 40

scary mommyI stink at playing the piano. I can give you reasons: I’m new to it. I’m too old to be new. I have these tiny useless pinkies that…whatever. The reasons don’t change the fact that I stink, and I don’t like to stink. I like to be the best, and I typically avoid doing things I’m not so good at (math). But I am not the best at playing the piano. I am not the best in my house, where my two sons play music—dazzling, exciting, heartbreaking music—while I struggle to play notes. I am not the best in my class, even though everybody else in my class is an old beginner too. And yet, my friends still seem to like me. Via Scary Mommy


The best age to start piano lessons is now

njThe best age to start piano lessons for children is now. As a piano teacher, I’m often asked if a boy or girl is too young for piano lessons. Often, parents are told to wait until after first grade to ensure a child understands basic reading, counting and letters. I agree that it makes learning the piano easier. I disagree that anyone needs to wait to start learning about music or an instrument.

Challenges of piano lessons before grade school
You may encounter some difficulty with motor skill coordination. Via NJ


What’s the Right Age to Begin Music Lessons?

pbsWe’ve all heard the stories of famed musical prodigies, from Mozart writing his first symphony at the age of eight to Stevie Wonder signing with Motown at 11. Even if your child isn’t performing with the New York Philharmonic or the Chicago Symphony by age 11 (like violinist Midori and Herbie Hancock, respectively), your family is undoubtedly exposed to talented children in the neighborhood. Whether it’s the church preschool choir or an elementary school band concert, it seems as if parents must immerse their children in music lessons from birth if they want them to succeed, and in a way, they’re right. Via PBS