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The Right Age to Begin Piano?
#2346373 11/06/14 01:46 PM
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Good Day to all! For the piano teachers here, I have a daughter who will turn four soon and a son who is 10 months old. I would like to put both of them in piano, at an appropriate age, of course. I, myself, began lessons when I was nine years old, and I believe that is a little too late. What is the right age, rather a good age, to start children in piano? My daughter has shown some interest, especially when I play. When I play, she wants to sit next to me and "tickle the ivories". Interestingly enough, my 10 month old son always crawls over to the piano every time I sit and play. He stands up and reaches for the keys. He's done that for two months now. Does anyone have good advice/information on a good age to start children in piano who seem to have an interest? Thanks!

-Kevin



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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346476 11/06/14 05:05 PM
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It's going to depend on the individual child. My sister and I started at age 3. Yup. Three. And yet, my sisters's grandkids are 6 and 4 and I can't imagine either of them having the patience to sit at the piano.

I'll be interested to see what the teachers on the forum have to say. I will suspect there is a difference between age readiness of girls vs boys as well. Girls tend to mature emotionally a bit sooner than boys.


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346496 11/06/14 06:00 PM
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The longer I teach piano, the more I think private lessons should come after a couple of years of group musical endeavor. Orff classes, Dalcroze classes, Kodaly classes, Yamaha group piano classes, Music for Young Children classes, etc. It's all good.

An appropriate age for individual lessons? It depends on the level of parental involvement. If no parental involvement, I'd say around age 7/8/9. If a parent has time to sit with a child while they are practicing, then it could be younger.


Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346520 11/06/14 06:59 PM
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For parents who are involved in their kid's education and can play an instrument (like piano), I'd say 5 is a good time to start. 6 is even better.

I don't really advocate group classes unless you're okay with starting over once the kids get to private lessons. Don't expect to learn too much in a group setting.


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346547 11/06/14 08:36 PM
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It depends on when the child is ready to sit for at least 15-20 minutes and follow directions. Some 3-year-olds are ready, and some 6-year-olds aren't.

I was like your 10-month-old. I craved piano from the time I could pull myself up and reach the keys, and I played for fun all the time. My mom helped a little with my playing for fun. But I wasn't ready for private lessons until age 7.

For all children it helps lots if the parent shows interest and pleasure in the child's music. For very young children, instant positive feedback from a parent who is right near the child during practice is very helpful. Sending the child off to another room alone ("Go practice") is too much like being punished for a small child and should be avoided.


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346814 11/07/14 02:43 PM
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I agree it depends on the pupil. The youngest I've taught is 6, and to be honest, I haven't met a child younger than that who I think would have the patience to sit down and learn the piano....yet!

Peter raises a good point. I think you can start exposing children to music much earlier, educating them on different styles, teaching them how to listen to music and how to play simple rhythms etc

Then when they do start to learn the piano, there is a solid platform to work from

Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346883 11/07/14 05:21 PM
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kjherlong,

I talk with the child to observe if they are able to engage in a simple dialogue. If their eyes cannot focus on me when I am talking and they cannot process simple words and respond reasonably well then they are probably too young, or there are other developmental issues. Too shy to talk is something else - I can loosen that up with time and reassurance.

The strength and size of the young hand is an issue as well - if a child's hands are too delicate and small then the keyboard will be a burden.

Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2346938 11/07/14 07:34 PM
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kjherlong, I'm not a piano teacher but I do have a four year old daughter who started piano lessons when she was almost 4.

I highly encourage you to find a teacher you feel is a good fit for your family. You could start asking around for a referral and "snoop" on youtube for any recital videos that parents might have posted. If you find the right teacher, you could proceed from there. Some teachers are willing to work with younger children but I think it's wiser to find the teacher who produces good students and foster love of music even if it means you might have to wait until your son turns 5 or 6.

Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2347853 11/09/14 05:58 PM
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You are in Texas. Look for a Harmony Road school or Yamaha program. Age-appropriate activities in a group setting. Singing, playing with rhythm instruments, piano keyboard activities, ear training. Do this for 3-4 years and then move to private lessons to continue with classical repertoire.


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2347937 11/09/14 10:15 PM
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It does depend on the child. Any time before the age of 12 (where there is a significant window for learning a language naturally) is good. As far as how young, maybe 5 or 6. Younger than that, you will want to look into the early childhood group music classes mentioned before.

These classes generally are very good at exposing children to basic music concepts. They won't learn how to play piano in them, but they will get an understanding of high-low pitches, fast-slow tempos, loud-soft dynamics, things like that. They will probably be decent at singing too, and have a basic understanding of simple rhythms (but may not be able to read notes).


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2347953 11/09/14 11:16 PM
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Mmm... both Yamaha and Harmony Road programs will take a child to early sonatina level, so they are definitely worth checking into. Kindermusik, Music Together and such don't offer piano.


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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2352726 11/20/14 10:35 AM
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My son started at 5 with a Suzuki teacher that started note reading at the same time (The Music Tree series). This was after several years of a kindermusik type class, which was great set up.

I would not start early with a teacher who was not experienced working with younger kids and keeping it light and fun for that age range. I also wouldn't start a younger kid without understanding that it will involve daily enthusiastic parental involvement in terms of practice. Part of starting is just building a habit of getting to the instrument every day - even if it's just for 10 minutes.

My pianist is still taking lessons at 14. smile Good luck!

Last edited by kck; 11/20/14 10:47 AM.

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Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2354523 11/25/14 08:29 AM
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my daughter's teacher won't take students until they are 6 years old. she does do hour long lessons which may be part of it.

Re: The Right Age to Begin Piano?
kjherlong #2355688 11/28/14 03:49 AM
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I started at age 5, but my mother was a very good pianist. I also began singing at age 8 in the choir. I think the early age start is probably most important for string players, where the development of the hand position needs to occur, and it's much more difficult at a later age. I had several friends that began as string players, who migrated to piano as a second instrument. I don't know any who began on piano and migrated to strings or double reeds.


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