Young children... Parents, it's wonderful that your young child is showing an interest in music, & great that you want to nurture that interest! Interest in rhythm, sound and movement is a natural part of every child’s growth. Little bodies want to move to rhythm. Little voices sing without inhibition. Curious minds are fascinated when pushing buttons produces sound.
But does that mean that a child is ready to begin formal piano lessons?
I have taught many little ones over the years. I don't accept them for private lessons until at least second grade now. Why? Because the success rate is not high until then. Little children have tiny fingers & really have a tough time with big piano keys. Their brains are still developing basic eye-hand co-ordination, so individual finger work can be extremely frustrating. A little child’s attention span & patience for sitting still are very short.
Most parents ask, "Well, why not try anyway?" The answer is, "Because your child has a lot to lose."
If a child has a frustrating, unhappy first exposure to music lessons, they remember. Trust me, they remember. After that, they may not be willing to try it again. Why risk that? Every human deserves the best chance have a wonderful, fun, engaging relationship with music!! Waiting a couple of years to start formal music lessons is well worth the time to give the child a more positive start. That's why I LOVE group music programs for little ones. They keep a child's interest engaged while teaching musical rhythm & coordination skills. They give a child the chance to mature and enjoy music at the same time. It's a win/win situation!
If your child is younger than 7, I'd suggest group music classes first. Look for programs like Kindermusik and Music for Young Children. Programs like these are designed specifically for the likes, needs, brain & body development of your little one. They allow small children to move, play instruments, sing, clap & explore their world through music. They teach rhythm, listening, co-ordination, & skills that little ones will need in order to study music successfully in a year or two. Please, wait until your little one is REALLY ready for piano lessons!
Older children and teens... Older children and teens can sometimes run into the dual barriers of time and lack of interest when studying music.
Over-scheduling and stress have become as much an issue with kids as with adults these days. Kids now practice multiple sports, participate in cheerleading or dance squad, travel with robotics team, take lessons in other instruments, etc., etc. Oh, don't forget tons of homework!! Wow. What full lives our kids lead! Music lessons are a big undertaking that must have lots of practice time at home. I ask families to take an honest look at their schedules and decide whether the family as a whole truly has time for one more (big) thing.
Interest can sometimes be an issue, too. All parents want the very best for their children! That goes without saying. Sometimes, parents want music lessons that they didn't have as children. Sometimes parents see other children excelling in music and feel that their children should, too. Neither of these is wrong. Often that's great. Parents, please consider what your child wants, though. If your child is not interested in music, he or she will not enjoy lessons. Practice time at home will become a screaming match between you and your child. Your child won't learn to play, and money will be wasted. If that's the case, isn't it better to find an activity that your child truly enjoys?