The Right Age for a Child to Start Piano Lessons (Videos)
Is there a right time in a child’s life to embark upon piano study?
The answer is not clear as I’ve discovered from years of teaching.
With technology creating an environment in which children as young as two or three are propped up at electronic keyboards hooked into big-size computer screens, the whole area of learning “piano,” or a toyish substitute for it, can be clouded with ambiguity.
So let’s start with the premise that piano lessons involve teaching a child to play on an acoustic instrument. A hammer-weight digital, comes in a distant second, since the nuances of touch and tone can’t be explored in depth.
That said, I usually recommend that a child begin weekly private piano lessons between the age of 6 and 7, but in some instances, after a preliminary interview, I might advise an earlier or later start.
Since I’m not a Suzuki teacher who follows the paradigm that piano learning is closely allied to language acquisition, and therefore incorporates a model of imitating the teacher’s playing without awareness of notation and musical symbols, I would decline students as young as 2 or 3. In essence, I don’t want children to “play by ear” as their primary learning vehicle because of its tendency to become habit-forming.
Rina, 5, a poster child for an instructional jump start, proved to me that a 4-year old (the age she began) could integrate cognitive, affective, and kinesthetic processes in a healthy, ever-growing piano-learning experience.
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