“When should I start instrumental lessons for my child?” is a question parents often ask me. This is a complicated question that causes a lot of parental anxiety. I usually ask the parents if the child seems interested in the instrument at this time. This is often the key to success.
For example, if your child is asking to play the piano you might well want to find a piano teacher in the area who teaches individual or group lessons for the children of the same age. Trying it won’t hurt anything. If it doesn’t work out at least your child knows that you are listening to him or her.
If your child is a preschooler you can look into parent/child music classes in your area. Classes such as Music Together, Kindermusik or Musikgarten are a great way to get a child off to a good musical start. By attending group classes with your child you show that child that you value music. During these classes you will sing, play and move to songs and music in class. You will also get a book and recording to use at home so that you can reinforce the activities used in class.
When your child reaches elementary school I hope that your child will have a music specialist who will build upon those things learned earlier in the preschool classes. In upper elementary school your child should have the option of joining the school chorus or choir. Some schools even offer instrumental music to children in fourth and fifth grade.
All of these musical activities build upon each other and stimulate the synapses in the brain that will stand your child in good stead later in his or her musical life. I’d love to hear about your child’s musical experiences – what they’ve asked for and what you have tried. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.