Although some parents would like to believe otherwise, not every child is born with inherent musical gifts.
While some children can pick up the violin at the age of four and take to the instrument right away, other children struggle or display no interest in playing music whatsoever.
Even though some children may struggle, it doesn’t mean that they “aren’t cut out” to play music. It just means that now is not the right time for them to start.
This of course begs the question: “When is the right time?”
Since we didn’t know the answer we decided to put the question to the teachers who use our site to promote their lessons, and came up with a good set of guidelines to follow when considering giving your kids music lessons:
1. Pay attention to your child’s interest in music
In order for a young child to be receptive to music lessons it’s important to determine if they’re interested in music in the first place. If your child spends half the day singing or just appears to listen to music attentively, chances are they’d be very receptive to music lessons.
2. Let them try out different instruments
Even if your child displays an interest in playing music, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a natural violin or piano player. Oftentimes it takes a lot of trial and error to find and instrument that they enjoy playing. Give them a chance to try the violin, the piano, the drums and see what they take to. By giving your child room to make their own decisions regarding what they want to practice, you’ll motivate them to practice more.
3. Exposure first, lessons later
Get your child to go group singing events and children’s concerts. Have them participate in music classes by giving them a simple instrument to play so that they can get a good feel of what it’s like participating in the music. Technique and formal lessons can come later. Let your children have fun with music first.
4. Let the music teachers decide
Instead of pushing lessons on your children, bring your child to a music teacher and let them help you decide if they’re ready to start playing an instrument. Teachers know the motor skills, attention span and temperament that a child needs in order to start learning how to play an instrument. Trust their judgment.
Every child is different, and just because one child is ready to play at four years of age and another child isn’t ready until they’re ten doesn’t mean that the latter child isn’t a less gifted musician. Many kids who start learning in their early to late teens can often pick up an instrument much more quickly than very young children can. What’s important is that they learn at their own pace.
This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, written with the help of the TeachStreet community. TeachStreet is a website dedicated to providing local and online lessons as well as piano lessons and violin lessons