When Should My Child Begin Music Lessons?
Tags: Cello, Dance, Early Childhood Music, fiddle, Guitar, Piano, Violin
It is becoming more widely known that a child’s instrumental music education throughout their school years plays a big part in their cognitive development even to the point of boosting students’ S.A.T. scores. Parents ask “At what age should a child begin lessons?”
Physically children are developmentally more ready to sit or stand still and hold and instrument around the age of 7. But many professional, successful musicians began their music journey at a very young age, even as young as 3 years old. What is most practical and more likely to lead to a child continuing with music as they grow older?
Even at birth a child’s brain is programed to react strongly to musical input as they are seeking patterns that will help them decipher the world around them especially language. Babies, even infants, will dance their bodies in response to music and coo, babble or fuss using pitches that they are hearing at the moment. Infancy is the perfect time to begin your child’s music journey. Sing, dance, keep the beat with all different kinds of music and attend live music events when you can. Taking a class like Kindermusik
can give you ideas of ways to interact with music that will be meaningful for your baby. These classes also offer the social element of music which is important for baby’s development and a huge part what is the music experience.
For toddlers and preschoolers, the early childhood music classes
encourage listening skills, keeping the beat (independently and with a group), turn taking and ensemble playing, creative movement, developing the ear and singing on pitch and many more skills that promote musicality that will lead them to success with future music lessons.
Kindermusik classes begin at infancy and continue through 7 years old culminating in a music literacy curriculum that will give your child the skills to read notes and rhythms and even hear the tune from the printed page. Children in these classes will be introduced to the instruments of the orchestra, even trying out several, giving them the experience needed to inform their choices of which instrument they would like to pursue. With this foundation children will begin making music right away in their private lessons, leading to positive feedback which encourages them keep going!
During this developmental period it is important that the parents remain highly involved in nurturing a love for music by listening daily to quality music and moving to music in the home, exposing the child to live music events in the community and modeling their own love for music. Talk often about specific instruments that your child might be interested in. Listen to those instruments and give your child exposure to videos, recordings and live performances. Children with musical parents may have an advantage but it is not a predetermining factor in the success of your child’s musical journey.
When your child is ready for private lessons contact Joyful Noise
to schedule a lesson or to observe a lesson with a teacher!
Once you’ve chosen your teacher and started lessons, stay involved. Many children will maintain interest in a fun environment where the parent is present and positive. (Students may not be ready to practice independently until between the ages of 14-16. Be careful not to let their practice time seem like a “TIME OUT!”) Turn off the electronics and “play” together. Continue listening to recordings daily and encourage your child to participate from the beginning in the many performance opportunities offered by the Joyful Noise community. Keep the music instrument in good playing condition (tune the piano, update the strings of the violin etc) Maintain open communication with your child’s teacher as a positive relationship between teacher, student and parent is really the 3 legged stool that is the foundation for success.
With this journey continuing through the high school years you will find one priceless benefit is a beautiful and close relationship between you and your child. Enjoy!
Music Makes Us Better Students and Better Citizens
MATHEMATICS SKILLS: Certain types of music instruction help develop the capacity for spatial temporal reasoning, which is integral to the acquisition of important mathematics skills. Spatial temporal reasoning refers to the ability to understand the relationship of ideas and objects in space and time.
READING AND LANGUAGE SKILLS: Music instruction enhances and complements basic reading skills, language development and writing skills. The study of music provides a context for teaching language skills because music is a language and a powerful form of communication.
THINKING SKILLS: Reasoning ability, intuition, perception, imagination, inventiveness, creativity, problem-solving skills and expression are among the thought processes developed through the study of music.
SOCIAL SKILLS: Music education promotes growth in positive social skills including self-confidence, self-control, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy and social tolerance.
MOTIVATION TO LEARN: Music nurtures a motivation to learn by emphasizing active engagement, disciplined and sustained attention, persistence and risk taking, among other competencies.
Source: Ruppert, Sandra S.: Critical Evidence – How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, 2006.