I asked a mother of one of my piano students (who has 7 children who are at various stages of music training) to give her thoughts and ideas about music lessons and children. Here are some of Lisa’s thoughts:
What is a good age to start? Our oldest son was six. He was so hyper that a 30 minute lesson was all he could stand. I have seen younger children begin music lessons, but the successful ones are usually those families with one or two children.
What are the advantages of starting early? It becomes a part of your life and a part of your routine. We have all learned a lot about music. We have also learned about baby steps and small amounts of progress over time. I don’t think it is always that way with other things, like sports.
What other areas of life are affected by music lessons? My son has gained focus and can concentrate better from all of his practicing. He also has learned about team work from playing in the orchestra. With chair auditions, he has been first chair and also 22nd chair, so he has learned that there is always someone in front of you and always someone behind. He has learned that if you practice you will have a good outcome (usually) and there are consequences if you don’t. Another son has learned to work at something that he finds difficult and he is starting to play the piano as a stress release.
How do you keep your children interested in practicing? I think we just do it every day, like brushing our teeth or doing math problems. I have never been big on elaborate reward systems. In the beginning I would help my son practice 10 minutes before his favorite television show came on and he would get to watch it when he was finished. If he messed around, it ate into his television program. Now he practices on his own.