We’ve all heard stories of famous musical prodigies, from Mozart to Stevie Wonder. Even if your child isn’t performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic at age 11, your family is no doubt exposed to talented children in their neighborhood. From church choir to elementary school band concerts, there is no greater joy to a music teacher than recognizing the origins of lifelong musical passion at a young age. Your child may be able to sing the words to their favorite song on the radio or may be banging on that toy keyboard for hours on end. This brings up the thought that your child is starting to exhibit some musical talent and maybe you should sign them up for lessons. Then the thought of if they are old enough for lessons comes to mind. It is incredibly difficult to gauge whether a child is ready for lessons based on age alone. Instead, ask yourself these following questions before enrolling your child in music lessons.
Is My Child Able to Focus For a 30 Minute Lesson?
Most music lessons, especially for young children, will last around 30 minutes. For some children, even 30 minutes can be an extremely difficult amount of time to sit still and focus on one thing. That being said, if you are worried that your child may not be able to sit through a lesson, that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful. The student-teacher relationship is also important for them to become successful. Ask your potential teacher the following questions to assess how your child might do in his or her music lessons.
How do you organize your lesson time?
This is important for not only preparing your child for what to expect but to also evaluate the level of flexibility in lessons. Some young children do better with stricter, more focused lessons while others need to bounce from activity to activity every few minutes. Some teachers will adjust to each student’s needs and others like to stick with their teaching style. There is no correct way to balance lesson time because every student is different. The method that works best is one that allows your child to be successful.
Does my child travel to your teaching studio for lessons, or do you travel to my home?
Usually, the teacher/student location is a non-issue. That being said, if your child has a more difficult time focusing at home rather than in a teaching studio, then it may be worth considering the location for lessons.
Do you currently have other students around the same age as my child?
This is all about the teacher’s comfort level with young children. While it isn’t necessary for a teacher to specialize in teaching young children, the comfort level of a teacher does affect the student’s comfort level. Additionally, a teacher with other students of the same age as your child may be open to the possibility of group lessons.
Can My Child Read?
Communication between students and teachers is primarily verbal. However, teachers will write down assignments for practice time and lesson books do have instructions that need to be reviewed while the student practices. Also, the basics of music theory require an understanding of the alphabet (or at least letters A to G). An inability to read will not impact the success of music lessons, but it will make progress slower if they are unable to practice and understand assignments. If the parent is willing to sit down with the student and help communicate written assignments and directions, then the student’s reading ability won’t cause too much of a disadvantage.
Does My Child Have Time To Learn an Instrument?
Consider the hours in your child’s week. How much of that time is spent in school, completing homework, sports, daycare, and doing everyday things (meals, baths, downtime)? When you have an idea of your child’s schedule, then factor in the 30 minutes a week for lessons, plus travel time, and the time spent every day practicing. You also have to think about if you have the time to help your child practice if needed. When considering whether your child has time to practice, think about consistency over duration. It is better to practice for 10 minutes a day than to practice an hour once a week. If it doesn’t seem possible for your child to spend 10 or so minutes practicing every day while still enjoying the process of learning an instrument and not feeling overwhelmed, then now may not be the time to enroll in music lessons for kids.
Make your decision with confidence. Start your child on the path towards a musical education with Performing Arts! Musiking introduces young children ages 2-6 to the wonders of music through exposure to various instruments and music theory. Contact Performing Arts to learn more about Musiking lessons for your