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Old 08-08-2014, 10:16 AM   #1
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When to start piano lessons?

Background: My oldest really wanted to learn guitar, so we got him a 1/2 size guitar for his 6th birthday present last year, and made arrangements with a local teacher who works with kids (who also said he had never taught guitar to a child that young but it shouldn't be a problem). Well, it was! Aside from his arms being too short and his fingers not strong enough for a real guitar, I had to help him practice every day and it was a mess! I have never played guitar, had no idea what the fingerings and notes meant, and my son could not read yet so he HAD to have my help with daily practicing (from the book). It was like I was trying to teach him Chinese without knowing it myself, and we quit after the first year (and now we both both hate the guitar ).

Now he is almost 7. I would like my children to have some music training and am considering piano lessons. We have a fabulous teacher who lives about 25 minutes away, who even taught my husband to play as a kid! We are starting homeschooling this year, I also have a 5-month-old, a 2.5-year-old, and 4.5-year-old, and once a week piano lessons will eat at least an hour and a half every week. What I am really nervous about, though, is the practicing. I don't want to be a part of it!!! I know piano, I can read music, but I am soooooooo busy as it is. My son is starting to read, he is not fluent but I am hoping that homeschooling will get him there soon.

The way we homeschool now is do math and language arts in the morning and alternate history, art, and science in the afternoons. We could throw music into that rotation with piano lessons once a week. But can he be successful without an adult helping him practice, and just doing it mostly on his own? Between schooling, cooking, cleaning, laundry, spending time with the little ones, nursing the baby, etc etc, I just don't have time to add more to my my daily schedule. Once a week, probably. But not every day.

Is 7 old enough to do this on his own?


Last edited by Melinda29; 08-08-2014 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: When to start piano lessons?

In our town the ideal age most piano teachers like the best to start is 3rd grade. They will teach younger (and happily do so) but if you asked their recommendation on when to start they will say 3rd. This is in part for reading skills - the better you read the easier it is to learn to read piano (I think this is the reason given but I might be off). They say if they teach younger kids it is just a bit more work and they just go at a slower pace. DD1 started piano last year in 3rd grade and I didn't help her practice at all. I had to remind her sometimes to practice but she did it all on her own. I think once she had a song she struggled with and she asked me for advice on how she could get it down before her next lesson (and then her teacher gave her more help at her next lesson) but that is the extent of what I help her with. Maybe try asking the teacher you know if she feels your son is ready yet at age 7. I know around here some of the teachers will give a sample lesson to see if the child really wants to try doing lessons.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:41 PM   #3
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Re: When to start piano lessons?

We started my daughter right after she turned 7. We would have sooner, but couldn't find a teacher. We are about to start my 6.5 year old son next week as well. My daughter has done well, but if you are looking to not have to do much 7 is probably still young. My daughter has had a little over a year now and I still have to help her some. I don't have any musical background either and have had to learn along with her to be able to help. It doesn't bother me because I wanted to know as well. I agree with the previous poster about 3rd grade in your circumstance though.
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:58 PM   #4
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I'm a piano teacher! PPs are correct- 3rd grade is a solid place to start, especially if you expect your child to practice on their own. But definitely talk to the teacher to learn about her methods- some methods/teachers expect a LOT more parental engagement (Suzuki method, for example)- and make sure the teacher knows where you stand.
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:14 AM   #5
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Re: When to start piano lessons?

We started my daughter's piano when she was nearly 8 and it seemed like a good choice. She was old enough to read and do most of the practicing and all that independently.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:50 AM   #6
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Re: When to start piano lessons?

I've been playing piano since I was 4. A 7-year-old should definitely be ready for lessons. I've also read that you can't start guitar lessons too young, since kids simply are not physically equipped to handle the instrument (I remember trying to learn guitar when I was a senior in high school and finding it extremely difficult on my hands).

Another nice thing about starting with piano is that it gives you a fundamental understanding of musical theory. It's so much easier to learn other instruments when you have piano as a base (I started violin when I was 11 and progressed really quickly with it because of my piano background).

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