When to Begin Piano Lessons

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There is quite a broad range in maturity at ages 5-7. I usually recommend meeting in person so I can assess a child's development level and determine if they are ready to start lessons. Physically, children need to have developed the fine motor skills in their fingers to a certain point of independent control before they will be ready. If you're not sure about how to assess this with your child, you can try this simple finger dexterity test.

In addition to the physical requirements above, here are some other important readiness factors:

  1. Does your child know the difference between left and right?  Playing the piano requires the use of both hands, so being able to distinguish one hand from the other is an important skill.

  2. Does your child know the alphabet, specifically the first seven letters (A-B-C-D-E-F-G)? The musical alphabet is made of seven letters.  It is important for your child to be able to identify and name these letters in order to identify individual keys on the keyboard. While I do not focus on reading notes until much later, students will still benefit greatly from being able to recognize the first seven letters of the alphabet on the page, as this is still used to indicate chord progressions and form.

  3. Can your child read?  While it is not an absolute necessity, a child with even basic reading comprehension will find a lot of things easier, including the ability to practice more independently because they can read the instructions on their own.  Much of the music in this program tends to have lyrics for the child to sing while they practice.  Being able to read allows students to sing the lyrics while they play which can increase their rhythmic accuracy and timing. Again, this is not a deal-breaker. Many younger students of mine have easily overcome this hurdle by listening to the provided audio tracks and memorizing the lyrics.

  4. Can your child count to ten? Counting rhythm (1-2-3-4...etc.) does not require an advanced understanding of math, but beginners are expected to have some experience with counting out loud and even recognizing numbers 1-10. Recognizing the distance between notes (intervals) also relies on some familiarity with fractions (half and whole steps).

All of the above are considerations for parents wondering when their child is actually ready to begin lessons. For students who are NOT quite ready, there are a number of excellent music programs in the area that cater to younger children - preschoolers and even toddlers.