When to Get Your Children Started with Music Lessons

When to Get Your Children Started with Music Lessons

Mozart composed his first symphony at the age of 8. Who can’t forget Michael Jackson and his brothers performing on the Ed Sullivan show. Both Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock came out on the R&B and jazz scenes before turning 13. So can your child become like Mozart, Jackson and the rest?

We all want our children to be great at something. We want them to excel in their studies and in their talents. Music is one place to get your child started on a path that develops concentration and a sustained work ethic. In order to become excellent at music and as the old adage says, “get to Carnegie Hall”, it takes “practice, practice, practice.”

Everyone has to start somewhere and hit that first key. Mozart, Hancock and Wonder all touched a piano for the first time and Michael Jackson probably belted out a melody at a young age. Though some children are consider precocious or even prodigies at music, the majority are not. As a parent, it’s important to not become obsessed with your child becoming a prodigy.

As research and studies have proved, there is an optimal window where a child’s learning of a musical instrument is inherently beneficial. And in this time, their receptors to tone, musical theory and technique can flourish. From birth until the age of 9 is considered by these studies as a good time to have your child introduced to music.

Yet, we don’t want children who down the road lament and develop a hatred for music, instruments and lessons. There have been plenty of stories of children who became talented at their respective instruments but burn out at a very young age. So what can a parent do to keep children interested in music and in taking lessons?

First, keep them interested in music without touching an instrument. If you have a child that is learning or is an at advanced level, they can learn all they want on the instrument. But have them notice music that is playing on the radio or that is a background score for a television show or movie. Many children do not want to be the next Mozart or Beethoven -- perhaps they want to be the next John Williams or Hans Zimmer.

Second, have them develop a collection of music and notation. CD’s, MP3 and other audio forms can be bought and downloaded. Part of being a musician is being an appreciator of the art. Have them love music and collect music. Songbooks, notations are other items that will keep your child interested in playing.

Third, let them play whatever they want to play. Part of the learning process is trying to play any genre and on top of that is seeking new genres to play. There is no perfect way to play one song, but there are many different interpretation. If your child wants to play a classical version of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” let them. And if you child want to starts learning how to play country chords with a twang, let them.

Learning and instrument and becoming proficient takes some time. As we get older, it definite becomes easier to learn these skills. But children at a young age have a lot to learn at school and in the home. Practicing and playing musical instruments does sharpen the intellect and develop a solid work ethic, but let it be fun and understand that it takes time to hone the skill.


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