These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning your instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences with teaching hundreds of students a year.
How young is too Young? – Starting at the right age
Adults can start an instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. We have a number of beginner students that are retired and many that are working adults. Our teachers are available late in the evening to accommodate work schedules.
For children starting at the right age is a key element to the success of the lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can sometimes backfire and be a negative experience for the child. If they are put into lessons too soon then they can feel overwhelmed and frustrated and dread coming to lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off to music just because of one unpleasant experience, which could have been prevented. Sometimes if a child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child should starts taking music lessons.
3-4 Years old
If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, a group preschool music class will give them a good foundation in music basics, which will be helpful in later private lessons. At this age, private lessons generally do not work as the child has not yet experienced the formal learning environment of kindergarten or school and learns effectively through game oriented preschool environment.
At our school 5 years is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.
Guitar – Acoustic, Electric and Bass
7 years is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons, although we have had a few students start earlier. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 7 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass lessons generally start a little older.
Depending on the child we offer voice and performance lessons to younger children 6-9 that teaches them how to use their voices properly in a fun and relaxed environment. Ages 9 and up can usually focus more on voice performance and proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity.
The average age of our drum students is 8 years old, however the ability of the student greatly varies and depends on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.
Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone – the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.
Violin & Viola
We find that age 5 is a good age to start violin. However we do have a couple of students who are 4 and some schools will offer lessons as young as 3 years old (we do not have a program for such a young student) but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.
The Trumpet requires physical exertion and lung power A good age to start the trumpet would be 9 years and older.