For most students, ages 5-6 are the best time to start taking piano lessons. At this age, they are old enough to begin learning to read music, sit through lessons and short practice sessions, and have the manual dexterity to manipulate keys. Younger students who take an interest in the piano should be allowed to explore the instrument to gain familiarity and confidence with it. It’s also important to remember a child is also never “too old” to begin learning to play the piano.
How do I know if my child is ready for piano lessons?
The biggest signifier that your child is ready for piano lessons is their interest in playing the and their physical and mental ability to sit through lessons and regular practices. Your child’s hands should also be big enough to span 5 white keys and they should have the finger strength to be able to press keys one at a time.
1. Big Enough Hands
If your child’s hands cannot yet span 5 white keys, they may not be ready for piano lessons. While your child doesn’t yet need to be able to reach beyond five keys at a time, they can develop bad form if they have to make movements to compensate and reach keys even in home position.
2. Manual Dexterity
It is okay if your child does not have to have perfect dexterity to begin playing the piano. This is because piano lessons will help strengthen this ability. However, being able to move fingers independently can make it significantly easier for a child to learn to play the piano. If your child can use scissors or color in the lines, she may be ready for piano lessons. If your child doesn’t seem ready yet, help strengthen their fingers and dexterity by adding more time to play with playdough or clay!
3. Ability to Sit Through a Lesson
Since taking piano lessons requires sitting down for a 30-60-minute lesson, you should feel confident that your child will be able to work with a teacher for a full lesson. Some students respond better to teachers than they do with parents, so if you’re unsure, set up a meeting or trial piano lesson to see how your child responds.
4. Know the Alphabet
Does your child know the alphabet (at least from A-G)? Since piano notes are in alphabetical order, this skill can be important in understanding the different notes on the piano.
5. Be Able to Count to Ten
Being able to count to ten is another important skill that signifies your child may be ready for piano lessons. Being able to hold down notes for the proper length of time takes knowing how to count. If your child is struggling to count, they may not be able to connect the numbers with the types of notes they’re playing.
6. Ability to Read (Sometimes)
Being able to read can help students at younger ages more easily be able to read music. However, this skill isn’t necessary. The main ways this can help make your child ready for piano lessons are developing their ability to track their eyes from left to right and down a page and understanding that each individual note means something (the way each word in a book means something). As long as you’ve been reading regularly to your child, they’re likely developing skills that will help them in piano lessons.
As an additional note, piano lessons help improve reading skills for these reasons as well.
7. Interest in Music
They show an interest in music or the piano. If your child is already showing signs of being interested in music or in playing the piano, that is often a positive sign that they may be ready to consider taking piano lessons.
How Can We Help?
Would you like help assessing whether your child is ready for piano lessons? Reach out! Yamaha Music School is an internationally-acclaimed global music program. Our teachers are highly-experienced and certified in Yamaha’s top music curriculum. Learn more about our piano lessons here or contact us today.