If you’re asking this question for yourself, the best time to learn the piano was yesterday, and the second-best time is right now. If you are considering enrolling your children in piano, the information below should help you make an informed decision. As one of the premiere destinations for piano lessons in London, we at the London Piano Centre would be happy to help you decide if you or your child should enroll in lessons.
Young children can benefit from taking lessons, but discipline and regular practise are usually an issue. Teenager beginners can certainly get caught up at the keyboard fairly quickly, but with college and other life concerns looming, piano will often take a back seat. Adults often like the idea of taking lessons, but they get carried away with the notion that they can simply sit down and play their favorite tunes with a glass of wine — they don’t realize that it takes months or years of work to get to that level.
In truth, any age can be a great age to learn the piano if the student can commit to diligent and mature practise. Children will require an adult’s help, and adults will have to get comfortable with practising even when they don’t feel like it.
What Age Should I Let My Child Start Piano?
Six to nine is generally considered a great window for starting piano lessons, and that holds true for two reasons:
- Children of that age have developed enough fine motor skills to learn the intricacies of the piano
- Children aged 6-9 have often experienced classroom instruction already, and they are ready to sit and listen attentively for 30 minutes or so in a lesson
Now, if you missed the 6-9 window, is it too late? Will your child forever be behind his peers? Absolutely not.
Children and teenagers have a remarkable ability to internalize information (unfortunately, it gets harder to the learn things as adults age), and if a student starts at 10, 11, 12, or even in the early teenage years, they can catch up with most pianists in their age bracket within a few years if they practise diligently.
And that’s just the thing. Children between the ages of 6-9 could accomplish remarkable things at the keyboard if they applied themselves, but it’s rare for a child to really give the piano the attention it deserves. Hence, children and teenagers who start a bit later can catch up relatively quickly if they practise everyday and seek quality instruction.
Can a 3 Year Old Learn Piano?
A three year old can learn the piano, but frankly, your time is better spent cultivating enjoyment and fascination in your young child at the piano. Three year olds love discovering and exploring, and if you have a piano sitting around (or even a toy keyboard), they will probably entertain themselves by playing around with the keys and enjoying the sounds your instrument makes. As soon as you make this entertainment formal — by enrolling them in lessons, for instance — the magic very often disappears.
Some children are an exception to the rule, of course, and you will have to be judicious. But please realize that three year olds who should be taking lessons are very few and far between!
Do Children Who Start At Ages 3, 4, or 5 Have an Advantage?
Sometimes, if a student shows an above average aptitude at the piano, and if this aptitude is paired with regular disciplined practise, a student can “get ahead” as a pianist. However, it’s very rare for children of this age to take advantage of the situation. Lessons often turn into glorified babysitting sessions, and the parents get more value from the lessons than the students do.
Very young children who see their older siblings or parents practising the piano have a better chance of getting ahead than other kids; children learn by observation first and foremost.
Tips For Starting Your Child At The Piano
Can your child count, and do they know their letters? They are prerequisites for taking formal lessons. If your child isn’t quite at that level, you can speed their learning along and sign them up for lessons once they understand basic counting and spelling.
You can also encourage their love of the piano by helping them pick out tunes by ear, even before they start lessons — that familiarity with high pitches, low pitches, steps, and skips will help them progress at the piano faster.
You will also have to be willing to practise with them (you can’t expect a 5 year old to diligently sit at your piano and refer to his lesson notes). Ask your teacher how you can help your child practise – the teacher will be elated.
You may also need to get your child a bench that adjusts quite high, and your child will need a stool for his or her feet. You don’t want your child playing with bad technique from an early age.
Lastly, you may benefit from getting an electric keyboard with different voices and backtracks — it can be fun for kids to practise with a beat in the background or with a funny voice on the keyboard.
Is It Too Late To Learn the Piano?
Without knowing your exact situation, we are confident in saying that no, it is never too late to learn the piano. Adults of all ages become fulfilled musicians at many stages of life, and children can learn very young or in their teenage years. We work with school age children, working professionals, and retired individuals, and we’ve seen people in all stations reach their goals.
Take Piano Lessons in London
If you or your child would like to sign up for a trial lesson at our studio, we would be happy to hear from you. You can enroll in lessons online or in person, and our teachers have worked with students of every age. Beginners and advanced students alike are welcome!