Is Preschool The Best Age To Start Piano?
Is preschool the best age to start piano? Many parents know that playing piano even a few minutes a day has many benefits for children. Today we want to consider the youngest of the children, the preschoolers. Among the benefits of piano lessons are better math scores, better handwriting and better handling of tasks in general. But what age to start this beneficial process? Research indicates that the younger a child starts piano lessons, the more benefit they derive from it. But the younger the child, the more gentle the process must be.
Every Child Is Different
In general, most parents look to start between the ages of three and six. But there are many factors to consider the younger you want to start. Every child is different, which is why the “one size fits all” attitude of conventional piano lessons does not work for the average child. First of all, the child must be old enough to understand symbols, both letters and numbers. Those children that have only a dim grasp of these symbols (letters and numbers) will benefit from a study of the piano.
Next, they must have at least enough dexterity to be able to move all their fingers independently. The younger the child, the more the likelihood that they will instinctively use their index finger. This is fine for a long while, until they demonstrate the ability to get beyond that single finger.
Emotional Maturity Required
Most important is the emotional maturity of the child. Can they be around strangers, even kindly and warm avuncular ones? Do they need the constant presence of a parent? Does the child have the ability to carry out even a simple task without frustration?
Even if the child exhibits positively all the factors above, to some degree or other, there is one more important factor. The teacher is the most important factor. A patient, talented and kind teacher who specializes in teaching preschool kids the piano can be the most important element of all. A good preschool piano teacher is so patient and entertaining that the child is allowed time to develop all the above skills while they are learning.
What Teacher Is Best?
Look for a piano teacher that understands that the first victory to be won is to interest the child in the instrument itself. Once you have that, you can proceed in almost any direction. This means playing the piano for the child, so they see what it can do, and all the fun sounds it can make. Lastly, try to find a teacher that will teach the child as an individual, not in a group. General introductory play and some learning can be carried out successfully in a group. But piano lessons require intense one-on-one attention that is not possible in a group.
Children also benefit from the one-on-one attention that piano lessons naturally provide. Look for a piano teacher specializing in preschool. They should know how to go slowly enough for your child that they are not frustrated in any way by their first piano lessons. Look for a fun personality, not a stern task-master.
Arguments Against Preschool Piano
If you cannot find a fun professional who specializes in preschoolers, consider delaying lessons until you can find the right teacher. Think very carefully before sending a preschooler to a teacher, however well-intentioned, who has a reputation as a disciplinarian. The reason for this is that you can only lose the battle of the piano once. Once a child decides that piano is too hard, and thinks they are “no good” at it, it is almost impossible to renew that first interest. Make absolutely certain that the first experience at the piano is a happy one for the child.