Should My Child Take Piano Lessons?
"I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy, but most importantly MUSIC for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning." - Plato
The piano is the foundation for a good musician, and once that foundation is strong the musician can grow and develop. The sky is then the limit!
5 Reasons Children Should Take Piano Lessons
- Learning Piano Improves Brain Development
Increased memory, dexterity, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, listening and communication skills are all a result of learning to play the piano and the daily practice that learning to play the piano requires.
- Playing Piano Increases Self Confidence
Children who practice (and yes, struggle!) to play piano feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when they are successful. The correlation between hard work and achievement inevitably boosts their self confidence. Additionally, having the experience of playing in front of others for recitals is a necessary life skill for success.
- Kids Who Play Piano Have Higher Emotional Awareness
Music is meant to make us FEEL something. I can see in my own children that attention to creating emotion in a piece of music calls on them to tap into their own emotions. I firmly believe that when our piano players listen to beautiful music they are also more in tune (no pun intended) to the mood of the music.
- Reading Comprehension is Better in Kids Who Play Piano
The ability to discriminate between pitch, which is a fundamental ability you learn when playing piano, was linked to good reading performance according to a 1993 Educational Journal psychology article. Memorizing music for a performance exercises reading comprehension skills and the portion of your brain responsible for recall.
- Playing Piano Reduces Stress and Anxiety
I've seen it in my own life and in my children's lives, too - sitting down to play the piano is therapeutic. When something is bothering us, you can usually find us sitting at the piano engaging in our own music therapy.
Now we know just five of the benefits of playing piano - but how does a parent know if their child is ready to play?
There are many schools of thought on this, so I'm offering you my opinion as a degreed piano teacher and music educator with many years of giving piano lessons - as well as seeing my own two children through piano lessons.
5 Signs Your Child is Ready for Piano Lessons
- Do they know left from right?
This is a very basic skill your child should know without hesitation. Playing piano depends so much on right hand and left hand awareness (as well as counting 1-5 for their finger numbers).
- Can they focus for 20-30 minutes?
In a traditional piano lesson, listening and focusing for at least 20-30 minutes will help your child be successful. It's very hard for a piano teacher to work with a child who is unable to sit still and practice the habit of attention.
- How are their fine motor skills?
How does your child do with things like holding a pencil and cutting? Having good fine motor skills will make learning to play the piano much less frustrating! Finger independence is a must for playing the piano!
- Are they expressing an interest?
I'm not one who thinks the child should call all the shots - but are they interested in playing piano? Have they asked you to take lessons? My second child didn't ask me, and was even a bit reluctant at his first lesson, but as his mom I knew that once he got started he would love it (and he did!).
- Can they read fluently?
If your child is reading fluently chances are they will be able to read music more quickly. I know this point can be one of controversy - but again this is based on my experience with students.
(And - it seems that they optimal age for starting piano lessons is around 8 or 9, although I've taught older children who do very well!)
I hope this post has answered some of your piano questions! If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comments below. I'm happy to answer them!
Music Appreciation and Piano
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