The most common time for children to be ready for piano study is age 5 to 6, though some children are ready as early as age 3 or 4 if they have strong interest and full parental support. Others may not be ready until age 7 or 8. To ensure a successful experience, both children and their parents need to be ready for lessons.
Children ready for piano lessons need to:
- Know the difference between left and right hands
- Be able to count at least to 5.
- Be able to identify patterns and groupings (for example, groups of three black keys on the piano)
- Be able to focus and follow instructions for up to 30 minutes at a time (15-20 for youngest beginners)
- Either know or be starting to learn the alphabet (A to G)
Parents of children taking piano lessons need to:
- Own an appropriate instrument. Beginners can start out on an electronic keyboard, but they will soon need a true piano (good pianos available on Craig’s List for free or up to about $300).
- Support their child by providing a regular quiet time for practice and encouraging daily practice.
- Assist very young beginners by sitting in on lessons and supervising each practice session (about 10-15 minutes per day).
- Be prepared for the financial and time commitment of weekly lessons.
Piano lessons are a fundamental way to gain a broad appreciation of music. However, the real benefits that arise from playing the piano are primarily non-musical. – source
Studying a musical instrument, especially piano, has tremendous benefits.
- Help children perfect their natural learning processes. Music is a language, and children are programmed to absorb languages. Piano lessons help children develop the very same skills used in language activities such as reading. Children who study piano also test higher in spatial cognitive development and math skills, and show increased verbal ability.
- Raise self-esteem as they teach children to persevere. Understanding that mastering a new skill or learning a new piece of music is a process that requires patience helps children to approach tasks with confidence and not become discouraged or frustrated.
- Improve mental and physical coordination. Piano lessons develop hand-eye coordination and the use of both sides of the brain. A piano student learns to read two lines of music, using both ears, arms, legs, feet and all ten fingers, with the brain giving each body part a different assignment to perform simultaneously.
- Help children set specific goals and then work towards reaching these goals. Students also learn to think critically and creatively as they decide how to make the music come to life
- Preserve and develop children’s natural creative abilities as they interpret a piece for themselves and even create their own music.
- Help children develop courage. It takes courage to face challenges without letting our anxiety and worries get the best of us. Piano lessons help students learn to accept challenges such as learning a difficult song and performing in front of others.
The best benefit of all? Joy! Being able to create something beautiful and express oneself in a way others can also appreciate is a true joy.
[The above is a “mashup” and condensation of Cynithia Vanlandingham’s wonderful list and KeyNotes Piano Studio’s discussion. Read both for additional links and more information about the tremendous benefits of piano study.]