I am often asked about when to start music lessons for young children and what to look for in a teacher. Here are a few thoughts.
When choosing a teacher for children under 10 and especially under 7, it’s important to find someone who specializes in and works well with young children. Teaching techniques for children over 10 are quite different and can lead to younger children “not liking music”. A teacher can be an incredible musician, but if they don’t understand how to work with young children, your child may be turned off to music lessons all together.
So, it is most important that you get to view a class or meet the teacher first. A couple of things to look for in a teacher are patience and teaching strategies which may include shortening lessons for young children and incorporating physical movement into the lessons.
Some national curricula like Kindermusik and Musikgarten have a 5-7 year old program although not all teachers are qualified to teach it. You can find out which teacher do include this program at their national websites listed below. These type of group classes work well for most children.
As for private lessons kids can generally start around age 7 or when your child shows an interest in an instrument. General music lessons can work well for young children. Many teachers like myself run a one-year program that introduces young children to several instruments so we can get a feel for what instrument family will be a good fit.
Music lessons teach patience and practice, along with language, math, and presentation skills If your child is interested in playing an instrument it’s a great way to grow and build confidence.
Here are some good national music programs for young children. Keep in mind the classes are only as good as the local teacher so always view a class or ask for recommendations first.