Ready or not?
Ready or not? As parents we always want the best for our kids! We’re eager for them to do activities that are educational, beneficial to their IQ, and deliver lifelong enjoyment–such as music lessons. I get asked all the time, “is my child ready for music lessons?” Most parents really can’t wait to get their child into music lessons but they’re not sure when the time is right.
Good news, folks! There is no more guessing about if your child is ready or not. YOU can find out if your child is ready for music lessons with some simple tips and techniques.
Then all you need to do is find a great teacher, but I’ve got you covered there too!
What does an ideal lesson look like for a young beginner?
First of all, do NOT let anyone tell you that your child should be able to sit still for 30 minutes. This is just not true! A general rule of thumb is that kids can stay at one activity for 1 minute plus their age, for example, a 7 year old should be able to focus on an activity for 7-8 minutes. There are so many different activities to work on in a lesson; a good teacher will be switching activities every few minutes!
Here’s an example of how I would structure a 30 minute lesson for a 4-7 year old child:
2 minutes playing a finger warmup
1 minute reviewing last week’s concept
2 minutes playing an improv or a piece they are already very good at (review and make them feel successful and confident!)
5 minutes learning a new piece + concept
5 minutes get up and move around (rhythm work) or play a game
5 minutes learn another new piece (working on the same concept)
5 minutes doing a music game app or fun worksheet to reinforce the new concept
5 minutes learn another new piece OR depending on the student, wrap up and talk about practice.
Notice we just do something for about 5 minutes max? Notice the time for play and exploration and the things we do to make them feel successful? You don’t need to worry about your child being able to sit perfectly still for 30 minutes or the mean old piano teacher raps their knuckles. That is a thing of the past, thank goodness!
Your child may be ready if…
Here is what they SHOULD be able to do:
- Know their alphabet very well, bonus points if they can say it backward!
- Be able to recognize simple patterns (can they do an “I spy” puzzle and find things on the page?)
- Enjoy playing around with music instruments
- Be able to focus on one thing for 5-7 minutes
- Be able to follow directions from an adult
- Have favorite songs – what a great sign they love music!
- Be able to sing somewhat on pitch
- Be able to clap simple rhythms back to you (try a copycat game!)
- Be able to hold a pen or pencil for tracing letters (a good sign that they have the motor skills necessary for musical training)
They may not be doing everything to a high level yet, but those basics should be in place in order to make the transition to the routine and structure of a private lesson.
Oconee Music lessons
Thank you for reading and I hope this information helps you make a choice about your child being ready for lessons. It’s a big commitment financially and a big commitment for your schedule so you don’t want to jump in without realistic expectations. All of Oconee Music’s teachers are excellent with young beginners and we are always ready to meet you and help with this assessment!
If you read this and you don’t think your child is quite ready, consider one of our group classes for preschoolers. Kiddy Keys keeps the learning light and fun while still covering some of the basics that we learn at the beginning of private lessons. It also really develops their ear as they head into music study.