I received a great question from one of our Kindermusik moms the other day and thought others may be wondering about the same thing, so I am re-posting it here…
Alaina wants to learn vocal/piano…what do you think? She is 4. ~Michelle Malott, via Facebook, Jan 21, 2010.
It’s not uncommon for young children to express an interest in piano, voice or other private lessons. After all, you are a mom who is a professional musician, Alaina wants to be just like you. You may have heard “I want to play the piano.” It sounds like she has made a mature decision to start all the hard work of learning an instrument, but ask yourself the following questions before making the decision to enroll her in private study:
• Does she understand the enormous amount of dedication needed to learn to play an instrument?
• Is she ready to accept the rules, guidelines and suggestions of the teacher?
• Will she still be interested and not frustrated when the teacher asks her to play a certain way, or hold her hand in a certain position?
• Does she have the fine motor control as well as the maturity and attention span necessary for daily home practice?
• Can she concentrate daily for 15 to 30 minutes on a series of directed tasks?
• Will she thrive in a learning environment where it’s just she and the teacher, or does she learn best in a social, play-like setting?
With regard to voice lessons, you will be hard pressed to find a teacher who will take on a 4-year-old. A qualified voice teacher will recommend waiting until after the voice has changed, at around 10-12 years of age.
In Kindermusik, Alaina is receiving the strongest foundation in movement, vocal development and listening, which will help her be successful when the time comes to learn an instrument. Research shows that she will remain motivated longer than a child without such a background.
In the book, Choosing The Right Instrument For Your Child, the authors claim that one of the most common factors in children’s musical failure is starting at the wrong time – too early. For most children, the best time to start learning their first instrument is sometime between the ages of seven and ten years. A young child with a genuine interest in playing an instrument or learning to sing will come back to that interest even more strongly in a few years when she is physically, emotionally and cognitively ready. You and Alaina will be happier if you wait. In the meantime, Kindermusik will prepare her for instrumental or vocal lessons while still allowing her to have fun and learning through methods that have been designed with her developmental needs in mind.
To discuss more, or if you have other questions, give us a call at 519.622.5702 or enroll online.