- Calendars and Schedules
- Find Us
- Contact Us
- Register Now
As parents, we want the best for our kids. I am more than a little bit of a perfectionist about things, but when it comes to my kids, I tend to read every bit of data and research I can find to uncover what is really the “best” for them. This question was no different for me.
I am a musician. I have taught piano. I have taught voice. (In fact, I was on the voice faculty at Millikin University before I feel in love with teaching babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.) And I am married to man who holds a degree in piano performance, so you can imagine that this issue was incredibly important to me. As our first-born son, Sam, began to approach the age that many families begin to think about private lessons, I asked myself, what is really the best option for us? I consulted the experts. I read books on the best practices in early childhood music. I talked to the piano teachers I most respect, and I consulted with two different piano pedagogy professors, people who are genuinely experts in the best methods for teaching piano to anyone of any age. Below you’ll see what I’ve learned and the path I have chosen for my own children as a result.
|What is the best age to start?|
Annoyingly, there is no magic answer here. The honest one is this: while there are teachers and methods who will take children as early as the age of 3 or 4 years old, there are many reasons to wait until the age of 6 or 7 years. In fact, studies show that children who start earlier are actually no further ahead than their peers who wait to start at age 6 or 7, and the teachers I most respect have all told me they will not take a child before the age of 6.
|What are the advantages of waiting till age 6 or 7 to start formal music lessons?|
You and your child 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.
|The Case for Kindermusik for the Young Child (for ages 5-7 Years).|
Kindermusik for the Young Child and private lessons cover a lot of the same material. However, Kindermusik for the Young Child covers concepts such as learning to read, write, and compose music as well as ear training and sightsinging. All this and more is covered in a much more playful fashion than your typical music lesson. You can expect a lot of signing, dancing, ensemble work, game playing, and even storytelling in addition to work on learning to play the Young Child instruments (glockenspiel, dulcimer, and recorder). While a music lesson is more focused on building the appropriate technique for an instrument, Kindermusik for the Young Child is better designed than any music lesson in terms of building true musicianship, which in turn is what many people refer to when they talk about musical talent. You can learn more about the full curricula here.
However, there’s even more reason than that to enroll in Young Child either alongside or prior to private music instruction. Remember how kids who start early are more likely to quit due to frustration or burnout? Or that kids who start earlier are typically no further ahead than their peers who start later after a few lessons of study? Well, we can confidently say that Kindermusik for the Young Child provides the strongest foundation in movement, vocal development and listening above and beyond private lessons, which will help your child be successful when the time comes to learn an instrument. In fact, research shows that she will remain motivated longer than a child without such a background and is more likely to continue longterm with formal music lessons. Plus, private teachers tell us that compared with their peers who’ve had similar time in private study, Kindermusik graduates really are better prepared, more successful from the start, and progress faster. They genuinely have the advantage over kids who started piano or violin early.
|She says she wants to take piano lessons now, and I'm worried she'll lose interest if we don't start right away.|
The opposite is actually true. 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. (I can actually testify to this personally. I begged for piano and voice lessons for years before my parents finally relented, and when they agreed I not only stuck with lessons, but pursued music all the way through a Master’s degree and studied piano well into college in addition to my primary instrument, voice.)
|When you're getting close to a good age for starting, here's a great readiness assessment to help you.|
If you can say yes, to all or most of these questions, it’s likely that your child is ready to start private music lessons.
|We're ready for Private Lessons. Now what?|
Find a good teacher. Ask around for recommendations from friends. Here’s what to look for:
We are partners with the UMKC Community Music and Dance Academy. They would be a great place to check out when you are ready to start private lessons or to get involved with a music ensemble. In fact, the UMKC Conservatory of Music is quickly becoming one of the top music schools in the nation, and many of their top notch students are also teaching for the Community Music and Dance Academy. You can expect to find teachers who have completed or are completing graduate degrees in music. Often they are students training as some of the best professional musicians around and/or who going on to be music professors.
Posted in: Footer
Comments are closed.