When to Hold Off on Piano Lessons
What! A post on when not to take piano lessons? If you been following me for a while you know that I think that music education is the best thing ever for people! Especially in piano education. There are hundreds of reasons to take up the piano, it’s awesome! Ninety-eight percent of students start piano and do just fine, however, there are times when I recommend that parents hold off on piano lessons.
I generally love to start piano lessons with kids at age 4. This may seem young, but there are so many advantages to starting the piano as early as possible. There are so very many things that preschoolers can learn about the piano and about music. Most of the time it works out great. Occasionally a child will come into my studio who just isn’t quite ready to begin lessons. I expect my littlest student to be wiggly, shy, talkative, and generally “all over the place”. I can work with that. However, if a child is crying and really unhappy after 2 or 3 lessons I recommend that parents hold off on piano lessons for 6 months or so. During this time I recommend, they do lots of listening to great music and try a music and movement group class. These classes are fun for kids and the music and dancing develop their inner ear and their sense of rhythm.
I also recommend waiting if an older child just doesn’t want to take piano lessons. Older kids know what they want to do (and what they don’t). I can work with any student who has even the slightest interest in learning the piano. Once in a while though I come across a child who absolutely does not want to take piano lessons, at all, for any reason! Usually, this is because they would rather be learning the guitar or some other instrument. In this case, I recommend that parents hold off until there is an agreement about whether to study the piano or do something else. I have never had much luck with kids who were pressured into lessons against their will. One of my very first students was put into piano lessons as a punishment for getting his ear pierced. Needless to say, this young man was not the best piano student.
The last reason I recommend that parents hold off on piano lessons is that they don’t have a piano. Students really need their own instruments at home so that they can practice regularly. Some of my students don’t have a piano when they come to the first lesson but they plan to get one right away. In these cases, I help my students find a piano. But if families don’t plan to buy a piano within a month of starting lessons I recommend that parents hold off until they are ready to purchase an acoustic or digital piano.
I want piano lessons to be a successful and enjoyable experience for all of my students. That’s why I will on occasion ask parents to hold off until we feel that their child is ready to start lessons. I have found that in some cases taking a little extra time makes all the difference.