7 Signs Your Child is Ready for Music Lessons

Nowadays, learning to play musical instruments has become very trendy in Egypt for young children and adults alike. As a result, parents have a lot of questions regarding teaching their children any musical instrument, such as what could be considered an appropriate age to start taking music lessons and what skills their children need to develop to successfully learn how to play a new instrument.

Most of these questions arise from being influenced by famed musical prodigies and their stories, from Mozart writing his first symphony at the age of eight to Yanni who composed his famous ‘Nostalgia’ at a young age.

Ideally, many music teachers prefer teaching children aged six to eight years old, because of factors such as reading skills, hand coordination and awareness of the importance of practicing. However, some teachers will take students at a younger age, so it is a matter of personal preference and how much support the student will get at home, as well as the understanding of parents regarding the slower progress, as it takes longer for younger students to understand how music works. Of course, if your child keeps bugging you about starting music lessons day and night, age should not be an issue.

Although there is no clear cut rule, there are numerous signs that indicate whether or not your child can begin taking music lessons. So here are some tips that may guide you to figure out if your child is ready or not:

1- Physical Capability:

You need to ask yourself if the child is physically capable of handling and playing the instrument. A child of six is not a suitable candidate for the tenor saxophone or the trombone, but could begin on the piano or the recorder. Some children can handle a violin from the age of four, but a more realistic age to start is probably six. Guitars come in smaller sizes and are suitable for children from around the age of eight, depending on the size and stretch of their hands.

Additionally, wind and brass instruments -apart from recorder- should not be played before the child's second set of teeth are through, because pressure is put on the teeth when they are played, and they also require strong lips and good 'puff'.

2- Mental Capability:

Can your child focus and pay attention for 30 minutes straight? Can they understand the basics of music and the need to practice regularly? If so, you can begin giving them beginner lessons. Most beginner lessons, especially for young ages, shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes in length, so as to sustain the child’s complete concentration.

3-Fine Motor Skills:

Can your child hold a pencil or cut with scissors? Playing any instrument requires a lot of fine motor dexterity, such as independence of fingers, which will make a huge difference throughout the learning journey.

4- Ability to Read:

Reading makes the entire process easier for the child, such as their ability to understand musical notes, practicing more independently and reading practice instructions on their own. Sometimes the child needs to sing while practicing on instruments like the piano, so being able to read the lyrics is an advantage.

Moreover, it is also important that your child is able to identify and name the first seven letters of the alphabet (A-B-C-D-E-F-G) in order to read music. In fact, teaching musical notes as A, B, C is easier for the child to understand than Do, Re, Mi.

5- Differentiating Between Left and Right:

Playing musical instruments requires the use of both your hands and even your feet sometimes, so being able to distinguish one hand from the other is important.

6- Counting to Ten:

With really young beginners (ages 4 to 5), music teachers usually focus on counting to four. The note values and time signatures in beginner music focus on one count until four counts. However, it is ideal if your child can count higher, as music is heavily based on math.

7- Your Readiness as a Parent:

Are you willing to help your child practice -especially from ages 4 to 6? Can you take the time to learn a little about the instrument your child is learning and about music in general? Are you financially committed to buying an instrument for them to practice on and sustaining payments for their lessons?

You have to be prepared to deal with your child’s frustrations at having to practice rather than go out with their friends sometimes. You should also be prepared to take your child to concerts featuring their instrument so they can get inspired.

If you feel like the answer to all the above is a resounding 'Yes' then you and your child are ready for some music lessons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the perfect teacher!

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