August. That wonderful time of year where school and routine starts up again, and a lot of parents begin asking, “Should my kiddo do piano lessons this year?” Here are my three favorite tell-tale signs to look for when deciding whether or not your child is ready to take on the world of piano lessons:
Can your child read?
I’m not talking 300-page novels read, but I-can-read-short-simple-how-to-instructions type read.
Now I will say: Not all teachers agree on this one, and I do see some merit in starting earlier under very (VERY) special circumstances. But for the most part, if they can’t read the piano books’ instructions without lots of help, chances are you might be better off waiting until they’re a bit more independent before trying to commit to something like regular lessons.
Can your child sit still for periods of 15-20 minutes uninterrupted?
Piano lessons and practicing piano both require concentration and sitting still. If your little one still can’t sit in the same spot for a quarter hour, chances are they will have trouble sitting down to practice (or listen to a teacher) too.
Are you ready to hold their feet to the fire when they inevitably don’t want to practice?
Especially for young kiddos, piano readiness can sometimes be more about you as the parent than it is about your kiddo. It’s a fact of life that most kids at one point or another would rather [you name it] than practice. So you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to hold them to their commitment (yes, I consider taking lessons a commitment) – not just to attend lessons faithfully but also to practice faithfully (and correctly, I might add,) as that is where the REAL learning takes place.
Still not sure your current schedule or parenting style will support that level of structure? Might want to hold off a bit longer.
If you answered all three of these with a yes, then your child might be ready to start piano lessons! And of course, I happen to know a piano teacher starting up again this fall if you’re interested… [Send me a message via the Contact page if that’s you!]
If you still aren’t sure, I would say: WAIT. I’ve found that in most cases, students who wait to start until they’re truly ready can easily catch up with their similarly-gifted peers – and usually enjoy it more too (and therefore stick with it longer.) So don’t think you’re ruining their chances of success by holding off a bit until they’re ready.
Piano Teachers: Any other signs you ask parents to look for in preparing to start piano lessons?