As a music teacher, I have spoken to many parents about how to know if their child is ready for music lessons.
Perhaps the child has an older sibling or a friend who is playing an instrument, and that sparks their interest.
Perhaps the child just saw a musician in a concert or in a movie. Or, just the instrument as decoration somewhere!
As a parent, you want to encourage them in their interests, but also be realistic and figure out if this is just something they’ll want to do for two weeks and then want to move on to something new.
So, here are 10 simple ways you can know if your child is ready for formal music lessons.
1) They Can focus for 30 Minutes in a Music Lesson
Most music lessons are about 30 minutes long starting out ( and often for a few years after beginning). Can your child sit quietly and pay attention for that long? If they are very young, your teacher may suggest you as the parent staying to listen and watch, but if your child is able to listen and respond to a teacher for about 30 minutes, that is a good sign they could sit through a music lesson.
2) They Know their ABC’s and can count to 10
You might read somewhere of children learning instruments when they are two years old, or see a YouTube video of a six year old piano prodigy.
But, let me just say. That’s not usual.
Unless you want music to be you and your child’s entire life at a young age, waiting until they are able to say their ABC’s and count to 10 will mean a lot of concepts with music will come much easier!
3) They Can Fit the Instrument
Many instruments come in different sizes.
For example, violins come in sizes 1/32 all they way up to a full size instrument! My 5 year old daughter is currently on a 1/16th size violin, but is just about to move up to a 1/10th size.
It’s a slow progression of instruments, but the size matters a lot so they don’t get an injury from playing an instrument that is too large for them.
4) They can Practice without much Assistance
Most music teachers require their students to practice anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, five days a week. Would your child be able to practice pretty independently? It is always helpful to have a parent for practicing, but if you had to help another of your children or answer a phone call, could your child stay on task for a while and actually practice the instrument?
Furthermore, many teachers highly encourage parents to practice with their young children, and that’s wonderful! Once the child gets past the very basics though, you may be able to encourage them to do more on their own with you just stepping in to redirect or point out something that may help.
5) They Show Interest in an Instrument and Music Lessons
I mentioned this earlier, but does your child show interest in music lessons? I have met many parents so eager for their children to start music lessons, but the child would obviously prefer to go climb a tree or run laps!
Realistically, It would be better to wait a couple years ( or more if needed!) to start a child in music lessons that to force it and have them burn out and hate the instrument in a year.
If you do feel a need to have your child start before they start showing a lot of interest, you may want to start low key. Maybe a lesson every other week or something along those lines. Or, just have them do simple music appreciation during the week to warm them up to the idea! You can check out this FREE printable Music course for an easy and achievable way to help your child being learning about music!
6) You have Access to the Instrument AND Teacher
Two big components of Music lessons are obviously the instrument itself AND someone to teach it!
Along with this, I would remind you to make sure the instrument fits your child.
I have had MANY times in my teaching career where a parent and student come to their first lesson or class with an instrument that is too large for the child. Usually, the instrument was given from a family member or friend, which is awesome! It just may be a few years before they are ready for it.
When it comes to finding a teacher, there are several ways to go about this.
- Ask your friends, family, or homeschool group for reccomendations
- Call the college or university in your area and see if they have music students or professors who take private lessons.
- Find an online course for kids ( I would HIGHLY recommend in-person lessons, especially in the beginning. But, I know it can be hard to find teachers, depending on where you may live.)lin
7) They are willing to stick with it for Year
Let’s face it, beginning an instrument can be hard and may not sound the best for a while. Could and would your child be willing to stick to music lessons for a year?
They will have gotten through the tricky start of learning the set up of themselves with the instrument, and will probably be able to play some songs that sound nice too!
And you as the parent will have to will have to be willing to stick with it that long as well!
This fits in with my next point…
8) They can Tolerate some Frustration
There will be days when there is no motivation to practice.
Your child just can’t understand a new concept , or the sound just isn’t right and they know it.
But if your child is able to handle times in their day that may be frustrating (You know what those are!), that is a good sign they would do just fine in a music lesson and the problems that arise in practicing their instrument.
9) Your Child has developed Good Motor Skills
Can your child pick up small objects with a thumb and one finger?
Can they hold something that is a few pounds easily?
Different instruments require different gross and fine motor skills that will help your child be successful with their music lessons!
You can read a list of motor skills for each instrument HERE.
10)Your Child can tell the Difference between High and Low
If your child is able to listen to a song and tell if the music is playing high notes or low notes, that will be a great skill they will use right away in their music lesson! Furthermore, It also shows they can notice changes in music, which is an excellent skill for music appreciation.
There you have it! Those are the 10 ways to tell if your Child is ready to start music lessons.
Are there any that you would add? What instrument would your child love to start playing? You may also like to check out my FREE music lesson Vivaldi’s Beautiful “Winter” From the Four Seasons .