Friday, October 14, 2011

What’s the Best Age for Musical Lessons?

Scott is often asked his opinion about the best age for musical lessons and how a parent can encourage musical learning.

“I started taking guitar when I was eight. By that age, I was a reader and my hand-eye coordination was at a good place to begin with an instrument.

My teacher mixed the rudiments necessary for longtime mastery with my short term desire to play and sing songs. On any given week, I was reading from a scale book and learning a folk song.

Music was always on in my house and in my life. My parents introduced me to a great variety of styles, including folk, pop, show tunes and instrumental music, so I suggest that parents expose their children to great music- especially live music!

Students who practice fifteen minutes or more per day do best. Our job, as parents, is to help the student create a healthy, regular pattern where practice time is honored. In my opinion, it comes after homework, but before any other leisure activities.

If your child becomes bored or distracted, gently return them to practice. Discuss these instances in private with the teacher and consider changing the plan, if necessary, to include more songs. If your child becomes discouraged because they’re not learning fast enough (or as fast as their peers), let them know that even the greatest musicians faced times of doubt and difficulty.

Lastly, I recommend playing in front of family and friends for those brave enough to try it. The thrill of putting on a neighborhood performance and all the applause and good feelings that accompany your child’s “show” might encourage them to stick with their instrument and ascend to even higher heights of mastery and enjoyment.

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