What age should children start music lessons?

(51 Posts)
FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 10:53:38

We have been told again that ds should be having music lessons. He is 3. Most of the time I think it's nonsense but part of me is worrying that I am failing him by not sending him to a conservatoire or whatever.

What (if any) would be the benefit to him of having lessons now? What age do you think children should start?

OP’s posts: |
DumbledoresGirl Tue 04-Jul-06 10:56:09

Later. Unless you have reason to believe he is a budding Mozart....

Mine started aged 8 and 7.

FairyMum Tue 04-Jul-06 10:56:17

Mine are not having music lessons. Do you really want a 3 year-old practising the violin in your house? Not me, but I have noticed many of my friends starting around the age of 3.

Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 10:57:55

You what? Who's been saying this?
Most reputable music teachers think 6-7-8 is plenty early.
Has he shown some kind of outstanding early ability FandZ?

nellie245 Tue 04-Jul-06 10:59:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerlinsBeard Tue 04-Jul-06 11:00:46

why should he be having lessons? more info needed here FandZ.

If he is autistic and thos appears to be his talent then i would inclined to strat casual lessons tbh but other wise i wold wait but let him have a few musical instruments to mess with (recorder?)

Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:00:48

Ds' excellent music teacher at school recommends around 7 to 8...when they are able to make a reasoned decision for themselves, have the ability to learn to read staff notation, and understand about practising.

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:00:54

Erm, possibly, Marina. I don't think it will come to anything <obligatory modest bit> but we have been told a few times by musical people that he should really be having lessons. Guy at the weekend plays with the LPO and is a guitar teacher, says he should have lessons.

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Hallgerda Tue 04-Jul-06 11:01:06

It's not clear whether you mean taking up an instrument properly or one of those getting used to music classes for pre-school children. Assuming the former, if he starts now you'll be putting in all the effort on getting him to practise etc - three year olds aren't terribly self-motivated. Wouldn't it be better to wait until he can exercise an informed choice as to whether he wants to put in the commitment?

As for the classes for pre-school children, I think they're yet another instance of money being taken from parents to prepare their children for something that does not really require preparation.

Who is telling you that your son should be having music lessons, and does he/she have an ulterior motive?

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:02:08

He has lots of instruments, goes to a drumming workshop with us once a month where he's allowed to join in, goes to concerts and mucks around on the guitar with his dad. I think this is plenty to be going on with for now.

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MerlinsBeard Tue 04-Jul-06 11:02:40

ah sorry x posts.

DP is a music teacher and determined to teach ds1 (3) and i said no. hes not intersted in learning, more about messing about. we're lucky enough that we have access to pianio and guitars (many many guitars ) as well as all manner of percussion so the boys can have fun

Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:04:10

Hmm, sounds like one of those lucky innately gifted children then FandZ for whom it may well be worth starting early. Ask at your local conservatoire, maybe...
I think Arabica's ds has started an early programme of musicianship for similar reasons. You could CAT her?

foxinsocks Tue 04-Jul-06 11:04:56

boy in dd's class parents are both professional musicians (in big London orchestras)

both went to lengths not to put their kids in lessons until they asked and this year, they have both asked (one age 6, one age 8)

can't see what benefit a 3 yr old would get out of 'proper' lessons but if you are looking for a fun activity, then the singing/dancing groups they do at that age can be quite fun

nellie245 Tue 04-Jul-06 11:06:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:06:11

x-posting a gogo here.
That sounds like plenty to me too FandZ - at his age. IMO exposure to music-making in a fun environment is a lovely introduction. It is how a lot of our students got started - very few were having formal lessons at three
The programme I mentioned is geared to small children btw

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:06:36

LOL Hallgerda I run music and movement groups. No we have been told he needs proper instrument tuition. I haven't asked him whether he wants to or not, but would guess the answer would be yes. I don't see what he could really learn now that he couldn't pick up really quickly in a few years, or work out for himself.

OP’s posts: |
Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:07:25

Are you in London - sorry, can't remember...

FioFio Tue 04-Jul-06 11:08:05

Message withdrawn

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:08:53

No offence to anyone who has followed a different path but I don't really feel comfortable about hot housing young children even if they do show ability. However each time it comes up this vaguely guilty feeling is growing. I just needed you to say what you have said, I think, which is - bollocks to it, he is fine

OP’s posts: |
FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:09:14

No we're in Essex, Marina.

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Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:12:37

I could not agree more about letting his talent unfurl naturally at this age. I see people here sometimes for whom music-making has ceased to become anything other than a stressful chore
How lovely to have a home filled with music and a child who loves it too.

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Jul-06 11:12:56

And I didn't mean to imply that what you are suggesting was hot housing, either, Marina. I have got a bit confused, though, are you saying that you run early musicianship courses for this age group?

OP’s posts: |
MrsBadger Tue 04-Jul-06 11:15:51


Even if he's actively asking to learn formally (which he doesn't seem to be), I'd hang fire till he can read - I nagged my parents from the age of 2 for a cello (so they tell me), but they were advised to hold off so I could start learning staff notation at the same time as the instrument rather than having to re-learn the association between the dots and the sounds later on.

Seemed to work - I started the violin at 4.9 (ie the same time as school), loved it and whizzed through the grades - would have been frustrating to have had to wait another 4 years before I could even start.

And my sightreading's still pretty good .

Marina Tue 04-Jul-06 11:16:03

It is in loose association with where I work, but a pilot project. We will not enrol anyone on our formal juniors programme until they are considerably older than three!
I think it is strings-based but AFAIK not Suzuki.
I hear good things about it and if the same teacher is still running it he is a parent of small children himself and the polar opposite of the mad driven strings Svengali stereotype.
do you want me to try and find out more? I think arabica is pretty preoccupied this morning

tallmummy Tue 04-Jul-06 11:19:45

DS1 started piano in October - he's 6. He loves it, has a natural ability (heaven knows where he gets that from!). He enjoys playing for fun and we never need to nag him to practice - we don't push him - as long as he enjoys it he can keep at it. DS2 is keen to start too but only 5. Our excellent piano teacher reckons 6 is about right (for piano)if they can read and have a wide enough hand span. He can start an instrument at school next term in Y2. He wants to play the cello.

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