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A good age to start piano lessons?

(80 Posts)
WiganKebab Sun 03-Mar-13 16:10:04

We have a piano and I'd love the kids to be able to play. They like to play around on it, but I haven't organized lessons yet as they're only young (eldest is 5). What age is a good age to start (without being a pushy mum...) wink

OldBeanbagz Sun 03-Mar-13 18:01:50

My DD started piano at 9 and in the space of a year and a half, has managed to catch up with many of her friends who'd been learning for 4+ years (so has saved me a lot of money in lessons). I waited until she was ready to commit to the piano as she already play another instrument.

DS on the other hand has just started at 8 and it's his first instrument. He seems to be getting on quite well.

I'd probably wait until they express an interest in learning. Do you play? Can you teach them a few things in the meantime?

multitasker Sun 03-Mar-13 18:07:11

I tech piano and generally find that 7 - 8 is the earliest that works. As Oldbean has said her dd caught up quickly, this is so true. In the mean time keep the piano tuned!

ElizaFyfe Sun 03-Mar-13 18:56:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

WiganKebab Sun 03-Mar-13 20:31:01

Thanks Eliza, unfortunately we song live near Bristol, but great ad though!

WiganKebab Sun 03-Mar-13 20:31:38

"don't" rather than "song"..... What the?

WiganKebab Sun 03-Mar-13 20:32:10

Thanks all for all the tips!

sittinginthesun Sun 03-Mar-13 21:03:50

Was just thinking about this.

DS1 started at 8 years, and is making steady progress.

DS2 is only 6, but has suddenly developed a mad interest in it. Since last weekend, he has found his brother's first book, taught himself the basics (including the dynamics, staccato and slurs, note lengths etc), and has just started two hands together. He's asking for lessons, and I think I am going to ask the teacher for a trial - hadn't quite factored in the additional cost, as I'd assumed he would start at 8 too!!

What do you reckon? Should I let him play at home for a bit first (I don't play the piano, but have very rusty grade 8 in another instrument so know the basics), or should I just grasp it while he's so passionate?

DeWe Sun 03-Mar-13 21:04:04

I think the general advice is around age 7-8. I've heard that from various different teachers.

You need them to be able to concentrate for a whole lesson, ideally do independent practice, hands big enough and be ready to learn to read music (reading fluently is apparently a good measure of this).

As others have said, they catch up fairly quickly if they're a bit older anyway.

DeWe Sun 03-Mar-13 21:08:39

Sitting is he just 6yo, or coming up for 7yo? I think there's quite a difference at that age.

If he's coming up for 7yo, then I'd go for it.

If he's just 6yo, then consider: can he concentrate on something difficult for 20 minutes? I'll assume his reading is fine as he's using the book already. Does he take instruction? (as in if you say "this is a better way" will he do it, or say "I prefer this way")

If he can concentrate, take instruction, then ask your teacher for a trial and see what she says.

You may find that him doing it himself is much more fun at present to him than having a formal lesson, so see how it goes.

BackforGood Sun 03-Mar-13 21:14:19

When we first talked of it, I was advisd by lots of people to wait until AT LEAST 7yrs. They also need to be quite good readers was what I was told - I guess it's all to do with the fact that with piano you are reading 2 lines of music at the same time - your brain has to compute the top one is telling your right hand what to do and the bottom one telling your left hand what to do. I suspect this is quite an advanced skill! smile

sittinginthesun Sun 03-Mar-13 21:20:29

Thanks. This is what I was wondering. He was 6 in January, but reads fluently. I have watched him read the music and he is just teaching himself - he is basically sight reading, including the dynamics etc.

My gut feeling is to carry on as we are, but he does get obsessed by things. He started this last weekend, and has been playing for an hour at a time. I had to drag him off to the bath this evening!

I reckon, if he's so keen, he'll probably teach himself anyway.

sittinginthesun Sun 03-Mar-13 21:22:01

Oh, he is playing with both hands. Reading both lines at once, which is more than I can do!

ISeeRedPeople Sun 03-Mar-13 21:24:49

I started at 5 but was pretty much on my knees begging for lessons. My brother was 8 and didn't want to be left out but wasn't as keen. I stuck with it, he gave up pretty quickly. The moral of the story is that age doesn't matter it's enthusiasm that counts. I will send my DD at 5 if she is showing an interest.

Muppeeeto Sun 03-Mar-13 21:33:08

Dd announced she was ready to start 2 weeks ago. She is keen to please, follows instructions, perseverance .....
However although she reads well (ort 10) she doesn't quite have the visual discrimination to sight read the difference between say d and e notes. She is improving in this though so I think in 2 or 3 months she will crack it really quickly.

She has only just started being able to hear the different notes and repeat them back.

ZZZenAgain Sun 03-Mar-13 21:33:42

I think 7 is probably the youngest it makes real sense tbh but if he is 6 and already teaching himself, I would look at lessons so he does not develop bad habits

sittinginthesun Sun 03-Mar-13 21:39:46

I think I will just run it by DS1's teacher and ask her just for a trial lesson. She's pretty sensible so she'll tell me straight!

Knowing DS2, though, I suspect this will be his "thing".

stealthsquiggle Sun 03-Mar-13 21:41:22

DD was nearly 6. I agree he would have caught up quickly if he had started later, but he has always loved it and he and his teacher have a mutual admiration society going.

DD started guitar at 3 shock (very much her idea, facilitated by my DM) but for the first 18months was basically doing 'listen and repeat' and is only now (at 6) really reading the music.

ZZZenAgain Sun 03-Mar-13 21:41:36

well that's nice. It is good when they find something they really like doing.

stealthsquiggle Sun 03-Mar-13 21:42:35

Gah. Why does my phone auto correct DS to DDconfused? Sexist object

ZZZenAgain Sun 03-Mar-13 21:44:25

they are just maddening. I wish they didn't have the auto-correct function

ElizaFyfe Sun 03-Mar-13 22:22:55

I was 7 when I started playing piano.

And you can disable the autocorrect function in settings. wink

ByTheWay1 Mon 04-Mar-13 15:38:00

my girls were 6 and 7 - but we started on the understanding it was initially for fun - no exams etc.... they loved it, just being able to play music made their confidence grow so much..

then when they got to 9 and 10 they started asking about doing the exams, one has now done up to Grade 3 and wants to keep going, the other grade 1 and is playing at grade 3 but does not want to do exams... they both love music and want to keep playing - I think the lack of pressure early on helped a lot in that.....

sanam2010 Thu 07-Mar-13 17:46:13

Is there any famous pianist who only started aged 7 or 8? Not trying to say that the point of piano lessons is to become a famous pianist, but clearly given that most top pianists started much younger it can't be right to claim it doesn't make a difference to start earlier? I started when I was 4 and could read notes before reading books (I am completely useless at the piano, however, as I was much too lazy to practice).

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 21:44:30

My DD started at 7.5 and loves it - I put no pressure on her other than the occasional nudge to practice. Lots of DC we know who started at 5 or so gave up quite quickly. I think DC need to be ready to take on the responsibility of practice and learning to read music and I wanted DD to be a fluent reader in English and French (the languages of school) before adding piano/music.

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