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music lessons

(12 Posts)
strictlovingmum Wed 06-Jul-11 20:19:25

At what age should you consider music instrument lessons(piano, cello), is 5 too young? thanks.

Lizcat Wed 06-Jul-11 20:54:53

The head of our school's music department (school 3 -18) put it to us that 7 is the best age as they are usually reading well by then and are ready to start learning to read music. I know others do disagree with this.
We did wait until DD was 7 (she appears to excel in the maths, music, mandarin triangle) I have been amazed by how much she has learnt in just one year. We choose the recorder as a base instrument and she will probably play this before another year and then is keen to switch to a woodwind or brass instrument.

Carrotsandcelery Wed 06-Jul-11 20:59:56

My dd started the violin just before her fifth birthday on the advice of a friend. Every time she was in my friend's house she picked up their violins and was trying to play. My friend thought she looked quite natural.

She is still playing 10 years later and also plays piano and recorder.

My ds started his musical instrument at about 6, which was right for him too.

I think it depends on the child. You have to find a teacher who can engage with a child that age, be sure that they want to learn the instrument and support their practise in the early stages (which may mean sitting in on the lesson if you don't know how to play yourself).

If your child is steady and attentive then all should be well.

If they are excitable and easily distracted then I would wait a while.

Carrotsandcelery Wed 06-Jul-11 21:00:34

Sorry, that is still playing 5 years later at 10 years old!

JemimaMop Wed 06-Jul-11 21:02:27

In my DC's school they teach violin from Year 2 and brass/woodwind from Year 3.

DS1 started private piano lessons halway through Year 2 aged 7.5. DS2 will start school trumpet lessons at the start of Year 3 aged 7.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 06-Jul-11 21:09:45

According to my daughter's piano teacher:
- when they are reading reasonably well
- when their fingers are getting to a size that they can fit the keys
- when they have the concentration to pay attention during a lesson, and practice during the week.

For piano, she advises that the above normally happen when they are about 7 or 8.

I guess it may be different for other instruments - especially those that come in smaller sizes for smaller hands. I must admit that it hadn't occurred to me how significant hand size/strength could be for piano. DD is nearly 9, but very slender. She found some of the early exercises quite tricky, because her fingers got sore (especially 4th and 5th). But her hands are getting stronger all the time. She's been learning for a year and loves to make a big noise!

Carrotsandcelery Wed 06-Jul-11 21:48:47

Hand size is definitely a big issue for piano. This can be overcome by starting on an electric keyboard which can be smaller and where the pressure needed to depress the keys is lessened. It does mean some adjustment when they move to a "real" piano though.

For violin you can get a 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 sized violin. I am told you can also get a 1/8 size but haven't seen one. The 1/4 was cute enough grin

Some elements of violin need finger strength and finger length. I have freakishly short pinkies and can therefore never use my fourth finger when playing violin. hmm

I think the main issue is the nature of the child though.

strictlovingmum Wed 06-Jul-11 23:38:49

Thanks mums, she is very keen on cello, but wants to play piano because I can play it and her brother can, we have piano at home and she will often sit and play her invented little tunes(some of them very melodic), size of her hands is not there yet, I guess come September we will go and perhaps meet piano and cello teacher and take it from there.
Cello, she loves and every time she hears it she stops whatever she is doing and will carefully listen and comment "that sounds lovely" We will let her

snorkie Thu 07-Jul-11 00:04:39

Great instrument choices! Ds started piano in year 3 and cello in year 4. It worked well for him. If she's keen to start sooner though, I'd probably go for cello as the music is easier to read (fewer notes at once) and stringed instruments often are started younger with good success (and come in smaller sizes to fit small people too). Children do tend to make faster progress if they start later though and often 'catch up' with the ones that have started younger quite quickly.

strictlovingmum Thu 07-Jul-11 00:09:46

Good tip snorkie I suspect she will pick cello (I hope so) her physical stamina for piano isn't there yet, also I played piano for years loved every minute of it, but would like to hear cello played in our household, just for a change.

pigsinmud Thu 07-Jul-11 10:51:08

Dh teaches music and he would say 5 is too young. He teaches quite a few reception children and in general they don't have the concentration skills etc.. to really benefit from the lesson. He does lots of little musical games with them and they enjoy it, but they in 5 years time they probably won't be much further ahead than those who waited until they were 7. He says 7/8 is a good age.

Just realised snorkie has said that!

circular Thu 07-Jul-11 12:52:56

Carrotsandcelery - I remember seeing 1/10 and 1/16 in Chappells a few years back. For age 2 or 3 I guess.

DD1 (nearly 14) stated violin at 11 (not her first instrument) was small for her age and needed a 3/4 size. Had full size since 13.

DD2, 8 and tall for her age, started this term on a 1/2 size.

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