Best Age to Start Music Lessons


confused parentThis is a question that all parents who want to get their little ones involved in music ask themselves at one point or another. Being a music school, you can imagine that we have come across this question on multiple occasions, and so we thought it would be beneficial to share the answers with the wider world in this blog article. We hope you find it helpful!

The Two Things to Consider

There are two main things to consider when deciding whether or not your child is ready for music lessons: their cognitive (or mental) readiness and their physical readiness.

Cognitive Readiness

girl in glassesOf course children’s brains start engaging with and responding to music even before they are born. But when it comes to starting music lessons, cognitive readiness means 1) having sufficiently-developed motor skills to be able to play an instrument and 2) having enough emotional maturity and awareness to patiently sit through the lesson and follow the teacher’s instructions. As you can imagine, different children reach this stage at different times, but generally speaking most children get there around age 4.

Physical Readiness

child in superhero poseEven if your child is cognitively ready for lessons, there is also the physical factor to consider. Here, the question is whether your child is developed enough physically to big enough to be able to hold/reach the instrument. Just like with cognitive development, children grow at different rates, so it will be up to you (and perhaps a teacher) to decide whether or not your child has reached this stage for your desired instrument. But even if this hasn’t happened yet, you can always you can always get them a mini version of their instrument to start tinkering on.

Best Age to Start Music Lessons Based on Instrument

Musical instruments differ in their sizes and specificities, and so do the ages at which it might be ideal to start learning them. Below are age recommendations that we give to our parents and that we have found through experience to work quite well. Once again, while these recommendations will apply to most children, there will always be some who might be able to start lessons even earlier. If you think your child might be in this category – most music schools and teachers will allow you to come in for a free trial lesson where a teacher would be able to tell you whether or not this is the case.

Best Age to Start Piano Lessons

pianoFive is the minimum recommended age for starting piano lessons. At this age, most children have enough cognitive capacity and self-awareness for formal piano instruction. For this age group, lessons up to and no longer than 30 minutes per day are ideal.

Best Age to Start Guitar Lessons

guitarSix is the minimum recommended age for beginning guitar lessons. At this age, most children will be mature enough cognitively to sit through a music lesson but also grown enough physically to be able to press guitar frets and pluck the strings. As with piano, lessons no longer than 30 minutes are recommended for this age group.

Best Age to Start Drum Lessons

drumsAs with guitar, six is the minimum recommended age for starting drum lessons. In addition to having enough cognitive maturity, most six-year-olds are not also grown enough to have a comfortable reach around the drums to be able to play. Lessons up to 30 minutes are ideal for this age group.

Best Age to Start Voice Lessons

woman singingSeven is the minimum recommended age for starting singing lessons. Because singing involves the use of our own internal instrument (our voice), starting lessons too early risks damaging children’s developing vocal chords. By about age seven, however, vocal chords are strong enough so that this risk becomes minimal. Starting at this age can give children an important head start by learning about things such as correct body posture, voice projection, and breathing, keep in mind that their voice will undergo a dramatic change when they reach puberty (between ages 11-13).

Music Classes for Toddlers

If your child is still not quite old enough for private music lessons but you wish to expose them to music as soon as possible, consider enrolling them in music classes for toddlers. These are group classes aimed at children from about 1 to 4 years old whose aim is to engage children through songs, music, and movement. Such classes can be great at helping children develop and enhance their understanding of pitch and rhythm and can serve as a gate-way to private music lessons. At our school, we offer a program called “Musical Beginnings“, which is aimed to do just that.

Importance of Exposure to Music

Remember, even if your child is not old enough for private lessons and you don’t have an opportunity to enroll them in toddler music classes, you can always expose them to music at home! Numerous studies have shown that children who are constantly exposed to music as babies and toddlers go on to display a much better and deeper understanding and connection with music than those who are not.

Is your child musically gifted? Check out our article titled: “Six Signs Your Child is Musically Gifted