A lot of children want to introduce music into their life, but for many parents, it can be difficult knowing which instruments will be right for your child to begin with, or whether or not they are too young to start.
We often get asked “How young can children start learning how to play?”. We’ve all heard stories of musical prodigies writing music at incredibly young ages - such as Mozart writing symphonies at just 8 years old, or Stevie Wonder signing with Motown at just 11.
In short, the answer is... Children can start at any age! We’re firm believers that music can (and should) be enjoyed by absolutely everyone - Let us break down a few reasons why we believe music is for everyone, no matter your age!
We’ve written before about the social and emotional development that music can have on children, but something that is often overlooked, especially in babies, is the sensory development that occurs when playing an instrument!
No matter the age, anyone can enjoy hitting a bongo, or seeing what happens when you press a piano key. Just because something isn’t particularly musical sounding, doesn’t mean it isn’t being enjoyed by that toddler or young child...We all have to start somewhere after all!
Research also shows that younger children from birth to around aged 9 are perfect for learning instruments as much like learning a new language, the mental structures for development and understanding are primed to intake information, meaning the basic structures of music can come more easily.
How Old Does My Child Need To Be To Learn Piano?
Generally speaking, the only restrictions that children of any agre really have when it comes to the piano are: Height and safety.
In terms of height, in order to play the piano to any kind of effectiveness children will need to be able to reach the pedals any the keys at the same time, this will generally come from around the age of 6 to 7, however that doesn't mean you can't get started before, we've seen videos of 3, 4 or 5 year olds playing some seriously incredibly material!
Safety: A far more serious and genuine concern when it comes to the piano, despite their fun appearance, if mistreated, a piano can easily cause broken limbs or hurt those playing it. The main causes of concern are: The piano falling on a child, this one is relatively easy to overcome, the piano should only be played when supervised by an adult until they are of an age where they can be trusted not to climb on the piano under any circumstance.
The second cause for concern is usually piano lids or stools trapping fingers. In terms of the lids, soft fall piano lids are becoming increasingly popular to prevent the lid from slamming on the key bed. Likewise in terms of stools, for younger learners, we'd recommend not purchasing a stool with a built in storage compartment that snaps open and closed.
Outside of this however, there are no real restrictions to your children learning the piano from any age, even bashing a few keys, if done safely can inspire a lifetime of enjoyment!
How can I encourage my child to learn an instrument?
If you want your child to begin learning, ultimately, producing a nurturing, caring environment is required. Showing children that music is a fun, expressive and creative art form is always the best way for young learners to discover their own interest in music. Many of us will have stories of being forced to play instruments we hated by our parents when we were younger, why did you hate it? Because you didn’t have that passion to learn!
As with most things, the best approach would be to include your children in the instrument decision process, let them decide which sounds they like and which instruments they love, then create a full immersive and enjoyable experience that they will love for life!