At what age should my child start piano lessons?
Short answer: it depends both on the individual child and on how involved in their daily practice you wish to be. In general, I suggest that parents of children younger than five years old find a group music program or teacher who specializes in lessons for the very young.
Five and six-year-olds who can’t yet read will require daily practice assistance to make the most of one-on-one piano lessons. The speed with which they progress will rely almost completely on how much hands-on parental support they receive. Without daily help practicing, five and six-year-olds will still have fun experiencing music and learning, but I’ve found it to be at a slower rate than older children in similar situations.
By the age of seven, most children seem ready to be somewhat self-sufficient for daily practice and their parents can rely on weekly lessons and consistent reminders to help them make quick musical progress.
Children who come to piano at an older age might feel that they have a lot of catching up to do when they encounter younger, more experienced pianists, but there is no reason they cannot also enjoy challenging themselves to reach their own full musical potential.
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How old is too old to start piano lessons?
I have taught people of all ages and strongly believe that it is never too late to start or continue piano lessons. In fact, one of my favorite experiences as a teacher is working with an adult student who never took lessons as a child, but had fond memories of her mother playing piano, and is now able to make beautiful music of her own on that very same piano!
Many adult beginners worry that they will learn at a slower rate than children, if at all, but that is simply not true for most people. All of my adult students over the years have learned as fast or faster than children do. The real challenge is learning to be more patient with themselves and making time to practice (luckily, even 15 minutes a day makes a difference).
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How does the coronavirus affect piano lessons?
It is very important to me that my students and their families feel as safe as possible with regard to the coronavirus and their piano lessons. For this reason, I am currently offering a choice of online and in-person lessons, in accordance with Washington State’s phased “Safe Start” program. I use hand sanitizer immediately before in-person lessons and wear a 3-layer cotton mask throughout. Out of respect for my high-risk students and their families, I’m requiring that everyone must agree to cancel or reschedule in-person lessons if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness potentially related to the coronavirus. With this in mind, I have added more exceptions to my cancellation policy that I feel balance the need for flexibility with the requirements of staying in business. I will continue to monitor the ever-changing coronavirus situation and contact my students with updates and changes as needed.
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