Science shows playing piano helps a young mind develop.
Scientific research publications (The Journal of Neuroscience, JAACAP, NCBI, etc.) have shown that children as young as 3 or 4 experience increased brain activity when they play a musical instrument. Playing piano also helps to develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills as well as high self-esteem and confidence. Considering all these benefits to your child, piano lessons sound like a pretty good investment!
Each child develops at a different rate, but there are some basics to consider. A toddler can easily bang away on a piano, and although this may be hard on your ears, introducing your little one to an instrument during her early years may help her to develop an interest later on.
Cultivating a love of music can start early; at the age of 3 or 4 , your child will benefit from taking piano lessons. An hour lesson is too long for most children, and pushing them will only result in frustration. If you’d like your little one to start early, gauge how much he can focus and for how long, and adjust your lesson times accordingly. This rule applies to practice sessions as well. In the beginning, fifteen minutes might be plenty of time for a lesson. Coupled with short daily practice session, your child will learn to enjoy playing the piano without feeling overwhelmed. By age 7 or 8, your child will have a foundation in piano, and will be able to build upon his skills to progress at a faster rate.
Other things to consider
You don’t have to run out and purchase a baby grand piano in order for your child to start lessons. Unless you have a room dedicated for a piano, you may simply not be able to accommodate one anyway. A smaller initial investment of a keyboard is probably enough to begin. As your child grows and as the piano lessons become more technical, you can consider investing in a piano to support your child’s musical accomplishments.
The placement of your piano within your house is something else to think about. You don’t want your child’s practice sessions to have to compete with the TV, phone or even the dishwasher. If your child can’t find a quiet time to practice, it is best to have the piano set up in a side room where the door can be closed to block out distractions.
It might seem like a small detail, but when you do invest in your piano, make sure you purchase a bench or stool that easily adjusts. As your child grows, they’ll want to have a comfortable seat that can grow along with them. A seat that is too tall or too short can lead to back pain, even in young children.
Consider finding a piano teacher that is the best fit for your child. Ask your friends for advice, and try out a few teachers before making your final decision. Ideally, your piano teacher will love working with your child and will have extensive teaching experience. Having a great piano teacher can make all the difference!
Don’t stress! In the beginning, keep practice sessions lighthearted, and let your child discover the joys of playing piano without the anxiety of “getting it right the first time.” Practice makes perfect!