What Age Should You Start Piano?

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It’s generally accepted that musical skills should be started early. Yet there is nothing wrong with waiting, in fact, the older a child is, the greater their intellectual abilities, and thus the greater their chances of success.

The reason for starting earlier is that the brain is in an earlier stage of development, and thus may absorb more. That is only a theory.

There is one rule, though. The younger the child, the gentler the approach must be. The actions of the child themselves will tell you what they are ready for.

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I have studied this subject mostly through exposure to families with a group of siblings of varied ages.

When the older kids take piano, the youngest ones usually want to be included. I always let them, not only as prospective customers, but because their enthusiasm is so real.

But what exactly is a three year old capable of? I’ve found that all you can really do is establish that the piano is a fun place to be, thus we always play games, as silly as possible.

For one three year old, the lesson of three minutes consisted of him being able to find Middle C, not hard when it is marked with a big red sticker. But still he was delighted with this task, and slowly we built upon that, finally creating a rendition of TWINKLE TWINKLE that he loved to play.

He played with his index finger and I never asked for more: his brain was occupied with finding the keys.

Sometimes we played FOURS, a silly piano game. Eventually he learned chords and could play C F and G.

This took, at three minutes a week, about two years. Yet, at the age of five, he requested “real” lessons. And he got them, since he was so well prepared.

I tell all of this about the three year old because I want parents to see how age-related practically every piano skill is.

Asking kids to do things that their brains cannot do is a recipe for frustration and disaster, yet almost all piano teachers persist in this madness.

So that is why age is a crucial factor in deciding whether or not to start piano lessons.

The other factor is curriculum: the younger the child, the simpler and slower lessons shall be. More complex ideas are for older kids.

So make sure the curriculum and teacher fits the age of the child. A child who cannot count and barely knows the letters is ready for a little fun at the piano, but not serious lessons.

You can start at age three, but you will have to be tremendously patient.

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