What is the Right Age to Start Learning the Piano?

Introducing your child to music at a young age has a positive impact on his or her development.

There have been many examples of this and in this video, musician and YouTuber Rick Beato shows us how he introduced his son to music when he was a baby and the positive impacts it had on him as he grew up.

To start attending formal lessons, your child should have basic motor skills, should be able to focus on something at least for half an hour and should be able to follow instructions given by an adult. Children who are 6 years and above usually display these traits so the ages between 6-8 are generally considered the best time to start going for piano classes.

Most children who are below 6 will usually have trouble focusing on a task (especially learning) for an extended period due to which going for formal lessons may not be ideal in this case as the teacher might have to spend most of their time trying to get the child to focus on the lesson or follow basic instructions. There are always exceptions and there will be a handful of kids who may be able to make the best out of formal lessons but for the majority, it may not be an ideal solution.

This does not mean that children below 6 years must be left in the dark when it comes to music. Parents play a major role in introducing their children to music. Having a piano or a keyboard (not toy pianos or keyboards) at home helps as they will be exposed to the instrument from a young age. It also helps if the parents themselves know how to play the instrument and spends time playing for their children and giving them basic lessons. During the early years of a child’s development (0-7 years), their brains are more sensitive to sounds as it is a crucial period when they naturally start learning how to communicate with others. Like language, music is also dependant on sounds and using sounds to convey something that has meaning. Children who are exposed to music during their early years have an advantage over someone who starts learning music later in life as their brains are more receptive to absorb auditory information when they are young. This is the reason why it is easier to learn a new language when you are young. Exposing your child to high information or complex music genres like classical music or jazz music instead of simple nursery songs or tunes can also make a huge difference. High information music is music that incorporates a variety of musical elements like phrasing, articulation, dynamics, tonal range, etc. Just think of it as the difference between the language used in a literary classic compared to the language used by an author writing for a young audience. Though the child may not understand or appreciate the complexity of a classical or jazz piece, their brains subconsciously process these auditory complexities. This is the reason why a child who grows up in a household that is fluent in a specific language also ends up being fluent in that language (provided everyone is actively communicating with each other). The child may not fully understand everything their parents are speaking but his or her brain picks up these auditory cues and enables him or her to become a fluent speaker. This is the reason why it’s important why your children should be listening to high information music instead of simple tunes.

What about later beginners and adults? Is there no hope for them? While it is certainly ideal to start learning the piano or any instrument when you are young, it does not mean you cannot start learning when you are older. While the brain of a child is more receptive towards learning new things, they also have a hard time focusing on a task for extended periods. There are very few children who would enjoy practising an instrument for hours every day. However, a highly motivated teen or adult can easily accomplish this task with their sheer willpower and determination. This is an advantage late beginners have over children so there is no upper age limit if you want to start learning the piano. Late beginners can also understand and relate to the deeper meaning and emotions conveyed by a composer in his or her music as they would have experienced those emotions in their own lives. My family did not have any background in music nor was I interested in music till I was 17 years old. It was only when I was 18 that I started showing an interest in music and picked up the guitar. I learnt the guitar for many years, and it was in my mid-20s that I started learning the piano and I managed to finish my Grade 8 Piano exam in 5 years.

At Encore Piano Academy, we understand the challenges faced by each age group when it comes to learning the piano. Therefore, we have separate course structures and teaching methods depending on the age group of the student.

  • Beginner Programme – for ages 6-8
  • Late Beginner Programme – for ages 8-15
  • Adult Beginner Programme – for ages 16 and above

This kind of personalised learning approach ensures that the student does not feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the contents of the programme he or she is in.

To know more about our programmes, schedule a free demo class or call us!