Posts Tagged ‘Instrument’

Dream Instrument or Piano First?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Or Piano First

A question I am asked over and over again by parents. “Should I let my child start out on their instrument of choice or is it best to begin with piano lessons for a solid musical foundation?”

My answer vaires depending on the age, personality, and instrument preference. Piano does indeed provide an excellent music background. A year or two of piano lessons under your belt will make learning a 2nd instrument easier by leaps and bounds. Music theory is built on the piano keyboard, taught from a piano perspective. This is highly due to the fact that the piano is an effective visual aid in understanding musical concepts.

A young child with a short attention span is rewarded with success very quickly on the piano. They are able to begin playing tunes they recognize, such as Twinkle Twinkle, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Lightly Row within the first month of lessons. The simplicity of the piano allows a student to sound good just as soon as they are able to get their fingers in the right place and press the keys in a certain order.

When learning a stringed instrument, it takes a bit of extra attention to posture and technique before a student is going to pull a strikingly beautiful tone from their instrument. Brass and woodwind instruments present a similar challenge due to embouchure, and air flow. Most students are ready for full size instruments when they have reached 5th grade. Music stores offer instrument rental programs and trade in policies to accomadate a short term need for smaller instruments for younger students.

Enthusiasm is something I love to take advantage of as a teacher! When a child has a sincere desire to play the violin, it is worth it to them to endure a little extra “pain” to achieve their dream. This helps us get over that initial hump, getting through the nitty-gritty mechanics of the violin.

We would all love for our child or student to be the next blooming prodigy. Starting at a young age, with a good teacher and parental support is essential for a student to meet their full potential. Let’s not pressure them and force our dreams on them though. Rather, let’s expose them to opportunities, with guidance, and let them blossom into the beautiful person they were created to be. If your child is a little older, maybe 8 yrs or older, I say let them pick their instrument. They are mature enough to have the patience to accomplish a more difficult instrument and they will appreciate the freedom to make this choice based of their personal taste.

In conclusion, my simple answer to this question is this: If it were my child, I would start them off with piano lessons around age 4 or 5 for early musical development. As they grew older I would encourage them to pursue a 2nd instrument of choice. Personally, I would keep my child in music until they were at least 12 years old. By then, a mature decision can be made in regards to continuing music. “I wish I never had music lessons!!” said no adult I know, ever!