Lundblad Piano Studio

What is the best age to begin piano lessons?

There is no "best age" to start piano lessons.  Rather, I use the following guidelines:

  • Age suggestion:  Students are generally ready to begin lessons around the second or third grade.  However, young beginner curriculum is available for the young, eager student. 
  • Students should be able to tell their right hand from their left
  • Students should understand the concepts of up and down
  • They should be starting to read "easy" books
  • Their attention span should be able to handle sitting and paying attention for 30 minutes (the length of lessons)
  • It really helps if the student has the desire to take piano lessons!
  • My opinion:  I have started many beginning students in lessons over the years.  Young beginners (around Kdg. or 1st grade) will typically do well in lessons, as long as they have a parent at home to sit with them and practice with them every night.  I've found that if I start one student early (around Kindergarten) and another later (around 2nd grade), most people would think the Kindergartener would go the farthest in lessons. I have found the opposite is true. The student who begins in the second grade typically does better, and sticks with it longer.    
  • Momentum:  My theory is that it all boils down to momentum. Sure, a student can start piano lessons at an early age, and many well-meaning parents sign their kids up for piano lessons before they are truly ready to begin. However, the younger children progress slower than someone who starts in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Let's say the student in Kdg is going (in car terms) 20 miles per hour. They are getting steady progress done, but are going at a slow and steady pace. When a student starts later (2nd grade or so), they progress at 40 or 50 miles per hour. Piano is much more exciting for them, and it comes much more easily for them at that time. They get used to the "faster" pace, where the student who starts earlier gets used to the "slower" pace. 
  • In the End:  I've found out that most students end up at the same level when they reach around the 4th or 5th grades, whether they started in Pre-K, Kdg, 1st, or 2nd grade. The interesting thing is that it doesn't stop there; the students don't just end up at the same level at that time. The students who are used to the "faster" pace tend to keep that kind of progress going, and the student used to the slower pace tend to keep that pace going.  The students who started earlier seem to end up losing interest and quitting piano earlier, too. 
  • I tell other parents that I recommend children beginning piano lessons "later", as I know it can potentially save them money and stress in the long run.  Starting when a child is ready (for the discipline and hard work that comes with learning any worthwhile skill) could help their children stick with it and develop a passion for music that lasts a lifetime.