I'm frequently asked by parents what age their children should start taking music more seriously and begin a musical instrument. It always makes me happy to see that parents truly understand the importance of music to ask this question. Music is a wonderful way to express and challenge oneself. Pursuing this path plants the seeds for future growth in all areas.
Music should become a part of your child's life from birth. Dance, sing and play music! Give them drums to bang and maracas to shake. These are terrific ways to kick off your child's musical life. As they become toddlers, group music classes that incorporate movement, singing, playing instruments, and some music fundamentals are a great way to further musical exploration. Now, the big question:
When is a good age for a child to start private instruction on a musical instrument?
The answer is there is no set age. Some three-year-olds are ready while some six-year-olds are not. All children are different, and you have to listen and watch your child very carefully.
Ways to help determine if they're ready:
Okay, so they're ready to start a musical instrument. Now what?
Remember, your child doesn't have to love every moment of practice. In fact, there will be times when you and your child may want to throw in the towel. During this beginning stage, keep encouraging him. It's a tough balance to gently guide and have your child realize his musical potential without pushing too hard and stifling his natural enthusiasm. As he progresses and his musical sounds become more refined, your child will become motivated to play for himself and not just because he was told to by his teacher or you.
Learning an instrument is valuable for every child, even if your child decides that music is not her thing. It can give one an appreciation for effort and dedication; what it takes to become good at something. It can teach children to work through problems and to slowly build the necessary skills to ultimately create something beautiful, expressive, and meaningful.
An Emmy award-winning and internationally recognized composer, Belinda has been immersed in music since her childhood. Starting as a concert pianist, she turned to music composition at age 10. She received her bachelor's degree at Oberlin Conservatory and later went on to the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the sole spot for a full graduate fellowship and received her M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Composition. As a university professor, she has taught Music Composition, Music Theory and Orchestration at various universities including the Eastman School of Music, Rochester University, Drake University and Montclair State University. Belinda is a recognized authority and sought after speaker on children and music. She is currently ranked as the #1 "Mompreneur" by Babble.com and has been interviewed for her business and creative acumen in publications such as Time Magazine, Venture Beat, Forbes, Fast Company, among many others. She is a seasoned media producer having managed over 100 people and co-creating the Juno Baby and Juno Jr. brands. The Juno Company represents the culmination of her lifelong devotion to music, experiences as a mother and love of children.
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