Starting early may be appropriate if you have a very musical child. Early signs of musical talent include:
- Ability to match pitches by or around age 2
- Ability to repeat back rhythms
- Ability to remember and sing or play back tunes
- Ability to “pick out” a tune by ear
- Frequent singing along with or repeating songs
- Primary Listening Ability: Our innate listening abilities are particularly keen up to age 7.
- Natural Curiosity
- Fearlessness: Younger children usually haven’t yet learned to be fearful about performing in front of others or making the kind of mistakes that are part of the natural learning process.
- More Time: At this age, children usually don’t have a lot of competing demands from school.
Consider the following factors if you have an early starter:
- Interest: Be sure that the child is interested in music, not just the parent.
- Parent Involvement: Parents will need to be more involved in guiding younger students in their practice and musical activities.
- Teaching Methods: Make sure the teaching methods are appropriate for young children. For instance, most young children respond well to learning games and plenty of encouragement. Shorter lessons, pieces and practice times work best to begin with and can be expanded gradually as their attention span and skill grow.
- Listening: Tap into young children’s keen listening sense by playing music for them often.
- Reading: It can be difficult for a child to learn to read music at the same time they are learning to read language. Consider the Suzuki Method for young children. The Suzuki Method guides young students to learn by listening and imitating. They develop musical listening, coordination and tone first and then later learn to read music.
- Size: Chose an instrument that fits your child’s size. Certain instruments, such as violin, guitar, cello and some keyboards, are available in small sizes. Recorder is usually very manageable for smaller fingers. Start with something they can handle and upgrade the size or switch to a different instrument when they are ready.