All parents want the best for their children. Many of them ask themselves, what is the main benefit I receive if I plan to register my infant to the music class? Would they become a professional music player in the future if they began earlier?
The benefit of music and the hearing ability of children start when babies are in the womb. Babies reacted to the classical music of Beethoven when pregnant mums played the music. It shows the world that the musical cognition journey starts from the very beginning of humanity’s lifecycle.
Music lessons are a fantastic way for children to express themselves and gain confidence, but at what age should they begin?
There are two main viewpoints on this: get them started as early as possible or wait until they get older to decide themselves.
First Viewpoint: Start As Early As Possible
Many parents believe that in order for their children to build a lifelong relationship with music, they must start analytical and theoretical lessons as early as possible. This is not entirely true.
Formal lessons do not need to begin at an early age if the child does not enjoy the experience.
At this age, the main goal is not to learn to play an instrument but to further develop cognitive skills like identifying a beat in music, identifying melody, or helping to find their favorite instruments. These sorts of informal music lessons are a great way to ease your child into their musical journey.
By age five or so, most children have built a foundation that has prepared them for semi-formalized music lessons.
Self-regulatory and music in early childhood
Early music activities help children also with the growth of self-regulation. Self-regulation skills are part of brain development which starts in the first five years of life. Children with high self-regulatory backgrounds can coordinate thinking and behavioral processes more easily. It is also related to working memory, academic achievement, stress management and emotional states.
Structured informal approaches to music participation, rather than focusing on music theories and concepts, can enhance self-regulatory skills in early childhood. Examples of these informal activities are singing (action songs), storytelling, dancing, rhythmic games, parent-infant active music, etc. MiFa Music & Art school offers various kids’ music classes separated based on age and expression skills of students.
Second viewpoint: Wait Until the Child Can Decide
There comes a time in Pre-School, however, usually around five years old, when children express a stronger awareness of music and are ready to explore things more formally.
At higher age, children can decide about their favourite musical instruments. They have the adequate physical strength to select more giant instruments such as bass or cello. The music teacher can start to teach simple and engaging theoretical and analytical lessons. Children would be more committed to the classes and instruments as the children have participated in the selection process of the instrument.
There is no fixed recommended age for what age to start each musical instrument. The best age will be evaluated based on personal characteristics, physical readiness, attention span, and learner’s level of interest.
Research suggests a ‘window of opportunity’ between the ages 3 and 9, in which the child’s musical sensibility is developed. In this age bracket, the cognitive functions associated with understanding musical elements are formed, and taking advantage of this natural stage of development can result in a richer, more rewarding lifelong music career.
Because of this, the ideal age to begin music lessons is between 3 and 9. This is a fairly broad range, allowing room for each individual child to mature enough to commit to formal lessons with a bit of encouragement from mum and dad.
In summary, there are three answers to the question, “What age should a child begin music lessons?”. The gold ages for starting music are between 3 and 9, based on the research. Structured informal music activities can be started as early as 6 months to age 5. Semi-formal and systematic classes begin around age 5 and after with the goal of learning the instruments between age 6 and 9. These ages are not fixed for all children, and consultation with music teachers is required for more positive progress.
MiFa Music & Art School
It really is never too late or too early to begin lessons if you or your child is enthusiastic and ready to learn. MiFa School offers musical and art classes for the first experiences with musical instruments and advanced training inspired by approved international approaches, namely Suzuki, Orff and Kodaly.
Check out our different kid’s music classes and sign up for free consultation with our professional music teachers.