Lessons for children

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I have a 5 and 7 year old, what is a good age for children to start taking lessons? How do we decide what would be a good instrument to start them with?

-- lee Moniz (valleem@aol.com), August 29, 2000


Dear Wonderful Parent, I taught grade school music for three years, played professionally for 8 years, teach some privately now - and have played instruments since the age of 9. I would listen to your children. The minute they say, "Ma, I want to learn how to play the (blank), find them one. Guitars, ukeles (sp?) and violins come in tiny sizes. Cheap little keyboards can be found lots of places. I never had interest in the piano (still don't). I am not a fan of Suzuki - I see many children burning out very young. This ain't Japan. Littlest ones can play plastic recorders, xylophones and percussion intruments. The key is this: parents must be there to "encourage" children to practice 6 days a week once they begin lessons. 15 minutes is good. Too many parents think children will inately have this selfdiscipline - but guess what?? How do you think humans BECOME selfdisciplined?? By working hard each day. They will see fast progress and this will also encourage them. Usually, public schools start offering lessons 5th-6th grade. Most children are large enough to play full sized instruments by then. My daughter(9) has asked for violin and guitar so far, but I don't think she is ready (4th gr). She takes dance lessons, sings and "writes" pop tunes. Cool, huh? If you are wondering how I, in N.C., found this site, my friend just moved there and turned me on to it. I am considering relocation. Best of luck to you, LN

-- LN Shapely (ln@newbernnc.com), September 11, 2000.

This is wonderful advice. There a teachers who work very well with this age group. You would do very well to ask for refferences of parents who have children who started out in the first or second grade. the teacher needs to be flexable and inviting. The parents need to be inxouraging and insist on daily practice.

Good Luck.

-- John Lester (drumschool@aol.com), September 11, 2000.

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