The Right Instrument at the Right Time
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60s and 70s.
For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you, "the sooner, the better", but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons, their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest age usually do very well. The following guidelines is what we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.
3-4 Years Old
If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, a group preschool music class will give them a good foundation in music basics, which will be helpful in later private lessons. At this age, private lessons generally do not work as the child has not yet experienced the formal learning environment of kindergarten or school and learns more effectively though the game-oriented preschool environment. Babies and toddles can start learning music with our Mommy & Me classes. For more information, contact Lana at Pitter Patter Studios (310) 463-4847.
If you're not quite sure what instrument is right for you or your student, feel free to contact Santa Monica Music Center at (310) 453-1928 or Culver City Music Center at (310) 202-6874. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff are happy to field any questions or concerns you may have. You can also contact us via email at the bottom of the page.
At our school, 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.
We accept violin students from the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has show us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.
The average age of our youngest drum student is 6. This varies greatly depending on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals. However, younger students can start on the snare drum and practice pad learning stick control and rudiments.
8 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 8 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students are usually 10 years old and older.
Flute, Clarinet, and Saxophone
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone, the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 8 years and older.
10 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords, and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique.