So, your child is 5 years old, she is very bright, can already read and count.
She loves music, dances with some rhythms, sings along with songs on radio and when watching cartoons. You hear and read about how piano lessons improve kids’ ability for abstract thinking, problem-solving skills, help with math and overall improve their IQ. Everyone around has their kids (even younger than your daughter, oh, my goodness, did we miss the cut-off point?!?!?) enrolled in some kind of music program, mostly piano. Your child is going to be a kindergartener this year… a KINDERGARTENER already!!! Is it too late? is it just right? what do we do?!?
Yes, of course you want to make it right, and yes, parents want to see their kids go to Harvard in 12 years from now or, well… at least have a shot at it, right?
And yes, you talk and read about what it takes to get to Harvard. The 6+ languages, the two varsity sports, the 20+ piano competitions wins, the summer at World Bank or White House, the volunteer work at Haiti orphanage, the college courses in math and science in 5th grade, and so on and so on… Kids have their own websites, they make movies, they send articles to the President on the topics of foreign policy, they build campaigns to help sick and poor in North Korea at age 8 or younger. This is OVERWHELMING!!!!
Stop right there. Because this has nothing to do with music, piano, or your child. Stop and think: what is it you truly want for your child? Is it a beefed up resume, or is it happiness? Is it a list of accomplishments, or the experience and enrichment which the journey brings? Is it the ability to discover and express themselves or a shiny armor to impress?
In the years of our Studio existence we had graduates who went to Harvard. And those who went to Stanford, and MIT, and Cal Tech, and Oxford, along with Juilliard, and Curtis, and many other big name schools around the World. Most of the time it wasn’t the number of competition wins or the age they started piano (or accelerated math, or science competitions) that made the swing in their favor. It wasn’t necessarily the list of their accomplishments or test scores (although those got their candidacy to be considered, yes). In the end, it was their personality, their confidence, their desire and ability to throw themselves into action and dedicate themselves to something meaningful that propelled them forward.
And we had graduates who went to local community colleges at first, then worked their way up the ladder of educational prestige. We had an opportunity to watch these people become professionals and make successful careers.
One thing we see in common: those who focused on the journey and on becoming involved and connected as opposed to chasing tangible results, those were people who fared best, became more successful, and overall were happier all along. Some graduates did not get into their first choice schools right away but attracted more attention in a lesser school and were given opportunities they wouldn’t have at Harvard. Others did go to top schools but struggled with environment or pressure.
Your child’s journey to the stardom of profession and joys of happy life depends on being a star now and on the joy of learning process now, not as much on how many competitions he wins and how soon.
So, relax, if she starts today or a few months later, or even a year or two later will have no bearing on how smart or successful she will become. HOW she starts and HOW she continues will have a huge influence.