There are many people involved in your child’s music study! It isn’t only about her, there are you, parents, her siblings, and of course her future teacher.
Let’s start with some tips of how you can determine if your child is ready NOW, or if she needs some additional time and preparation. And if giving her additional time to mature turns out to be a good idea, then what you can do to make that time fruitful in preparation for her future music study.
There are some signs of readiness which you can see yourself without going for a consultation with professional musician:
- Is she interested? If she said so, very good, but it isn’t enough. Does she stop playing a game or doing a puzzle when you turn on music? Does she react to the mood of what she hears? Does she ask questions about it? Do her the questions show emotional
- involvement, do they go beyond simple search for information (“what is this thing?”). Is she interested in interacting through music: does she ask to sing a tune for you? Does she join you when you sing? Does she pull you to do some dancing together if the music is funny and fast or slow and sad? If yes, then you have your answer. If she treats music as background noise, it doesn’t mean she is not musical and shouldn’t take lessons; it just means she isn’t quite ready yet and needs time to learn more active involvement. Later we will have a post about what you can do to help her.
- Does he have attention required for study? This is a much simpler question. Any child who is able to focus on a task for about 30 minutes is ready
- Does she have enough academic background? Again, not too difficult. If she can perform basic arithmetic, fluent with the alphabet, and is able to read at about 1-2 grade level, yes, she is. There are also other fundamentally different systems of music pedagogy which teach kids who don’t yet meet this academic level. You don’t need to just wait passively for your child to grow. Actually you shouldn’t! We will post a list of things you can do, and classes you can sign you child for in preparation for regular traditional music lessons.
- Does he have his motor abilities and eye tracking ready? This is a bit more complicated, and you may need to ask a music teacher to assess, but the basics are usually quite clear: Is his pencil grip comfortable and relaxed? Can he tap individual fingers on a kitchen table? Can he easily track smaller moving objects like ping pong ball of a fly?
- Dyslexia. Many kids around age 5-7 display some signs of what may look like dyslexia: they write latter backwards or upside down, they turn left when you ask them to go right, they don’t immediately distinguish between right hand and left hand. These signs are normal for most kids that age, they will go away, they do not necessarily mean your child is dyslexic. But some kids do have dyslexia, and the sooner you find out, the better it is for her. Because dyslexic children do not need to suffer from additional difficulties learning a music instrument, majority of kids with dyslexia can learn and enjoy playing piano or violin or another instrument as fully as the kids without dyslexia. What they need is a teacher who is qualified to teach kids with dyslexia. Take a look at this article, it will give you some ideas of where to start.