Guide to Your Child's Musical Future

Research agrees, experts concur—music instruction helps children in life. Music can provide joy, beauty and build important life skills in children at any age. The gift of music lasts a lifetime: after the soccer ball is in the garage, the ballet shoes are in the back of the closet and the football uniform is too small, music continues—often into adulthood.

Preschool music programs engage a child’s natural curiosity and exploration and include singing, movement and interactive activities with adults. From birth to school age, classes are designed to pique young children’s innate response to sounds and singing, rhythms and movement.

Formal music lessons can begin when students are officially starting formal school, usually first grade. Piano and violin are the most common “starter” instruments because the physical limitations of a child’s body will not allow them to play other instruments until they are older.

Before you and your child embark on a music journey, it is imperative to the success of your child’s musical experience to choose a qualified music teacher.

So Don’t Delay Building A Music Future—Your Journey Begins Now

YOUR NEXT STEP…

Birth–24 Months
Preschool music classes begin with basic information and exposure to movement, response to music genres, lullabies, tickles and wiggles. The child is always accompanied by an adult who learns the material to be repeated during the week. Babies are always ready to do something—music is the perfect activity.

2–4 Years
Preschool classes for toddlers are designed to engage children both with and without adults. Toddlers are exploring the world, learning about colors, numbers, letters and seasons. Look for music programs that integrate both music and life skills into their world. Singing and movement will be a big part of toddler music programs.

5–6 Years
Many music programs begin the introduction of music instruments at age 5, particularly piano and string programs. Physical limitations of a child’s body prevent students from beginning other instruments until later. Programs introducing children to the piano or string instruments usually require parents to attend and/or are designed with the pre-first-grader in mind. Classes are generally made of a variety of activities, not just sitting and playing the instrument for 30 minutes. Check into programs that introduce you child to the instrument, but also involve movement, rhythm activities, singing and more. If you are considering individual one-on-one lessons at this age, be sure your child has developed a longer attention span and has an understanding of numbers and the alphabet.

6 and Older
At this age, students typically begin formal lessons, either in a group setting or privately. There are disadvantages and advantages to both kinds of study, and you will want prospective teachers to articulate those reasons for you. Certainly, group lessons foster social skills, cooperative learning and teamwork. Teachers are proactively planning classes and designing lesson plans that involve several aspects of learning the instrument. In a private, individual setting, teachers are designing lessons based solely on each individual student and his or her individual progress, focusing primarily on repertoire.

CHOOSING A MUSIC TEACHER
Regardless of the program you select or your child’s age, choosing a competent, qualified music teacher is the essential key for unlocking your child’s musical potential.

Consult with friends, family and others who are acquainted with teachers in your community. Remember that cost and location are not the most important qualities of a potential educator.

  • What is your professional, teaching and educational experience and background?
  • In what ongoing professional development activities do you participate?
  • Are you nationally certified by Music Teachers National Association?
  • What are your studio policies? May I have a written copy to review?
  • How would you describe the lesson or class structure?
  • May I visit a class or lesson?

Find a nationally certified teacher of music.

More information about choosing a qualified music teacher.

YOUR JOB IS NOT OVER…ARE YOU READY?
Adult involvement in a child’s musical training is paramount to the success of the child. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself…

  • Are you prepared to attend classes/lessons regularly?
  • Are you prepared to purchase a quality instrument when the time comes?
  • Are you prepared to spend time with your child helping to guide and direct a focused practice?
  • Have you spent the time necessary to find a qualified music teacher?
  • Do you have clear expectations of what you want from your child’s music instruction?