image courtesy of Music & Rock School
We field a lot of questions about kids beginning music lessons here at Michigan Rock School, and we love helping people with answers. So we’ve put together a three part blog series to address some of the more common questions we hear. While we focus on performance-based programs, and getting students playing together in bands, we also offer private lessons to our students, so we work with beginners all the time in our Downtown Milford lesson studio. And though we just focus on “rock” instruments – guitar, bass, drums, voice, and keyboard – we think much of this information applies to anyone starting their musical journey on any instrument.
Part one of this series will address the age of students starting lessons. In part two we’ll cover the specific instruments students might begin playing. Finally, part three will be specific to the rock band programs we offer at Michigan Rock School.
How old should my child be to start playing a musical instrument?
We are often asked, how old should my child be before they start lessons. In general, we don’t have a specific age that kids must be before starting lessons. In our experience there are quite a few factors to determine if kids are ready for lessons. Each child is different, but if they are around 5 or 6 years old a few factors to consider in determining if they are ready include: attention span, and the instrument they are interested in playing.
Attention Span: At a minimum, students need to be able to focus during a 30-minute lesson, and regular practice time of at least 15 minutes per day.
Instruments: Different instruments require different types of motor skills. For example, the guitar requires the use of both hands simultaneously, and a good amount of finger dexterity (fine motor skills). You simply can’t make a guitar “work” without using two hands. Piano, however, is playable using just one hand or both. Often times young piano students will begin lessons just using the right hand, then add the left over time. Drums don’t require fine motor skills, but coordination between both hands and both feet. Like piano, young drum students can begin just focusing on their hands and stick technique.
What is the best age for my child to take lessons?
Again, there are a number of factors to consider when starting a child in music lessons, such as the instrument they are interested in playing, their attention span, etc. However, we’ve found that, in general, students between the ages of 10 and 14 years old tend to really thrive in lessons. We don’t have any statistics to determine why this is the case, but we theorize that they’re physically ready to play rock instruments like, guitar, drums, and bass, and eager to learn, all while not being too overwhelmed with other responsibilities.
In part two we will cover the specific instruments students might begin playing. Should they start on piano? Acoustic guitar before electric?
Need a bit more information? Feel free to send us an e-mail, give us a call, or stop by our Downtown Milford location. We are more than happy to help!