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Myth Buster: Do I Have To Take Piano Lessons First?

I am sure many of you heard the following when you were younger and wanted to learn a musical instrument: “You have to take piano lessons first, before you can learn the instrument you want to play.”

In my over 30 years of teaching experience, I have heard this belief numerous times. I have often seen the unfortunate results of following this idea. Here are a few things that parents and students should consider before starting any type of music lessons.

Let your child pick the instrument they want to learn on. That in itself is a positive start, as that is what they want to learn and therefore they will be more inclined to practice.

Musical instruments come in many different sizes and styles. It is important that you explain to your child that they may not physically be ready to start that instrument. This is your opportunity to guide your child in helping them make a choice. (Example: If they are 5 years old and they want to learn the guitar, there are smaller sizes of guitars to fit their body size, but the strength needed in their fingers regardless of guitar size will be the same. They will need to be able to press hard on the strings and this often is a discouragement to small young children. I am not saying that young children are not able to learn an instrument. I am saying that there is a “better” age to start them, somewhat later, when they are more physically developed. You do not want to discourage a child by giving in to their demands that they want to start an instrument and then shortly into the lessons they discover that it is harder (physically) than they thought and now want to quit and probably never want to try it again.)

Keep in mind this is just an example, but I have personally seen this happen numerous times with all types of instruments and that is a big reason that you see so many adults start music lessons. I have personally heard this from numerous adults when they begin music lessons with me. They did not enjoy their music lessons when they were a child because they were forced to learn a different instrument than the one they wanted to learn. How unfortunate is that!

Musically speaking, there is NO advantage to taking the “piano” first above any other instrument. Each instrument will teach you the music basics and what you learn can easily be transferred to any other instrument.

You do not have to rush your child into music lessons at a young age. It is not a comparison or a challenge or a competition. It is doing what is best for your child. You need to make the decision. Everything else these days in life seems to be at an alarming fast pace. Children that start music lessons at 4 or 5 years old will learn at a much slower pace than a child that is 8 years old. The 4-5 year old may take 2-3 years to get to a certain level and the 8 year old probably only one year to get to that same level. I am not suggesting that what I have written here is the only choice, I just want to make people aware of the myth out there and prevent any other children from becoming discouraged at a young age about taking music lessons.

Article by Melanie from MelaniesMusicLessons.com

I am a very friendly and patient teacher. If you have any questions or wish to learn music lessons, feel free to ask at my website. - Melanie