Is my child too young for _______ lessons? Wouldn’t it just be a waste of money? You could fill in the blank with any instrument there really.
This is not a commonly asked question. Recently I was asked this for the first. But I felt compelled to answer because the response is one that should affect some major ways in which we view music study in general.
If your child is over the age of five, he or she is probably not too young at all.
And that is not to say that under five is too young either, only that generally at TIA we start students around five. Most of our five-year-old students begin with a fifteen-minute lesson, and this is primarily based on experience with attention spans and retention of musical understanding, and nothing else.
The particular question raised recently was, is my child too young for voice lessons? Isn’t the voice still developing and therefore we would just be wasting time and money?
The answer here would be the same for any instrument. Yes, the voice is still changing. If we were speaking of a piano student or a horn player, they too would still be physically developing. But that doesn’t mean we should wait until they are a teen or an adult to begin. Do professional athletes wait until college to learn their sport?
The issue here runs far deeper than practical matters of age, physical development, vocal chords, and the like. The real question is, why learn music at all? Enrolling a child in voice lessons should never be focused primarily on them learning to sing, but on them learning music, and expressing that music through the human voice.
We have several posts worth reading on why music education is important and I will link them at the bottom here. But let me just offer a few key reasons that you should begin immersing your child in the study of music at a young age. Whenever you believe they are ready and they are up for it.
- Discipline: Music is not just an art (though it is). Music is a discipline. Everyone needs discipline in their life.
- Creativity: Music is one of the most expressive forms of art known to man. Everyone needs to be afforded opportunities to be creative, and learning how to express yourself in healthy ways is an essential human skill.
- Cognitive and Language Study: Music is in many ways a language. Countless studies have shown that the earlier children begin to learn language the easier they understand it, and the better they learn in general.
- Music appreciation and understanding: Learning the history of music, learning to appreciate music and understand it deeper even just as a listener is vital for all people.
I could list more. But of these four, not one is dependent upon physical development. And even if physical and mental development would affect these, a student will not lose anything, they have only to gain.
- Music Making: Of course, music making is fun, and it can be incredibly freeing (from pain, from depression, from anxiety). And yes, as students develop physically the way that they make music sometimes changes. The longer they have been at it the more we are able to help them through these changes as well. All the more reason to start young.
Four practical reasons that everyone should study music
Four simple reasons your child should study music