Is My Child Ready To Begin Music Lessons

music lessons
  • How do you know if your child is prepared to take on the many challenges of learning an instrument?
  • Does your child express a strong interest either by often playing or imitating playing an instrument and/or asking for lessons repeatedly?
  • Is your child between the ages of 5 and 10?
  • Does your child have a good attention span for learning new things and does he/she enjoy being challenged?
  • Is your child musical? Does he/she enjoy singing, dancing or listening to music frequently?
  • Does your child enjoy reading? Does your child do well in school?
  • Are the parents willing and committed to supervising and enforcing daily practice sessions (the younger the child, the more parental involvement is required)?
  • Many factors play into the success or failure of your child’s musical studies. If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, chances are very good that your child is ready. The commitment by the parent to view this new endeavor as an important extension of your child’s education is crucial to the your child’s success!

    If you would like to discuss the your child in detail or believe your child is ready for lessons, you can reach us at 410-704-3248 or mzellhofer@mdpai.org

    Music Lessons Help Develop Smarter Children

    music lessons

    A study on the link between music and intelligence reports that music training—specifically piano instruction—is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. The findings are a result of a two-year experiment with young children, conducted by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine. As a follow-up to their studies indicating how music can enhance spatial-reasoning ability, the researchers compared the effects of musical and non-musical training on intellectual development. 

    The experiment included four groups of young children: one group received private piano/keyboard lessons; a second group received singing lessons; a third group received private computer lessons; a fourth group received no training. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal reasoning (the ability to think ahead and see symmetries and patterns) than the others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for math, chess, science and engineering. 

    Aside from these educational benefits, learning to play the piano will help your child build self-confidence and self-discipline while giving your child a love and appreciation for music and a valuable skill he will enjoy for a lifetime.

    How To Find A Qualified Teacher

    Are you interested in getting your child started in music lessons, but don’t know where to begin and how to find a great teacher? There are many people teaching instruments, unfortunately, few are truly qualified. Anyone can profess to be a music teacher. There are no state regulations, licenses, permits, certifications, etc. required by law to teach music. If your child studies with an unqualified teacher, you will waste your valuable time and money. Please don’t be tempted to hire the teacher who lives closest to home and charges the least. Parents often spare no expense when signing up their children for many sports activities and driving them to all parts of the city (and beyond) for practices, games and tournaments. Shouldn’t the same consideration be given to learning an incredibly valuable life skill that will uniquely enhance your child’s brain function and his ability to learn higher forms of math and science? Also, don’t be fooled into a false sense of security at a music store. Many of the teachers working in these stores have minimal skills. Music stores have difficulty finding and hiring qualified teachers who are willing to give the storeowners a percentage of their income, so they often hire whoever applies for the teaching job, regardless of training or background. Children can spend years taking lessons and have little to show for it other than many bad habits. The difficult task of undoing the damage is sometimes impossible. This is not the parent’s fault! Parents just need to know the right questions to ask. Instrument training is one of the most important extensions of your child’s education money can buy. It is also a skill that will teach your child many disciplines other than just learning a musical instrument. With the evidence now published about the link between musical training and higher intelligence, parents should insure that the training their child receives provides maximum benefits. The teacher you hire will make all of the difference in your child’s success. When interviewing teachers, ask these important questions: 

    Does the teacher have a college degree in music? If the answer is “no”, go elsewhere. This is very important! There are three major degrees available. 

    1) Music Performance Degree is the highest degree available and requires the most intense instrument study. This person has excelled to a very high level of performing and has had years of excellent training. (This is the teacher you should hire!) 

    2) Music Education Degree entitles the person to teach classroom music (choir, band, orchestra) in school but does not make a particular instrument the sole focus. (This teacher would also be competent to teach, but perhaps only to an intermediate level.)

    3) Music Therapy Degree qualifies the person to work with the physically and mentally disabled using music as a form of therapy and requires little instrument skill. (This teacher may or may not have excelled to a necessary level of competency). 

    After you have established the level of education the teacher has attained, you would ideally like to get “yes” answers to the following questions: 

    A) Does the teacher offer extensive training in music theory (the study of how music is created) and scale work and technique (scales are the foundation of all music). 

    B) Does the teacher require the beginning student to count rhythms aloud while playing? 

    C) Does the teacher offer regular opportunities to perform and compete? 

    D) Does the teacher offer professional and student/parent references upon request? 

    E) Does the teacher have a track record of maintaining students for many years? Have any former students gone on to pursue instrument degrees and musical careers? 

    F) Does the teacher insist on a personal interview to establish rapport with your child before the first lesson? 

    Now, unfortunately, with all of the above said, even if your teacher does possess all of these qualities, you are still not guaranteed a successful child musician. Many factors work together to create great results. The child’s own innate musical talents as well as the parent’s involvement and commitment to daily practice are enormous factors in whether your child will stick with music lessons long enough to achieve any level of musical competency. Hopefully, these tips will help in your search for a great teacher and your child can be on his way to learning one of the world’s greatest instruments, the right way!!