Should Your Child Take Piano Lessons?

Which fall pastime is the right for your child?

Photography by Camera Eye Photography via Flickr (cc)

Photography by Camera Eye Photography via Flickr (cc)

Piano parents know that getting their kids into—and sticking with—piano can take dedication. Fortunately there is a range of teaching options available. Some instructors offer programming in schools, others in a studio and many teach out of their homes or will come to yours. Whatever the setup, for a quality class, search for registered teachers who are accredited within their province.

Children generally work one-on-one with a teacher and in the first year, progress toward playing with two hands, learning rhythms and reading notes. “In my studio I always interview potential new students and their parents.

This allows me to assess the child for readiness (concentration, listening and pitch skills),” says Edmonton’s Patricia Frehlich, public relations and marketing chair of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations. Students can start piano at age five, but ages six to seven might be better, depending on the child, she adds.

Piano also comes with homework. Frehlich suggests beginners start with about 20 to 30 minutes of practice five days a week, but that may not always happen. “Our nine-year-old, Nigel, has a half-hour lesson weekly throughout the school year, with about 10 minutes of practice every couple of nights,” says mom Tina Newlove of Campbellville, Ont.

Piano runs under a graded system and, like dance, children can work toward examinations through the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada, if they wish, but it is not required. And even though the year runs consistently with the school year—September to June—progress does not. For example, it can take three years to reach Grade 1 piano.

Frehlich estimates piano lessons run about $1,000 a year. Exams and books will cost extra.

Does My Kid Have It?
Talented students tend to have perfect pitch, can match tone and are creative at the
piano, says Frehlich. She also says that these children learn and process the music faster than other children, and also have a sharp memory for remembering notes.

To learn more, please visit Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations

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