Learning at a Young Age

said: Aug 4, 2006
 1 posts

What age would you recommend a child to begin training with a Suzuki teacher for piano lessons. Thanks

Laura said: Aug 5, 2006
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

This question can be answered in so many ways, but it sounds like you are asking from the practical perspective (i.e. when should I sign my kid up for private lessons), so I’ll answer that way.

Your child’s readiness is the most important factor. Above all, he/she should be able to receive and respond to instruction, be able to behave respectfully on a one-on-one level with another adult, and have had some musical experience/awareness from home and life in general.

I believe there is also such a thing as being “too old” to begin in pure Suzuki. By a certain age, learning by intellect tends to dominate over learning by osmosis, which is the stage that is best suited to the Suzuki beginner experience. (Think of introducing languages to children—the younger the are, the easier they just pick it up.) Older beginners sometimes benefit more from a modified Suzuki approach which may include, among other things, earlier introduction to music reading. But then, some of the benefits of pure Suzuki (e.g. fluency, playing from memory, overall musicality) tend to be watered down. I am only speaking in generalities here—every child is different of course.

Considering all that, the ideal “window” for starting in formal Suzuki lessons is generally understood to be around age 3 to 6. Of course, this varies with individual children.

Dr. Suzuki always said, the earlier the better. Things just tend to kick in more effectively. It might not seem like it at first (from a teacher’s persective, there is a world of difference between teaching 3-yr old and 6-yr old beginners), but a child’s learning potential grows exponentially during the earliest years and tends to level off in the school-age years. When dealing with something as as complex as learning a musical instrument, it always helps to establish the experience long before they have a chance to figure out it is actually complicated, and by then, the experience will truly be well within their hearts instead of simply their minds.

Melissa said: Aug 7, 2006
 151 posts

I like to start children at age 4 1/2 for Suzuki piano.

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