Teaching young children at the piano is a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered at what age you should start accepting students? How young is too young, and how do you know if they’re ready? What is the best age for a student to start piano lessons, exactly?

The Ideal Age

The minimum age for a child to begin taking piano lessons is really more about a set of criteria than a number.

There may be exceptions, but in general you’ll want to look for the following in a potential student:

  • Their hands are large enough to span five consecutive white keys on the piano (since many method books begin by using five-finger positions).
  • They are able to sit (mostly) still and concentrate for half an hour, or however long the lesson will be.
  • They are able (or learning) to read, OR they have a parent or other adult who can sit with them while they practice. Most piano method books do involve some reading. The student will need to know when the music requires them to change hands, move hand positions, etc.

If your potential student can do all of the above, then they are probably ready to dive with you into the exciting world of piano music.

But wait…what about a maximum age? Is there a cutoff for how old a piano student should be when starting out?

In my opinion, the answer is no. There is no maximum age to start following a dream.

In fact, British pianist Jack Skelland recently made the news by passing his Grade 3 piano exam at age eighty-nine.

When it comes to learning an instrument, you may be too young but you can never be too old!

Tips For Children Who Aren’t Quite Ready

What if a child doesn’t meet the above criteria to begin piano lessons? Do they have to wait a little longer for music to become a part of their life?

Not at all!

There are many wonderful music programs available that are designed for young children who haven’t begun formal lessons yet. Look for early music educators in your local area. Chances are you’ll find some great information to pass along to parents of young children who aren’t ready to be part of your studio just yet.

How do you determine the best age for a student to start piano lessons? Do you have other criteria to determine when a child is ready? Let me know in the comments!

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