IS YOUR CHILD READY
TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT? By Shannon Cahill
usic becomes an essential part of life at an early age. From babies bobbing back and forth to the beat of their favorite songs to toddlers banging pots and pans with a spatula. Parents see their child’s interest in music and wonder “Is my child ready to learn a musical instrument?” According to Dr. Robert A. Cutietta, who received his doctorate in music education and psychology from Pennsylvania State University, “There is a growing (and convincing) body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within 6 | Jan/Feb 2019
instrument makes. If they are showing interest at this stage you can attend a more “formal” parent/child music class that will help them learn with you. For this class to be productive, make sure your child can sit and concentrate for 10-30 minutes at a time and that he/she can follow directions. It’s important that their fine motor skills are up to par. For example, can your child color moderately well “within the lines” of a coloring book? Having this kind of control is very important when learning an instrument. Age five is when group or solo music lessons can start. The best instruments for beginners is the piano, keyboard or violin. Sign them up for a class to see how they like it. If all goes well, consider renting the instrument he/she is interested in so that they can practice at home without you having to dish out a ton of money on something that may not last. Valerie DAmbrosio, from Pottstown, P.A. finds that renting the instrument for her teenage daughter is the best option for them. “I rent to own our flute, this way if at any time she doesn’t want to play anymore they will take the instrument back or she can try something else.” If you child is older have them join their school band so they can try different instruments and find one they feel comfortable with. As children get older it’s harder to get them to practice. It’s important that your child is musically motivated and willing to set aside time to practice their instrument multiple times a week on their own. Tara Chester, from Pine Hill, N.J. says her 10-year-old daughter Gionna, “has to practice her clarinet four times a week, not including her school band practices.”
“If your child is showing an interest in music you can bring them to music classes starting at six months old”
children.” If your child is showing an interest in music you can bring them to music classes starting at six months old. These early age classes teach them how to have a fun relationship with music. A great way to interest your baby/toddler is to play games with music, have dance parties, sing songs and let them see others playing an instrument. Age three is when kids can really start to recognize different things in music such as a beat or melody. This makes it a perfect age to introduce them to the different sounds each
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Scott Pieczara, a music teacher at AP Schalick High School in Pittsgrove, N.J. says, “Kids always learn better when it’s a ‘want’. If they show passion or interest starting age doesn’t matter.”
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