There’s no comprehensive answer to this question rather a number of observations which may help point you in the right direction. First and foremost there is little substitution for early exposure to music or musical instruments. Like sport or academia, interest and intuition can start as early as the individual becomes aware of it and some positive encouragement is always welcome.
However, if you’re going to part with your hard-earned cash for lessons you might want to bear the following factors in mind:
- Naturally, communication and the comprehension of basic instruction is a staple starting point in any lesson. In order to understand what’s going on, the student must be old enough to comprehend the tuition.
- Many instruments and techniques are taught through basic literacy and numeracy so it’s pretty much essential that the student is old enough to have basic reading, writing and counting skills. (The alphabet and basic arithmetic being the most essential)
- Physically, different instruments require different traits; woodwind and brass for example require developed lung capacity whereas upright-bass requires adequate height. Naturally, these issues need to be addressed before lessons are considered.
- In the case of instruments such as guitars and cellos, it’s crucial that smaller scale models are utilized in the early years as these remove the difficult physical barriers which inhibit progress. The instrument must always fit the individual.
The above factors may seem obvious but they’re as good a starting point as any. Always remember that kids learn and retain information more economically than adults so starting young is definitely a benefit. That being said, there’s no point in spending a month teaching a four year old something a seven year old would grasp in an hour. Each individual is different so parents are best placed to make a judgement on the suitability of their own children for lessons.
Hopefully these guidelines have been some help but remember they are only guidelines, some individuals won’t ‘get’ music until later in life and yet there have been child prodigies at the age of six. The best plan is positive encouragement from and early age and when you feel your own prodigy is ready to make the first step that’s the time to start!