When is the best time to start kids on the piano?
I thought I had it all figured out thanks to Chris Thorpe. We had the same piano teacher, and he played his first recital when he 13. He was just beginning, and I had been through all of the lesson books. The next recital, he was much improved, and when he won a piano concerto competition at the University of Utah, one that I didn’t even place in, it donned on me that he may have surpassed me.
So naturally decided I that the best time for a child to take piano was at thirteen, a time when your child is mature, independent, self-motivated, and disciplined. I am now coming to realize that it might not be the age of thirteen as much as it was just Chris Thorpe.
My first three boys started somewhere between nine and ten. Two of them quit, and I think I might have had more success when they were younger and more afraid of me:)
The other is doing very well, but I think an earlier start would have really helped him. He’s had absolutely outstanding piano teachers, usually BYU masters students in piano performance, and all agree that five is the age to start.
So we started Ricky at five. It’s been–interesting. Let me tell you a bit about Ricky. Deborah has usually gotten dressed twice, while Ricky is still lying on the floor in his pajamas. His piano lessons are hysterical—he in some hypnotic trance, his teacher always snapping her fingers at him. The cutest thing though is when he plays his memorized pieces. At some point, he looks at the audience while he’s playing, which is so cute because it’s like he’s completely forgotten that he’s playing and soon he’s forgotten what he is playing.
He played one of his recital pieces for his teacher this week, and he started to roll his upper body, like he was hula hooping in slow motion and that didn’t help his accuracy either. The teacher kept saying, “Ricky, look at the keyboard. The keyboard, Ricky.”
So maybe five is a little young, BUT–it has been so sweet. I have loved sitting at the piano and practicing with him. He’s a little out there, but he’s actually improved so much. It’s been so sweet for our relationship because now I’m giving him one on one attention, and he’s about to finish his second set of books. I’ll probably start Deborah at five too.