Learning to play the piano is suitable for all ages. However, starting young is proven to lead to many benefits including making the pianists better at speech perception and processing pitch. By enrolling your children into early musical training (not just piano!), you enhance their ability to learn and give them more time to master the instrument. Young piano players are typically ages 5-10 years old with 5 years old being a common age to start. This fact, however, shouldn’t discourage older kids and adults from trying to learn the piano as it can be taught at any age.

Pianos are easy to operate. You press down on keys and it produces sound. Young students might be able to grasp this instrument better than, say, a guitar or flute. At this age, kids are developing cognitively and physically simultaneously. They need concrete examples, analogies, physical lessons, and for the lessons to be broken up into steps.

Although piano has no age requirement, there are a few considerations to make with a young piano player.

Learn the finger numbers

Don’t try to jump into “hot cross buns” or any of the beginner songs you might hear. Rather than teaching pieces, begin with the concepts to build a foundation. Concepts will allow them to play more instead of limiting them to certain songs/pieces.

Beginners learn through experience, so the best place to start is finger numbers. For children, have them label their fingers from 1-5. Make sure they are able to know the difference between hands and fingers. The thumb is always “1” and the pinky is always “5”. See the image below for reference.

Teaching Piano Finger Numbers - Piano Lessons - Lessons in Your Home

Photo Credit: Lessons In Your Home

The purpose of numbering is to help pianists know where to position their fingers on a piano. Hand positions are essential to playing the piano. Piano finger numbers are indicated on piano sheet music to help you plan.

For piano students just learning to read, this can be a confusing concept to grasp and lead to an urge to number the fingers in order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 versus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1). Remind your kids that “thumbs are 1”.

Have fun making music

Many young students might not find lessons fun at first. They might want to jump to the part where they are playing their favourite songs. Try to keep things like, this will help ward away any negative feelings.

Always pay attention to signs that indicate a lack of interest or enthusiasm toward the instrument. Not overloading young players with practice for several hours can aid in keeping lessons interesting.

Practice Daily

Practice, practice, practice. From expert pianists to beginners, practicing is a fundamental part of mastering their craft. For young piano players, practicing in the morning is known to help them retain information better and improve how they function throughout the day. Ensure that practice is a daily routine that occurs at a set time each day such as before school. We recommend first thing in the morning as that is when your brain is most awake, fresh, and invigorated.

Practice for 1-2 hours per day. Begin with a 10-minute warm-up, then try scales, arpeggios, sight-reading, and other areas you want to improve on.

For children, following patterns can be complicated with so many factors to consider. If this is the case, tell them to forget the tempo (how fast the music is going) and slow it down. This process will allow them to see the details. They can also focus on each hand separately before playing it together. Young piano players thrive when given steps.

Be Patient

Even young prodigies will make mistakes sometimes. First-time piano players are no exception. As a parent or teacher, exercising patience will make you more empathetic to their situation and encourage them to grow. Ultimately, piano playing can be a fun experience. However, if a child is always scolded for making a mistake, they won’t want to learn.

In the cases where the young player is stuck, reevaluate the situation and try to come from another angle.


Got a young piano player interested in learning?

At Heritage Music School, Surrey piano teachers, students, and families are discovering how pianos can enrich their lives. Contact us at our Surrey or Langley music schools today with any questions you have about lessons, fees, and schedules, or for a free music assessment.