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When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 08:27 PM   #1
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When should our kid start music lessons?

Kid turns 3 in a couple months, and we want music to be an integral part of her life.* *So, what's the best age and approach to start?

I am a musical idiot with several false starts, and my wife took enough lessons as a kid to give her a nervous twitch whenever she sees a piano.

The Suzuki Method sounds intriguing, but our local Suzuki teacher reminded me of the Soup Nazi.

You must be prepared to give me 10 years of your child's life!

If you have a soulless digital instrument in your home, NO LESSONS FOR YOU!


Well, maybe not those exact words, but that's what I remember....
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 08:46 PM   #2
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

No pressure on the kid, eh?

My spouse got into college on a music scholarship. Our daughter has taken piano lessons from about age 8, supposedly Suzuki method, but could just as easily be the Kawasaki or Isuzu method to me. Daughter will not get a music scholarship. Spouse lasted a year in college then switched majors to engineering. Despite 2 pianos in the house, spouse never plays.

Son is about the age to start something in school: 4th-5th grade. He has had no lessons.

Your kid has plenty of time to learn about music. Come back and ask the question again in 4 or 5 years.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 09:10 PM   #3
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

I guess my guiding philosophy is basically:

1) Kids are sponges from age 0-6, and that's the best time to expose them to "infrastructure" stuff like language.

2) Music is a language.

So, it's not so much that we're the typical overscheduling parents (we are), or that we want her to get a musical scholarship. It's that we want music to be second nature to her, and I'm not sure that can happen later in life. I don't care nearly as much about her level of skill as her depth of understanding, so the traditional rote approach to music (or other) education holds no appeal to me.

Another way to phrase it: what did your parents do right or wrong wrt your musical education?
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 09:27 PM   #4
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Kid turns 3 in a couple months, and we want music to be an integral part of her life.* *So, what's the best age and approach to start?
Now, if your child is to be a prodigy. *You would know that after a few months while watching your child becoming addicted to the instrument and getting better at it by the day.

Chances, however, are that your child will be an average musician, assuming your child wants to play an instrument (as opposed to you wanting your child to play). *In this case, age 6 or 7 may be a good starting point. *

Two things to look for in a teacher are personality and teaching ability. *Your child has to like the teacher and vice versa. *Learning takes place from that point.

Learning to play an instrument takes passion that has to come from within. *Your child will not continue if s/he has no passion for music. *Your job is only to introduce the child to music and be enthusiastic about the child's progress. *The last thing you ever want to do is force your child to practice when the passion isn't there.

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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 09:31 PM   #5
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

More info: our daughter has taken choir at school last 4 years and loves it. *She likes piano as well (6 years), but it's more recreational for her.

Younger son loves to sing and has a better voice than daughter, but he does not want to take choir next year when it is available at school.

We like to sing in the car when travelling. * The kids know just about every Rolling Stones, Beatles, Elton John, 10 cc, Queen, Supertramp, Traffic, etc song better than we do. *We have never critiqued the kids' singing abilities, so they just sing naturally whenever they want -- they are not embarassed like some adults would be by their singing.

Yep, music is a language and a great musical instrument is the human voice.

Of course, you can always buy an Ipod for your daughter. *That will make music an integral part of her life.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 09:43 PM   #6
 
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Agree with retire@40.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 09:58 PM   #7
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Kid turns 3 in a couple months, and we want music to be an integral part of her life.* *So, what's the best age and approach to start?

I am a musical idiot with several false starts, and my wife took enough lessons as a kid to give her a nervous twitch whenever she sees a piano.

The Suzuki Method sounds intriguing, but our local Suzuki teacher reminded me of the Soup Nazi.

You must be prepared to give me 10 years of your child's life!

If you have a soulless digital instrument in your home, NO LESSONS FOR YOU!


Well, maybe not those exact words, but that's what I remember....
No facile advice from me, but I do know a few teachers who are really good with young kids in metro Seattle. One was my youngest son's violin teacher. They got along great, and I got along really well with him too.
We enjoyed it so much that we would usually schedule for his last lesson before lunch, then head down to Ivar's together for some fried clams.

I think Charles is on Mercer Isalnd now, in a group with others including his wife, who teach piano and other instruments. He has a PhD, and he is also an excellent jazz-fusion performer on an elctric violin.

PM me if Mercer Island isn't too far out of your way, and you want to give him a call.

Ha

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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 10:56 PM   #8
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
We have never critiqued the kids' singing abilities, so they just sing naturally whenever they want -- they are not embarassed like some adults would be by their singing.
Great point. I don't recall how it started, but I'm very performance anxious, and I'm pretty sure it was "nurture" not nature that made me so. I feel like everyone tries to judge me, so now I don't sing, play music or dance unless I'm very comfortable with my company. I do things for my own enjoyment, not others, and critiques aren't fun for me.

My parents' divorce when I was age 13 seems to have changed my outlook and behavior in ways I haven't fully realized yet. (review time: I'm 35 now)

So there you go. Don't critique and let it be fun and don't get divorced--especially during key social transition ages. :P
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-30-2006, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

LOL!:
Quote:
We like to sing in the car when travelling. The kids know just about every Rolling Stones, Beatles, Elton John, 10 cc, Queen, Supertramp, Traffic, etc song better than we do.
I now have this image of a family riding down the highway in their station wagon, the kids in the back belting out, "And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of the low spark of high-heeled boys!" at the top of their lungs.

Bpp
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 07:44 AM   #10
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpp
"And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of the low spark of high-heeled boys!"
What an awesome tune.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 10:20 AM   #11
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

I bought my 10 month old a half price plastic recorder from walmart for $0.50 (it was supposed to be $0.22 ). She plays it*. The only thing I know how to play on it is mary had a little lamb and three blind mice.



* by play, I mean she slobbers excessively into the recorder and she occasionally manages to exhale forcefully into the recorder, thereby producing sufficient vibrations on the reed to cause sound to spill forth. We're still working on the finger placement.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 10:24 AM   #12
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Next comes the mixolydian mode... :P

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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 10:52 AM   #13
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

I'll offer that theres probably a period of time, say between when she stops trying to eat or slam down any musical instrument when its handed to her, and when she reaches the age where you and your wife become assholes for about ten years.

You'll know. If you think its too early, it is. If you think its too late, its not quite yet.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 10:55 AM   #14
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
...when she reaches the age where you and your wife become assholes for about ten years.
That's age 8. Cause at 18, she's out the door!
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 11:14 AM   #15
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

In my experience, most parents remain assholes until the early 20's. At a minimum they're idiots. Unless the child needs them to pay for college, in which case they become reasonable and intelligent for a short period of time around the age of 17. They then degenerate back to dumb assholes the first time the child asks for more money for something and the parents say no.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 11:26 AM   #16
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
In my experience, most parents remain assholes until the early 20's. At a minimum they're idiots. Unless the child needs them to pay for college, in which case they become reasonable and intelligent for a short period of time around the age of 17. They then degenerate back to dumb assholes the first time the child asks for more money for something and the parents say no.
Since you only have a one year old and you are speaking of your "experience", I feel sorry for your parents.

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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 11:34 AM   #17
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Yeah, we're all friends now.

Actually it was mostly from observation of my friends and their families, and current observation of my brother and sister in laws kids, who have all crossed the 11 year old boundary in the last six years.

Bunch of nice kids a few years ago. Sullen, unresponsive, secretive and foul now.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 12:33 PM   #18
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I bought my 10 month old a half price plastic recorder from walmart for $0.50 (it was supposed to be $0.22 * ).* She plays it*.* The only thing I know how to play on it is mary had a little lamb and three blind mice.



* by play, I mean she slobbers excessively into the recorder and she occasionally manages to exhale forcefully into the recorder, thereby producing sufficient vibrations on the reed to cause sound to spill forth.* We're still working on the finger* placement.*
Yeah, that's the approach I've taken till now.* *She currently spontaneously "plays" the recorder, harmonica, keyboard, and a bunch of percussion instruments (and loves to pick my guitar).* * The harmonica is a pretty good one because it doesn't require any finger dexterity, and the kid can produce noise that almost sounds like music.* * I just need to teach her a few blues riffs....
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 12:37 PM   #19
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

Gabe likes the leapfrog drum. Can be set to make drum noises or to play a tune and has numbers/letters stuff for when he gets older. Unfortunately it also tries to "encourage" him to play with it further by saying stuff like "hit the drum, its fun!". Its also the one leapfrog product that I think overdoes the built in marketing by chirping out "thanks for learning with leapfrog!" when it times out. Its been abruptly shut off on several occasions to the accompaniment of words inappropriate for a child to hear. But he likes it.
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?
Old 01-31-2006, 12:42 PM   #20
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Re: When should our kid start music lessons?

We waited until one December when our daughter started picking out Christmas carols on the piano. Next month we signed her up for piano lessons (age 7). She stuck with it and now she's playing Chopin and Mozart....
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