Dear Dr. Renee,
When is the best time for my child to start playing an instrument? She’s 6.
Sorry, I did not mean to yell that at you…
Transparency here: I think encouraging your child to play a musical instrument is a gift you can give that will have life-long benefits.
Music has been shown to engage all parts of a person’s brain. Playing an instrument can lead to better reading and math skills, better attention, focus, and even self-discipline. Many instruments help children develop their fine motor skills, too. Here is a short video that explains some of the benefits of music education.
You can start your child playing an instrument at any age. There are music classes for infants and young children where they can play drums and maracas, or bang sticks together.
It’s not too late to start playing an instrument.
It is not too late to start if your child is 6, 8, or even 14. I just started learning to play the harp a few weeks ago, so I’d argue it is never too late!
Please keep your expectations of what music could sound like “ability” appropriate, not age-appropriate. Even a 50-year-old starts as a beginner when she learns a new instrument.
Piano is a good place to start. If you don’t have a piano, many music stores rent them, or you could start with an electric keyboard.
Violin or guitar are also good ‘starter’ instruments because you can find them in smaller sizes. You do need to be extremely attentive with these instruments. We started our daughters on violin when they were 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old with the Suzuki method.
Their violins were the cutest things you’ve ever seen – but they were also crazy expensive. My younger daughter loved to play, but when she was done, she would just let go of the violin and leave. I had to be right next to her to catch it, so it was a “play only when Mommy is available” instrument. The keyboard was much easier and could be left in the open to be played whenever the mood struck.
A great website for more information about instruments and music education is:
I wish you many years of improved concerts and joyful music,