Most parents are uncertain about the best age to start piano lessons for their children. Well, having been an enthusiastic learner and pianist myself, I have learned that instead of considering age as a determining factor of when to encourage children to learn how to play the piano, parents should assess their children, regardless of their age, to know when they are ready.
In a piano lesson, there is the conventional and practical course. Conventional piano lessons use piano sheets while the practical piano lesson is the actual playing of the instrument based on the piano music sheets. Of course, learning the piano sheets is more conventional and advanced than the actual playing of the piano. Children, whose ages are less than 6 years old, are normally not recommended to go through learning the piano sheet lessons.
Parents should assess their children whether they already have acquired the skills to identify numbers. Why numbers? Because the basic piano lesson for children begins with learning piano through numbers. Usually, number identification is taught in preschool. Teachers use toy pianos as teaching aids to teach numbers, to introduce music and instruments, and to assist children in developing their abstract and creativity skills. This activity is the perfect example of fun learning for children.
When children seem to have mastered the keyboard and can identify rhythms, only then can they be introduced to piano chords (played with the left hand) and melody (played with the right hand). They normally learn these in kindergarten. Then, the next stage is introduction to piano sheets, which is taught in elementary school.
Perhaps by this time, children are familiar with musical notes, symbols, lines, and spaces. It is during this stage that children need utmost focus and encouragement because they will combine the knowledge they acquired from the basic practical piano lesson and beginner’s piano sheet lessons. They are expected to play the piano based on the notes or chords presented on the piano sheets. They also get to share their talent during piano recitals, which serve as the graduation rites for each level of piano lesson.
In my own experience, I believe that the rule of thumb in what age to start teaching children piano lessons is to not be in a hurry. This applies to the children, teachers, and parents. When children are ready, they will show it. When children find interest, they will pursue it. Age is not a determining factor because each child is unique and has different level of capabilities, but parents must introduce their children to instruments and music at an early age for them to develop those interests. So that is the fine balance. Introducing music and the piano to your child without being too pushy about it but still being supportive if they show interest.