Students ages 7-11 are at the best age to begin learning a string instrument and students ages 9-11 are at the best age to begin learning a woodwind or brass instrument. Each type of instrument has its own issues, so please read the appropriate section carefully. If you wish further information regarding the individual instruments within each family, click on the blue underlined family name.
(Why piano first?)
STRINGS: Violins, violas, cellos and basses come in different sizes to allow for very young students to begin study. These instruments pose unique difficulties that many students ages 7, 8 and 9 simply will not grasp easily. At KMI we accept string students ages 7 and up. Any student under age 7 interested in a string instrument MUST study 1-2 years of piano prior to the study of the string instrument. Any students under age 9 are strongly enouraged to study at least one year of piano prior to or concurrently with the study of the stirng instrument. Learning the basic musical concepts of rhythm, dynamics and reading music on piano, allows the student to explore the challenges of the string instrument more directly. Learning the theoretical aspects along with the technical aspects of the instrument can be confusing and difficult, and the problem solving tasks become quite challenging for the teacher. We have had great success with string students as young as 5 who have had prior study of piano to get them started.
WOOD WINDS: The hand size of a child under age 9 is often too small to hold and play many wood wind instruments, and the general finger strength and dexterity are not developed sufficiently to hold the keys down. In addition, just to produce sound often requires weeks of practice. Students considering wood wind instruments would generally get more fulfillment from starting with piano (at least concurrently if not prior to beginning a wind instrument).
BRASS: We offer private lessons on trumpet, French horn, euphonium and trombone for children ages 9 and older. Students under age 9 should start with piano or recorder before beginning a brass instrument.
VOICE: Any student under age 10 MUST study piano for at least 2 years before considering study of the voice, and students ages 10 to 18 MUST study piano concurrently with voice and are strongly encouraged to enroll for a minimum of 45 min. lesson length. Piano lessons include many opportunities for singing, and if the teacher is aware of the student's interest in voice - the teacher can be sure to take advantage of them. Voice students of all ages SHOULD study piano concurrently with voice as a primary means of learning music theory and understanding music. Young students (grades 3, 4 and 5) who really love to sing should strongly consider the Children's Festival Chorus in addition to piano lessons.