What to expect from the very BEST music classes & lessons for any age!

What to expect from the very BEST music classes & lessons for any age!

One of the most common questions we hear is “when should my child start music lessons”? The best music classes will consider your child, your family, your goals, and the amount of time you have to commit. There are a lot of music lessons in Chicago, I hope this post helps you find the right one!

Birth to Age 3 ​​

This is the optimal time to start those neural connections firing, not only in music, but with early childhood development as well. Your child will need many skills to be successful at playing an instrument. A quality early childhood music program, such as Kindermusik, will actively educate parents and help young children to:

  • Keep a steady beat
  • Move their fingers independently of each other (essential for playing ANY instrument!)
  • Expose them to many different instruments and styles of music (they will better know what instrument they would like to pursue)
  • Work on eye tracking (reading music)
  • Gross motor movements (learning to hold an instrument properly takes core and arm strength)
  • Learn to anticipate certain parts of the music, such as starts/stops to teach musical form (our brains are wired to detect these patterns!)
  • Teach parents how to support their child’s learning, and provide music, activities and games to continue the learning at home.

Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old) ​

Preschool music classes should expose children to music from around the world, in different languages, and teach them about instrument families. The best preschool music programs include:

  • Fingerplays to build strong fingers (it’s surprisingly hard to move your ring finger by itself!),
  • Rhythmic speech patterns in poems, stories and songs to teach preschoolers about cadence in music.
  • LOTS of singing! Preschoolers love singing, especially call/response (echo) songs where they have the opportunity to match the pitch and timbre (sound) of a teacher. We musicians have a phrase: “if you can sing it, you can play it!”
  • Movement. At this age, learning is directly linked to movement, so your preschooler should have plenty of opportunities to physically move to the music to understand the concepts being discussed.
  • An introduction to (NOT instruction on) many different instruments, including the piano/keyboard, violin, ukulele, drums and other percussion instruments, wind instruments such as the slide whistle or recorder, with playful games. This will help them decide which instrument they’d like to pursue in the future.

Many parents want to rush their child into lessons, but we’ve found that it is much better to wait until they are physically ready to play an instrument, so that they get the joy of mastering it, and want to continue. We want to give them the tools and skills to master it!

This adorable pianist has been coming to Bucktown Music since he was an infant! This was taken at our latest piano recital, where he did an amazing job performing on the grand piano downtown!

School Age Children (Kindergarten & up) If you aren’t sure what instrument to start your child on, I would start with the piano. It is a visual instrument, so children can see where their fingers go, and it uses both treble and bass clefs (for non-musicians, treble clef is used for high sounds and instruments such as the flute or violin, and bass clef for low sounds and instruments, such as cello.) Children who start on piano learn to read both clefs, so later on if they want to pick up something else, they already have that advantage. ​

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll need to decide between traditional or Suzuki method (will discuss in a future post!)
  • Find the right music teacher: choose a teacher who is able to motivate your child, and explains lessons to you as well so that you can help at home.
  • You will need a quality instrument for home practice. No matter how talented your child is, or how much practicing they do, they’ll need a good instrument to sound fantastic! They are also easier to play. Your teacher or music studio should be able to give you a recommendation on what type of instrument to get and where to get it from, and whether it makes more sense to purchase or rent an instrument. Some instruments, such as violins and guitars, come in smaller sizes for children, so your child will need to be measured before you choose an instrument.
  • Practice schedule: you will need to set aside 10-15 minutes a day for practice, otherwise your child won’t make progress and will be frustrated. Young children will need your help to read the lessons and know what to practice, and how to do it (See Above #2 about a teacher with great communication skills!). Another great practice tip is to have your child play a song XX times, rather than for XX minutes, I like to use how old they are (7 year olds play their songs 7 times per day, and so on).​
The gift of music lasts a lifetime! This is from the surprise retirement party of MY orchestra teacher, along with some of our alumni friends, including my brother Chris (far right), who also teaches here at Bucktown Music! We came together, “snuck” into the orchestra and performed under her direction 25+ years later. It was amazing!

Learning an instrument is a long process, and takes time, patience, and dedication (from the child AND the parent.) That first year is exploratory, and sometimes frustrating to new beginners. It’s SO important to get past the “learning curve” so that your child will be able to be successful at playing and see how enjoyable it can be, so that they want to continue. By giving your very young child the tools and skills needed, you are giving them the best opportunity to bring beautiful music into your home!

Start your musical journey today