I have two sons, aged 7 and 4 years old. My older son began violin lessons when he was 6 years old. When I asked his current teacher if I could begin my 4-year-old, she said that he was too young to begin violin lessons. What is the right age to start, and what age is too young?
This is a good question, and there are many factors to consider. First, not every 4-year-old is ready to begin learning the violin. Second, not every teacher is able to teach a 4-year-old child to play the violin. In both cases, there is nothing wrong at all. Over the years, I have taught many 4-year-olds (in addition to beginners of all ages) to play the violin, and I have also told many parents that their 4 -year-old needed some more time to mature before beginning violin lessons with me.
The right age to start is when the individual child is ready to accept direction from the teacher and is ready to take on a new activity. This does not happen at the exact same time/age for every child. The factors to consider are so numerous (school dynamics, home dynamics, readinrss for more challenge, new sibling, etc.), I could not even be able to list them all.
Oftentimes, teachers will have a specific age groups that they feel able to teach; and this can vary from a small age groups (4th-5th graders only for example) to a larger age group (such as Elementary School-High School). There are some teachers who do not like to teach children at all and prefer to teach at the college level and beyond exclusively. These preferences can have a lot to do with the individual teacher’s training, teaching experience, temperament, or any combination of the three. Advice: check in with your current teacher to find out if he/she would like you to wait a year or so for your son to start, or if your teacher does not teach that age group at all. This will give you a good heads-up as to how you would like to proceed!