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  • Writer's pictureLydia Keeney

Two common misconceptions associated with learning to play an instrument.

The child learns faster than the adult!


People associate learning an instrument with learning a language, right? It’s common knowledge that the brain of a child is intrinsically hard-wired to learn a language in the first few years of the child’s life, making it easier for children to learn languages than adults. WELL my friends, this does not apply to learning the piano. Let me break it down for you. Although there is some memorization that goes on in learning to play an instrument, there’s a lot of other things going on as well! Such as:

Multitasking. The longer you’re alive, the more practice you have at multitasking. Think about driving, college, a day at work. Always juggling a million things at once. Children just haven’t had as many encounters with multitasking.

Math // Reading music. There’s lots of math in music. From the patterns of scales, to reading rhythm, to ratios in accompaniment pieces. Obviously, this comes more naturally to adults. For some children, this is the first time they’ve ever been introduced to some of these concepts so it takes them a little longer to fully grasp it.

Organizing Time. One essential piece to becoming good at playing an instrument is finding the time to practice. Adults are used to organizing time during the day so that they have time to do the things they need to do. Children live in the “here and now.” They live for instant gratification. Because of this, they have a much harder time consistently practicing which is mandatory for getting good at playing the piano. They need the help of the parent to keep them in check.


Those who have been labeled as having a "gifted ear" will go further in their pursuits with music than those who are less musically inclined.


I have a few students who are naturally gifted. Surprisingly enough, it's not natural talent that turns an average student to an exceptional student, but it's their drive and how seriously they take practicing.

Many times students who are naturally musical don't practice as vigorously as those who are considered average in their abilities because those who are naturally gifted feel like their ear will pick up the slack. As a result, they don't go as far.

It is not some grand gift given at birth that cultivates musical geniuses, but it's simply practicing on a day to day basis, putting in the time, studying music theory. Think about Beethoven. His father made him practice for long periods at a time starting when he was very young. People who we think of as "Greats" in music are not the ones who were born with some amazing innate talent, NO, but what they did all share is a drive and a desire that pushed them to spend hours upon hours practicing in a constructive manner. It's a talent they created of their own accord. This is what made them great.


"The difference between ordinary

and extraordinary is just that little extra."


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