This subject is near and dear to my heart and mind. I have 2 children with ADHD and it has been a struggle as a mother to diagnose and understand the dynamics for our family as we have learned about ADHD. I have learned that music has given them an incredible advantage and perhaps for that I have been guided to work with and be a mother to these amazing spirits.
I have always worked as a piano teacher throughout my child bearing years and therefore the music from the acoustic piano has been in their hearts and ears before they were even born. Each baby was taken to Music Together classes until I myself began to teach these classes through their infancies and toddler years. My kid would always be the one running around,
which is the only thing your not allowed to do in those classes, everything else is just fine. I would inevitably have to leave the room and come back in with them if possible. Whenever I taught the classes, my husband would have to attend, but even that was sometimes too difficult and eventually I began both teaching and paying for additional classes where I could be just "mommy" and not the teacher.
Each of them began to learn the piano at age 3, but I confess, after my 4th child was born and I increased my work hours, I abandoned piano lessons--the demands being too much at the time. Now we have Sunday piano lessons and I encourage them to practice throughout the week.
The one thing that has remained constant in our home has been singing and dancing. All of us, including myself started formal dance classes this year, but I have always enjoyed free dancing around the house with them. I used to swing dance for almost 8 years and as soon as the kids are a little older, I plan to teach them as well.
Recently, I realized that I haven't been using music as much as I should to implement routine and structure in the simple, but necessary details of our daily grind--things such as: waking up, brushing their teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast. I have made a playlist now that has changed our whole morning routine and eliminated the need to both an accountability chart and mom barking in the background. I feel like a fool for not implementing a musical playlist for chores earlier. I also discovered a great list of classical songs that are most commonly used in music therapy that help children with ADHD change the electromagnetic frequencies of the brain to 7.5 cycles per second which is referred to as the "Alpha Mode" or the Schumann Resonance. When in the "Alpha Mode" they concentrate and focus so much better. It takes about twenty minutes of listening to for the brain to fully transition, so you have to start before you'll want to be in a focused state. I'll let you know how it goes, but if you're interested check out this link.
I have been teaching music to all ages, zero to adult, for over 22 years and I get asked this question often. What is the right age to start lessons? Well, it depends what you mean by "lesson"? I started formal lessons at age 8, but prior to that I had been nurtured by my two grandmothers whenever I would visit their houses on the weekends. They would give me time on the piano with them and by the time I entered formal lessons I was well into the 2nd level of piano books.
So what is meant by "lessons" then? There are formal traditional lessons where the goal is to learn how to play an instrument through reading music. These lessons usually begin alongside of proficient reading skills in school between ages 5 and 6. There are informal musical experiences such as Music Together, Kindermusik, Music Garden and many other programs that immerse children ages zero to five in a musical environment with no expectations about their performance or understanding. Then there are semi-formal experiences like Music Monkeys and Music Mind Games which teach specific musical concepts like tempo, dynamics, rhythm, tone without the pressure of having to perform a specific piece of music the next week. Finally, there are Suzuki beginning lessons where students as young as three years of age are taught specific skills on their chosen instrument that are repeated in small units of focus until they are mastered. One thing that is clear--there is a large body of research suggesting that if children are not introduced to music-making skills before age 9, they may lose the skills to become musically competent in the future. I hope this helps those who have this question. In the Suzuki Piano Academy, students can begin piano lessons as early as age three. It is common to start Suzuki piano lessons anywhere between ages three and five years of age. Other Suzuki instruments may vary depending on the instrument of choice and the teacher's preference. For instance, some Suzuki guitar studios prefer waiting till the hand has grown more and must delay until age 5 or 7. Since the piano is a percussion instrument and I use a very vertical approach to playing with the arm, it is easy for a very young child to execute a good tone on the piano.