How To Tell When Your Child Is Ready For Music Lessons

By Leila Viss on behalf of

music-lessonsAlthough not every person is destined to be a concert musician, everyone can be a music maker, enthusiast and supporter. Giving your child the gift of learning music on any instrument is something to treasure, but finding the answers on how to provide this gift is not always easy.

You may be unaware of your youngster’s readiness for making music, but there are some signs that should help you make that assessment. Here are some steps toward unlocking your child’s innate musicality and readiness.


How can I tell when my child is ready?

Encourage Exploration

  • Purchase a keyboard instrument (a portable digital keyboard may do the trick but plan to upgrade when lessons begin) and let your child explore sound before enrolling in lessons.
  • Once this exploration begins, notice how your potential musician gravitates and experiments at the keys.
  • Download some music game apps such as Piano Dust Buster 2.0, The Most Addicting Sheep Game or Magic Piano and invite your child to explore. It won’t take long for a youngster to be drawn into these magical games that also teach music fundamentals.
  • If the keyboard and favorite apps receive regular visitation, this is strong evidence that your future maestro is ready to engage in lessons.

Prime the Potential

Some basic skills are involved in learning any instrument and it’s important that these fundamentals are developed before enrolling in lessons.

An ideal candidate for instrumental lessons can:

  • Say and sing the alphabet
  • Count at least to 20
  • Match pitch and sing songs with ease
  • Identify the left from the right hand
  • Cut with scissors
  • Color and draw with markers, pencils, etc.
  • Dance and move freely to music
  • Clap and march with a steady beat

Consider early music education groups, which are perfect for young learners.

How do I know what instrument is right for my child?

The piano is the easiest instrument to begin exploring and eventually making music. Therefore enrolling your child in piano lessons may be a place to begin his/her music education. Once your budding musician is introduced to other instruments in school around 4th or 5th grade a shift in interest may occur.

How do I choose the right teacher?

Referrals from friends and acquaintances are your best bet for a good teacher. If they are happy with a teacher there’s a good chance that you will be as well. Also, ask to arrange an interview with several teachers and you’ll discover that each owns a unique studio. It’s important for you to determine what your priorities are for your child’s music education. Here are some things to consider:

  • Some teachers may excel at preparing students to compete, while others may lean toward a more relaxed approach with fewer opportunities to compete or perform formally.
  • While some may remain set in a traditional approach with standard repertoire others may emphasize lessons in creativity beyond the page and various styles other than classical.
  • Group lessons are a popular social setting which may best suit those who are still on the fence about studying an instrument. Private lessons usually accommodate schedules more easily and offer one-on-one instruction.
  • Music should be shared so ask if the teacher offers encouragement and opportunities to perform, even casually. Although difficult, performing instills discipline, motivation, confidence and good experience for public speaking.
  • Teachers usually use a method book or series to teach an instrument. A good question to ask during your chat with a teacher is “What methods and tools will you use to help my child progress in his/her music skills?”

How do I balance being a supportive parent without becoming overbearing?

Here are a couple of tips to help you maintain a healthy attitude:

1) Some teachers may require you to be present at lessons to take notes so consider this as a free lesson yourself and learn right along with your child. You will realize that building musical skills is a long-term process with peaks, valleys and plateaus.

2) Regardless if you attend lessons or not, it is important for you to remember that this is your child’s endeavor and not yours. Allow your budding musician to:

  • Learn how to learn
  • Read all assignments
  • Take charge and ask the teacher questions themselves when they forget a concept
  • Be responsible for collecting books prior to the lesson, etc.

3) The best support you can offer your child is providing and modeling structure.

  • Make daily practicing a priority so it becomes a habit by setting up a schedule.
  • Instead of setting the timer and demanding practice, ensure that the teacher’s instructions are understood and completed during practice time by reviewing the assignment with your musician. The amount of daily time at the instrument may vary, as consistent practice will make the assignment easier to play by the end of the week.
  • Arrive promptly for each lesson and be on time for pick-up.
  • Show teachers the respect they deserve by following all studio policies and submitting timely payments.

Music lessons are a worthy investment toward a gift that lasts a lifetime. Happy music making!


5 Tips To A Dry Bed

By Renee Mercer, RN, MSN, CPNP & Founder of


kid-in-bedThe development of urinary control is a maturational process. Everyone is born wetting the bed. As children grow and develop, so does their ability to control their bladder. Between the ages of 1 and 2, they have a gradual enlargement of bladder capacity and begin to sense when their bladder is full.  When they are 3 and 4, they learn to void, or inhibit voiding, voluntarily.  By the age of 5, the majority of children have an adult pattern of urinary control and the maturation of the bladder is complete.  However, about 20% of children have not  developed  this pattern and are still having bedwetting episodes. As your bedwetting child grows older, chances increase that intervention will stop the nighttime wetting in a few weeks rather than waiting years for bedwetting to just disappear.


Although only 3% of children who wet the bed have a medical reason for doing so, it’s important to make sure medical problems aren’t contributing to the wet nights. If your child develops a bedwetting problem, talk to her healthcare provider to rule out medical issues.


There are many steps that you can take to stop your child’s bedwetting problem. Here’s a list of some common  methods of eliminating bedwetting, some of which are effective and some that should be avoided:


  1. Restricting fluids: This is only effective for about 15% of bedwetting children, since fluid consumption is usually not the cause of the problem. You also run the risk of dehydrating your child. A better way to maintain adequate hydration  is to move overall fluid intake to earlier in the day. Make sure your child avoids caffeinated beverages, milk, and juice before bedtime and encourage him to empty his bladder before retiring. Also, encourage him to double void before bedtime. This means that he should urinate, wait several seconds (about 15), and then urinate again.


  1. Punishment: Bedwetting is something that your child doesn’t have control over. Punishing her will most likely lead to poor self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a subsequent continuation of the problem.


  1. Waking child or setting alarm clock: This is according to the parent’s schedule and does little to help your child develop the ability to wake up to a full bladder.


  1. Drug therapy: DDAVP is a synthetic version of vasopressin (a natural hormone) and is administered as a small pill. DDAVP decreases the amount of urine produced at night and stops wetting in about half of the children who take it. The dosage varies between 1-3 tablets per night. Oxybutinin (Ditropan) is a medication used to treat overactive bladder. This can be helpful in children who experience urgency or frequency in the daytime as well as nighttime wetting. While medications may provide a temporary solution to bedwetting, most children begin wetting once they stop taking them.


  1. Bedwetting alarms: Over time, these moisture-sensing alarms can improve your child’s sensitivity to the feeling of a full bladder. Because these devices train your child to recognize a full bladder, their effects will last long after treatment. The alarms’ success rate is higher and relapse rate lower than any other type of therapy. Choose from wearable alarms, pad-type alarms, and  wireless alarm kits at One of the advantages of bedwetting alarm treatment is that, after the first couple of weeks of the parent responding to the alarm and waking the child up, the child should then be better able to recognize the sound of the alarm and the feeling of bladder fullness. When you think he’s ready, encourage him to get up on his own to use the bathroom at the sound of the alarm. If you’re not using moisture-sensing alarms, have your child wear protective undergarments to bed. Disposable pull-ups can be disposed of easily and conveniently, and reusable absorbent undergarments are machine washable and dryable.


More About Renee Mercer, RN, MSN, CPNP: Renee Mercer has spent 13 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Maryland specializing in helping children achieve overnight dryness. Mercer knows how stressful bedwetting can be for families and how this problem can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem. She founded The Bedwetting Store  to share her knowledge and to advise parents on effective treatments to help children stop wetting the bed. She is also the author of Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness.  In this easy-to-read book, she answers common questions such as “Did I do something to cause this problem?”, “How long until my child outgrows bedwetting?”, “Will my child ever be able to go to a sleepover without worrying?”, and “What can I do to speed up this process?” This book is a must-read for any parent with a child who is struggling with bedwetting.