Is 5 years old too young to start learning how to play?

Posted In: Young Harpists

  • Keymaster
    HBrock25 on #165744

    Hello from Singapore. My daughter who just turned 5 this month has been taking harp lessons since January this year. I had proposed the violin but she wanted to play the harp and I am until now not entirely sure where she got this idea. She has been happily going to her lessons. The lessons are not cheap and right now we have not decided whether or not to buy a harp for her because of the price (second hand harps are not available) and because we do not know if she is old enough to decide if she wants to stick with it for the long term. Could I please

    Alison on #165745

    I suggest you talk to Eilidh, see

    leo-phillips on #165746

    I’m teaching a 5 year old, being old enough depends on the child, not the chronological age. (Most 5 year olds are too young, but there are always exceptions). My pupil is using a 22 string round back harp from Early Music Shop in Bradford, England, which I bought to hire to her. This is probably the cheapest decent 22 string harp; I suggest that you look on their website. They ship instruments all over the world, and their carriage rates are quite reasonable. The Camac she is using would be ideal if you could buy a second hand one – better quality than the EMS.
    I recommend keeping the lessons once a week, it is also very important for a child this age that a parent is musical and can supervise practice. For children under 7, I prefer a parent to sit in the lessons with the child, so that they know exactly what has been taught.
    Her teacher MUST have masses of patience, and be gentle, kind and firm at the same time; should have experience in teaching younger children, as 5 year olds do not learn like older children. The teacher must also be very flexible, and capable of picking up the child’s personality and learning style.
    I hope all goes well – good luck!

    patricia-jaeger on #165747

    At home, in between weekly lessons, a parent needs music “games” to help reinforce the music lessons, for a 5-year-old. For instance, there are computer-based sites such as (free, and interactive) that have very basic music reading skills in notation,etc. Also Rhythmaticity which features a metronome beat and a yellow smiley face moving along above the notes on the monitor, and points to be won by tapping the space bar on the keyboard,exactly with the beat. Without a computer a child can learn to walk with certain rhythms (such as Step, Step, Stand for quarter, quarter, half-note, then run-run-run-run for eighth notes).

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #165748

    She is not too young. I recommend Yu-Hsin Huang as an excellent teacher. I would buy the best quality lever harp or small pedal harp you can afford for now, and when she is about ten or so, you can reconsider buying a full-size instrument. Getting an early start is excellent, but you should look for the very best quality teacher. Her determination may be an expression of real vision. Don’t deflect her interest.

    andee-craig on #165749

    I’m currently teaching a 5 year old. I’ve taught a 7 year old before, and I was worried about taking on a 5 year old. There really is a huge difference between 5 and 7 year olds.

    A lot of what Leo says rings true for me. I’m really glad my student’s father plays piano. He also watches every lesson and coaches her at home.

    I think if you had to go down to a lesson every 2 weeks it’d be OK if she still practiced at home in between lessons.

    My student has a 19 string harp at home to practice on and has her lessons on my 26 string Dusty Strings. Anything bigger right now would be too big for her, but I think the 19 string harp is going to be useless very soon.

    I’d say something with 26-30 strings would be perfect and would last her for years til she’s ready for something bigger.

    It’s all a learning experience for me at the moment, but I’ve found there’s plenty that can be done with just 2 fingers before moving onto 3 fingers. 4 fingers might be too much for a 5 year old.

    Tacye on #165750

    I find beginners, of any age really benefit from weekly lessons, even 15 minutes a week would be better than 30 minutes a fortnight if the teacher is willing to give such short lessons.

    Grace Lim on #165751

    Thank you everyone for your helpful inputs! Appreciate them greatly!

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