Music theory sounds and looks complicated enough to adults that there’s no doubt that it would be equally complicated for children. Yes, it can be; however, we forget that children have the advantage of an open mind that can hold lots of space to learn new things. Also, the methodology for teaching music theory is usually tailored to suit the age of the child, which makes it easier for a child’s mind to digest complex musical concepts.
Benefits of Starting Early
Experts in the field have noticed the benefits of teaching children music theory from a young age. According to them, a good foundation in music theory at an early age can give children the freedom to explore music creatively and support their interest in music. It can also speed up their progress as it equips them with the concepts and information that can create enough curiosity to learn music on their own.1
A well-paced lesson plan will help children learn these skills easily and introduce them to music theory in a way that can feel like a natural progression. There are also several fun ideas and methods posted online to teach music theory to children that are based on specific age groups that are worth checking out if you want to support or nurture their interest in music at home.1
The Right Time for Children to Learn Music Theory
According to an article by PBS Kids, studies have shown that exposing children to music in an informal way in their first year can develop their musical sensibility. Early exposure to a musical environment can help children develop a meaningful relationship with music because their mental structures and mechanisms during this time are in the ideal stage for processing and understanding music.2
When it comes to music theory, children can be introduced to basic concepts through fun and simple activities when they are close to 3 years old. These activities would have prepared children to learn music in a more systematic manner by the age of 5, and they would have equipped them with a good foundation in music to understand some advanced concepts by the age of 9.2
One of the most important reasons quoted in the article on why children should get familiar with music-related activities at an early age is that when skills are acquired at a young age, they are acquired in a way that makes them second nature to the child and are retained with an effortless natural quality that is hard to acquire later on in life.2
So, children can be exposed to musical concepts and theory at any age. All you have to do is look into some age-appropriate ideas on how to get started on it, and you are good to go!
1. Paterson, J. (2016, January 13). 3 Reasons Why Music Theory Is Important for Your Children. Lifehack. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.lifehack.org/357032/3-reasons-why-music-theory-important-for-your-children
2. Cutietta, R. A. (2020, November 11). What’s the Right Age to Begin Music Lessons? | Parenting Tips & Advice. PBS KIDS for Parents. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/whats-the-right-age-to-begin-music-lessons