The Marin Music Chest has launched its annual scholarship audition program in its ongoing effort to provide financial support to Marin County students studying classical music. Students studying wind and string instruments, piano, and voice are encouraged to apply, and all scholarship applicants must be residents of Marin County for a minimum of two years and have at least two years of music study prior to the audition.
Junior Division instrumentalists must be between 10 and 13 years old and vocalists between 14 and 16. The Junior Division application deadline is February 10, 2012, and auditions will be held March 10, 2012. Senior Division instrumentalists must be between 14 and 19 years of age and vocalists between 17 and 24. The Senior Division application deadline is February 24, 2012 and auditions will be held on March 24, 2012.
What is the ideal age for a child to start learning an instrument? The answer is: it depends.
No matter what the instrument your child needs to be mature enough to be able to focus on formal learning—the age of reason, so to speak—even if it’s just for a relatively short period of time. For piano and string instruments, the general consensus seems to be that you can start formal lessons around age five, or even earlier, in a Suzuki program, although some teachers would still wait until age eight or the third grade. For other instruments, waiting a bit longer will actually give your child a better chance of success. The A music school, for example, doesn’t start students on guitar, bass guitar, or drums until they’re age eight, and many teachers recommend waiting until ages nine, ten, or eleven to start lessons on other instruments. According to Dianna Gomez, who is band director at Presidio Middle School and has taught at lower levels, fourth graders have an eighty percent chance of failure. She finds that fifth graders, on the other hand, have about an eighty percent chance of success.