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I have read:

But I still don't have an answer.

Are there any dangers associated with starting a child to play the piano at too early of an age? My daughter is 6 years old and some friends have told my wife that learning piano before age 7 can cause problems with the child's heart, somehow relating it to finger movement.

I've searched elsewhere and have yet to find any reference of any health-related dangers. Are there any that I simply have not found yet?

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Science has seen stranger things... But it seems sheer nonsense. – Dariusz May 11 '14 at 9:43
That makes no sense to me at all. – Joe May 12 '14 at 4:36
Sounds like BS. Old wive's tale perhaps? The only "dangers" I can think of are 1) Immaturity causing the learning process to be slower/more difficult and 2) more likely to "burn out" and lose interest sooner (especially if it's forced and the child doesn't want to do it). – Doc May 13 '14 at 15:56
Almost worth migrating to Skeptics, if you have a link to a notable claim for this... – Rory Alsop May 13 '14 at 19:01
I started Piano at age 6. At age 40 I ran a marathon in 3:06. Heart seems ok still :). It would only be bad for the heart to never get out and be physically active. I assume your child is not spending hours at the piano, 15min/day sounds right from what I remember. – Michael May 15 '14 at 4:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have researched and researched and researched looking for any associations between starting piano too young and heart complications. I have found nothing. While that's not dismissing the claim since I have no evidence either way, it does sounds rather unreasonable.

I was able to find personal stories of playing piano and problems with pain. One man I read about, Chuan C. Chang, revealed a story about chest/heart pains after playing intensely. He ended up discovering that it was 1, due to bad warm-ups, and 2, because he wasn't relaxing while he played. This was causing him to stress his diaphragm while he played, thus causing heart attack and heart palpitation symptoms.

Another lady indicated that playing the piano caused her pain because of her [fibromyalgia].

I found several other sites that were more satire than anything but nothing related to heart issues and children playing the piano. The only danger I can think of is that if they are not mature enough yet to take on a musical instrument, they may develop a disdain for it and complete disregard lessons as being useful.

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At our local music school courses start the year the kids are 6. The usual pack is 2.5h per week divided among:

  • Solfège
  • Choir singing
  • Learning the first instrument (piano, guitar, you name it)

My kids started last september with piano when they were 5. The first three months they constantly shouted stated in a civil manner their opposition to music lessons. The next four months they wanted to switch to trumpet, guitar or whatever rather than piano. Now they enjoy it a lot.

So the only things in danger are your patience, family budget and eardrums. Your kids will be fine.

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The keys of the regular acoustic piano are quite "heavy" that initially limits the duration of the lesson. I do not think that getting tired is dangerous but do not push on playing further if the child says she is tired after 20 or about minutes of playing.

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It probably depends on how long and how often they play. But as beginners I don't think they will overstretch their hands or do anything which could be harmful. Some piano teacher told me that we usually recommend children to be at least 6 year old.

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