Expanding creative horizons through music and dance

Whether you’ve always wanted to learn to tickle the ivories or dance the tango, mastering a new skill can benefit the mind, body and soul. There are many ways to get the most out of music or dance lessons at any age.

Kristi Manion’s son, Noah, has been taking piano lessons once a week for about six months.

“He’s not really into sports and we wanted to have some activity for him to do so he decided on the piano,” said Manion.

No matter your age, instructors say lessons are a great way to challenge yourself, have fun and meet new people.

“We have a lot of adult students that come in and they are nervous at first because either they’ve never taken a dance class before,” dance instructor Stefanie Squint said, “they’ve never stepped inside a dance studio but it’s something they wish they would have done when they were younger, and I just always say come in and try it, just one time.”

The cost for lessons can add up quickly, so research your options before investing too much.

“The reason that we bought the keyboard over the piano is that we wanted to make sure he was actually going to be interested in doing piano lessons before we made that big investment,” Manion added.

“Whether it’s yourself or your kids looking to take up a new hobby, the best bet is to make sure that you actually like the hobby before you invest too much into it,” said Hicks. “So find out, try some trial classes, rent your equipment instead of buying it so that you can find out whether that’s the right investment so you don’t end up spending a ton of money.”

When picking an instructor, ask to look over their credentials and be clear about what you want to accomplish.

“I recently took up piano lessons,” Hicks added. “We’ve had a piano in my house for years and it’s been really fun. It’s always fun to learn something new. My husband plays and my kids play, and it’s created a little family competition with my kids and I.”

In general, a good time to introduce a child to an instrument like the piano is age 5 or 6. By ages 7 or 8, children’s hands are bigger and they have more respiratory power. This can be a good age to start a wind or brass instrument.