Introducing children to the pleasure of making music gives them a gift they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Parents seeking to begin music lessons often have many questions. Is there a right time to begin music lessons? What instrument should a child start with? How do we find a good instructor? Before you tickle those ivories into a twist, read the advice of local experts on how to hit a high note when starting your child off on their path to creating music. When to begin music lessons It\u2019s never too soon and it\u2019s never too late\u00a0 -- a love of music can be developed at any age. Eileen Papesh, manager of Gymboree Play & Music of Carmel, says, \u201cHumans are never too young or too old to appreciate and understand music.\u201d Is there a guideline to help parents decide the best time to begin music\u00a0lessons with their child? Most instructors agree that a readiness truly depends on the particular child and his or her interest in learning an instrument. Elyse Causey, general manager of the School of Rock in Carmel explains, \u201cAnytime your child begins to show interest in music, instruments or singing, take advantage of it!\u201d Most music teachers and facilities typically will not start private lessons until a child is between five and eight years old, but Causey says it\u2019s never too early to start developing a child\u2019s appreciation for music. Introductory classes can teach little ones about music basics, including song structure and rhythm. Laura Perry, with Nurture the Child Kindermusik, offers a few thoughts for parents new to musical instruction. First, she says that a child should ask for lessons. He or she also needs to be excited about working through the rudimentary aspects of these lessons. Learning an instrument takes disciplined practice. Perry suggests that every child should have enough will to sit down with his or her instrument 20 to 30 minutes every day. And the right time for a child to begin music lessons needs to be the right time for mom and dad, too. Perry says, \u201cThe parent of the child must be committed to the child\u2019s lessons and daily practice.\u201d Finding an instructor Enjoyment is a crucial component when it comes to engaging a child in a music lesson. As Causey says, \u201cIf your child doesn\u2019t enjoy going to lessons, there\u2019s no way they\u2019ll want to practice or even go in from week to week.\u201d An instructor\u2019s personality and their professional credentials can make all the difference. Joyce Buchholz, an instructor at Meridian Music, suggests parents choose a school with seasoned teachers that will help match your child with the best instructor, given his or her personality and age. Premier Music Studios co-owner and piano instructor John Dick says, \u201cYou want to look for an instructor who not only likes children, but interacts well with them.\u201d In terms of teaching credentials, most instructors will give references. It is also helpful to ask an instructor the average time it takes for a student to get through a method book, says Daniel Patterson of the Daniel Patterson Music Studio. \u201cA good teacher will average about four to six months per student.\u201d Next, consider asking for a trial or introductory lesson. \u201cIt\u2019s a big financial commitment and the student-teacher relationship is so critical.\u201d Choosing an instrument\u00a0 Many parents wonder if piano is the best instrument for their child to begin music lessons\u00a0with. Perry says, \u201cPiano is not for every child. It is true that children can learn music basics on piano but the piano is a difficult instrument to play.\u201d She suggests the violin, trumpet or flute as introductory instruments, since they are all linear and require a single line to follow. Although she is quick to say that the best instrument for your child is the one that he or she wants to play. Causey maintains a similar perspective. She believes the piano is a great place to begin music lessons, but it\u2019s not always for everyone. \u201cIf it\u2019s something your child is interested in, definitely get them started on it. Some instructors will start piano lessons fairly young, some around five years old, so it can be a good way to get going on lessons early.\u201d Causey adds that the piano can be a wonderful foundation for learning other instruments in the future. In Papesh\u2019s Gymboree Play & Music\u00a0 program, students start with percussion instruments. According to Papesh, \u201cThis allows children to start working on simple musical techniques, like steady beats and easy rhythms.\u201d Still, others feel the piano is a great way to begin musical instruction. \u201cThe piano is always a good option to begin music lessons with,\u201d says Joyce Buchholz from Meridian Music. \u201cUniversity Music Schools recognize the power of the piano as a teaching and reference tool for all musicians.\u201d However you decide to begin music lessons with your child, know that the benefits he or she gains will go well beyond just learning an instrument. Studies consistently show that kids who participate in musical education often enhance their academic and social skills as well as their creativity and discipline \u2013 and that\u2019s music to any parent\u2019s ears.