What Age to Begin Taking Piano Lessons

Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’ve been asking this question. When is the best time for a child to begin taking music lessons? There are many different opinions about this topic, but generally you will find the number between five and seven years old. However, after teaching private piano lessons in Tulsa, Oklahoma for many years, I’d like to share some things that could – perhaps – adjust the starting point for piano lessons.


Is the child already interested in music?

If the child shows interest and excitement when the piano is played (assuming you have a piano in your house), then you may want to consider your options for piano lessons. A great option for toddlers is general music lessons – in which the teacher uses the Dalcroze teaching method.

Does the child have older siblings – or parents – that play music?

There are many factors for success when learning an instrument. One of the largest factors, however, is the amount of practice between lessons. When a child observes their older siblings or other family members playing music, it will instinctively ignite the aspiration to play as well.

Is the child relatively well-behaved?

Listen, I’m a dad too – I know how kids are! I’m not saying they should be able to sit down and read a book on their own for 30 minutes before taking lessons. If you’re able to find a teacher that can mix things up a bit (for the sake of interest), then there shouldn’t be any reason why a child wouldn’t be able to have fun during their lesson.

Piano Lessons - Tulsa, Oklahoma

Do you have a good instructor in mind?

Learning to play an instrument is quite the endeavor. For that reason, be sure to find a teacher that helps the child enjoy the process – not despise it. There will always be ups and downs – especially when the novelty of trying something new wears off.

Looking for a piano teacher in Tulsa? Find out more information here.

Final Thoughts

I would certainly agree that a great age to begin taking lessons is between five and seven years old. In general, children younger than five or six tend to have difficulty sitting at a piano for 30 minutes. For that reason, it is important to know that a music lesson does not need to require the student to sit at the piano for that length of time. There are definitely other options to explore for a toddler.

4 Essential Acoustic Guitar Effects for Every Solo Musician

I know what you’re thinking – acoustic guitar effects? Isn’t that an oxymoron? But the truth is, when done with tastefulness, effects can be used to increase the interest and subtly draw intrigue to your performance. As a wedding guitarist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, here are the effects that I have found to be most useful in my shows.

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Although a distortion pedal is likely to be the last thing found on an acoustic pedalboard, I have found that there are many acoustic guitar effects that would be well worth the investment for any solo musician. Throughout this article, I will point out all the benefits and disadvantages that I have personally found while using specific effects.

1) Looper

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Absolutely essential. This is the first pedal you should purchase, but beware: it’s the last one that you should actually implement in your set. This will do one of two things – make your song stand out and dramatically add dimension to your song… or disaster will strike. There is nothing worse than a bad loopist (Yes, a loopist is in fact a legitimate word. Look it up in the dictionary that I’m making). If your loops have hiccups or don’t line up, you’ve completely lost the credibility of your musicianship. With that said, be sure you put as much time “practicing” the looper as you do hacking away at your guitar part.


One way you can alleviate some of the pressure in live gigs is to invest in a pedal with the capability to save loops. You can then make the perfect loop in your basement, and then turn on the prerecorded loop while playing live. This is the best route when you’re still a little uncomfortable looping.

2) Reverb

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If you’ve been playing guitar longer than 5 minutes, you’re probably very familiar with reverberation. This is the most common effect for pretty much any instrument on the planet. Most acoustic amps come with reverb built in.


There are thousands of reverb pedals. My advice is to pick up a reverb pedal with the ability to input an expression pedal. This will not only narrow your search by 90%, it is invaluable to the solo performer. I absolutely love the fact that I can adjust my reverb on the fly, in the middle of the song. On some songs, I use hardly any reverb, while others I need a thick ambient texture during the bridge of the song. This allows the ability to adjust your effect when you need it most. The simple “on and off” switch just doesn’t cut it for me. Here’s the Reverb pedal that I use.

3) Chorus

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Chorus is also a fairly common effect pedal and has been used as an acoustic effect for years. This is also the staple effect from the 80s and 90s. Some people like the effect thick and wide, while others like it a little less obtrusive.


The Chorus pedal I use is the Luxe Anti-Chorus. Although technically not a “chorus pedal”, it essential does the same thing. If you’re interested in the exact differences of this pedal, click here.

4) Overdrive

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Whaaaaaat? No – not what you think. Sure, this pedal can certainly get some crazy beef into your sound. But that’s not the purpose for acoustic guitar. Tune the knobs so that the overdrive is very very subtle. Just to give it a little boost in tone color. I almost exclusively use this pedal after I’ve set my loop and begin soloing over it. Doing this periodically through your set will be a nice addition.

Honorable Mention – Tuner

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I can’t list this as an effect, so it’s not number 5. But having a tuner on your board (as opposed to a Snark or other type of tuner) allows you to tune seamlessly while music is being looped. You don’t have to have an awkward moment of silence. You don’t have to make up a stupid joke to pass the time. Just set the looper, tune, and then jump right back into the song.

Read Next: Which Songs Seem Hard to Play . . . 


Here is something very important to note. Most people use effects to cover up their sound. Or, to make their music interesting (so they think.) If your music isn’t interesting to begin with, effects are the last thing you should be messing with. You shouldn’t be stumbling on your transitions from one chord to the other and then think you need to get a reverb pedal. Practice your guitar. Learn your guitar. Be good at guitar. Then, once all of that is figured out – acoustic guitar effects can subtly be added to make your set even better.

Which songs seem to be hard to play ….

Which songs seem to be hard to play on guitar but actually are not that difficult?

Funny story. When I was a freshman in college, there was a guy that was just ridiculous at playing guitar. He could play Blackbird by the Beatles flawlessly. I had never even picked up the guitar before, but it would soon be my lifelong ambition to play Blackbird.

I started playing guitar and learned hundreds of songs, but never once attempted Blackbird. “When I’m good enough” was always the thought. “One day.” After 6 years of playing, I decided that I would muster up the courage to find the music for Blackbird. My true skills would soon be tested. I was building the anticipation towards the moment that I would begin learning this treacherous song. I figured I would be spending the next month or two working on it.

I started practicing it and…. 15 minutes later I had it down. Literally the largest anti-climactic moment in my life.

All of that to answer the question: Blackbird by the Beatles

Encouragement | Success

From as far back as my memory allows, music has been a predominant aspect in my life. Although the involvement in my childhood may have been nothing more than singing in the bathtub, I have been pressed for cultivation in the area of teaching instrumental and vocal music. Nothing replaces the joy of performing a selection of music to ones highest ability. Because of this, I am inspired to encourage others to find their talent and desire to perform.

In high school, I performed with a jazz band, which was named among the most achieved high school bands in the nation. With such a great honor came a authentic bond to performing for cheering audiences. As our band toured the United States, making stops in Chicago and New York City, we played for national conventions holding thousands of band directors in the audience. The day I stepped off the stage at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, I realized – to my surprise – that my dream had not come true. Just months before the tour, I thought no privilege could surpass playing at events like this. But I became aware that my highest goal was not to simply perform for an audience, it is to rise up musicians to take my place.

Though many teachers throughout my life have helped me tremendously, our director, Mr. Anders, surpassed them all. I looked up to this man so much, and I strive to be half the teacher and musician he was. I received the wonderful opportunity to study underneath his leadership not only in high school, but also at Missouri Valley College. His knowledge was outstanding and his ability to push me forward while simultaneously encourage me was something I will always strive for – as a teacher myself. I want my own students to understand just how much I care about them as a person, not just as a musician.

Orange County

One of my favorite movies is “Orange County.” When I was in high school, I would put the movie on and watch it until I went to bed at least once a week. I don’t know why I liked it so much, but I just thought it was an incredibly entertaining movie.


If you haven’t seen it (which may be a good thing. It’s PG13, but that doesn’t mean it’s wholesome by any means), this is the basic premise: A high school surfer-dude, Shaun, from California finds a book in the sand. This book is written by a professor at the University of Stanford, who quickly becomes Shaun’s hero. After reading the book hundreds of times from cover to cover, Shaun decides that he no longer wants to be a pro surfer, but a writer. His first step after graduating high school is to study with this professor at Stanford. Although he’s got the grades that would cause your grandmother to smooch all the saliva that she has onto your cheeks, the movie goes on to follow the adverse situations that cause this task to become unattainable.


One thing that I love about this movie is the fact that Shaun decides he will be a writer, despite the opposition of his friends and family. His only advocate is his girlfriend, who he claims is too supportive to be of any real help.

[Spoiler alert – which is fine. Cause I don’t condone the viewing of this movie anyways. Haha] In the end of the movie, Shaun randomly bumps into the professor from Stanford. Unbeknown to Shaun, the professor that changed his life had read the book that Shaun sent to him. Not only that, but the professor was incredibly pleased with his writing ability. Shaun then comes to the realization that he never wanted to go to Stanford in the first place; all he really wanted was to receive the affirmation from this professor.
Sometimes we have all these ambitions and goals, which are GREAT. Without goals, we would get stuck in monotonous living and probably give up on life. However, when our sole focus is on these goals, everything else in life is peripheral. I think Shaun finally realized that. I don’t recommend trying to get your affirmation from some random professor, but perhaps the affirmation of whom we’ve been searching for has been supporting us from the very beginning. When we give our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord, we’re able to surrender everything else and live for the only thing that matters. Our goals change with time, but He will always remain constant.

Do Not Hide

The things that have hurt us in the past end up shaping our thoughts about life. We typically pretend that we have no remembrance of our hurts, but what ends up happening is we just shelf them as far back in our mind as possible. I have found that when I do this, I am unable to allow those pains to heal. They fester and grow as I neglect the abandoned wound.


For whatever fallacious reason, we assume that intangible wounds heal themselves. Our ideas of restoration are as abstract as the lacerations in our soul. But the truth is, healing never seems to come quickly. The One person that can help us through our struggle is the last person we want to talk to.


After years of running from the most stable thing I knew, the very ground where I stood seemed to be crumbling beneath me. I was not interested in renouncing what I thought was “freedom.” All the while, I could faintly hear the words “do not hide from me.”


I chose to ignore those words. I was completely unaware that the Lord wanted to use my life in a positive way. He wanted the best for me, while I only wanted a life of mediocrity for myself. I finally chose to turn towards Him, and in turn, He gave me an overflowing life full of blessings. I can not imagine where my life would be without His favor.
That is what inspired me to write, “Do Not Hide.” It is through the perspective of Christ, as He gave His life for the purpose of spending an eternity with us. He doesn’t want to take away our freedom and joy, he wants to take away our pains and replace them with true life.

Coffee Conversations with Ron

What is your favorite activity outside of music performance?


“Wakesurfing, for sure. I’ve been out on the lake quite a few times in my life, but I wasn’t introduced to wakesurfing until this past summer. I’ve also started to get into longboarding. But, I mean, I’m still just getting into it.”


Is wakesurfing similar to wakeboarding?


“Kind of. Instead of being like 70 feet behind the boat while you’re holding onto a rope, with wakesurfing, you only use the rope to get started. Once you’re up, you throw the rope into the boat and just surf cause the wave pushes you forward. Obviously, it takes a while to figure out how to surf your first time. So you’ll be hanging on that rope for a while before you ever throw the rope in. Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty fascinating. Haha”


So, would you say playing guitar is your favorite indoor activity?


“Yea, probably. I really like playing board games with my wife though. So I’d say it’s a tie between those two.”


How long would you say you practice a song – from conception to perfection – before you perform it live or record it?


“Ha ha ha . . . a long time. But I guess it depends. If I’m just going to record it, I actually don’t even have to have the song completely written. I’ll usually have like three-fourths of the song done and then iron out the rest as I’m recording. The thing about [recording], especially when you’re doing it yourself, is you can easily play the chorus 30 times before you get it to sound how you want it to.  But I guess that’s the luxury of recording.”


Wow. So how long does it take you to record one song?


“Probably no less than 20 hours. I mean, I’ve recorded a song in like 2 hours. But that was for a song that was only acoustic and vocals with no layered tracks.


This song that I’m in the process of recording has a really complicated drum part that I’ve been working on for probably 7 hours alone. Granted, I’m not a drummer. If I was, it would probably go way quicker. Ha ha.”


That’s crazy. When did you start playing guitar?


“In 2010. It’s kind of crazy how it happened, actually. I didn’t have any intention to learn to play, but while I was going to school at VBI, they had me take a placement test for music theory. Theory was no problem for me since I’ve played piano for years and years, so I got a 100% on it. I was told I could either take voice lessons or learn to play guitar. For once in my life, I declined the voice lessons.”


So you’ve been playing piano for years. What made you want to make guitar your primary instrument rather than piano?


“I’m not sure; it’s just really fun to play. Piano’s cool, but there’s just something about playing guitar. It never gets boring. You can even ask my old roommates or my wife – I can sit around playing the same chord progression for hours.  As stupid as that sounds, that’s pretty much how every single one of my songs  is created.”


Before we leave, is there anything crazy or interesting about you that most people wouldn’t know?


“Hmm. I don’t know, I’m sure my wife could think of 100 things though! Ha ha.
I guess, simply by my tattoos and piercings, most people don’t realize that I thoroughly enjoy singing and listening to choral and classical music. I sing for multiple professional choirs here in Tulsa and it always makes me laugh cause I can only imagine what people are thinking when they see me up there singing with them. Ha ha. I never take out my lip ring or gauges for performances and I’m pretty sure all my directors are scared to ask me to.”