Helpful Hints for Parents 
When considering a formal music education for their children, parents often have many questions like: How old does my child have to be to start an instrument? Which instrument is most appropriate for my child? How much time should we set aside for practice? At Greenwich House, our staff and faculty are experts in answering these questions. We have classes specifically geared toward young players that will help form a strong foundation for their musical journey. Whether in a group or individual setting, students are engaged in age-appropriate instruction that is both interesting and valuable.

View our children's classes to see what’s available for group instruction, with opportunities for children as young as 6 months of age and beyond.

Private instruction is available for children as well. Administrators at the school will work with you to discuss and evaluate your child's interests and abilities to determine the best instructor to suit your needs. Most private instruction can begin for children ages 5 and above. Suzuki Violin is available for ages 3 and above.

Guidance in Selecting a Music Program for Your Child
Music lessons involve complex cognitive processes. In the case of instrumental music, a high degree of hand-eye coordination is necessary as well as an ability to participate in a public performance of some kind, usually either at our Junior Recitals among other students and parents. To get a piece to a performance level requires persistence, patience and commitment.  Our teachers work with each student to encourage these traits; but, If your child is easily frustrated or has little patience for repetitious tasks, explore our music and movement experiences, like Music Together,  Music, Art and Play, or any of our other early childhood classes.

Honing a Sound Music Environment
Providing a rich musical environment at home with your child prepares them for beginning music lessons. Play is a primary way for young children to learn, so singing, repeating rhymes, and moving to music are all fun and beneficial. Parents are a child’s first teacher so if you actively participate in music yourself, you will be influencing and encouraging your child, as well as laying the groundwork for future success.

Music Together classes help children learn tonal and rhythmic competence relatively early—sometimes by age three or four. While your child develops further physically, encourage them to explore rhythm instruments or strengthen singing and movement skills, which will be useful for future study, before selecting an instrument of focus.

Some General Suggestions
Not sure what age to begin your child’s studies in music, art or dance? While it’s not an exact science, here are some general age recommendations below to help you decide at what age your child might be ready to begin classes in music, art or dance at Greenwich House. If you would like a more in-depth discussion about your child's readiness, please contact the school

Six Months Old
Our youngest students can take part in 
Music Together, a program focused on immersing the child in a comfortable experiential environment where parents are included in the class as they sing songs from a variety of traditions, explore movement and rhythmic play and listen to stories. This class is a wonderful introduction to the world of music.

Two Years Old
Medley of the Arts alternates music and visual arts classes, while also including a caregiver. Developing our students motor skills as well as encouraging socialization between our youngest creative artists is the main focus of this class.

Three and Four Years Old
Music 1,  and Art 1, separate the elements of Medley of the Arts, placing greater emphasis on increased attention span and growing social Independence. At this point in our program, all classes become drop-off ones, where the parent or caregiver does not participate. We will work with you and your child to facilitate an easy transition to drop-off. If you are interested in a drop off class in the mornings, you might try our Music, Art & Play program.

Three and a Half Years Old
Our youngest dancers can begin studying their craft in our 
Pre-Ballet classes. We make sure to use age-appropriate exercises, and start to add ballet terminology to their ever-growing vocabularies. Ballet 1 is available for 4 and 5 year olds.

Five and Six Years Old

Instrumental lessons begin for three instruments at this age: Violin, Cello and Piano. Composers wrote some of their most important artistic statement for these instruments, so starting early is always recommended. Increased finger dexterity, attention span and potential for music literacy makes these instruments an excellent choice for this age group. If your child isn’t quite ready to being an instrument, Music 2 is the perfect seque from early childhood music classes to private instruction, by offering basic music reading skills by playing the recorder.

Six Years Old
Harp, Guitar and Voice lessons begin at this age. A child’s hands are finally large enough to reach across the fretboard, and basic vocal training can begin without straining a still developing voice. The vocal technique is not stylistically defined at this age, but the beginnings of good vocal technique, such as breath control and diction are introduced to young singers. While the school does offer a concert harp program, beginners start on a smaller Celtic, diatonic harp. Greenwich House Music School is one of the few programs in the city that offers harp instruction to children. 

Seven Years Old

Flute and Drums lessons start at this age. Breath control and the ability to reach all of the keys allow young wind players to graduate from the recorder to the flute, and at age seven, young drummers start to form potential for the independent coordination of their arms and legs required.

Eight Years Old
Brass instruments (Trumpet, French Horn and Trombone) are an excellent choice for students at this age. Breath support and embouchure control come together to allow students to play the classics or jazz.

Greenwich House Music
46 Barrow Street
New York, NY

(Note: GHMS is not ADA accessible)


Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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"Greenwich House is 'Old West Village' in a way that almost nothing else is anymore"

-Anne Hager-Borges

About Greenwich House

Greenwich House is a registered 501 c(3) organization and a member of the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. If you are interested in learning more about the network of settlement houses and the work they do, click here

Greenwich House is proud to be a Better Business Bureau accredited charity.

Greenwich House is proud to be a Gold-level GuideStar Exchange participant, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

Greenwich House is a proud member of FPWA. 

Greenwich House is a proud member of Behavioral Health Agencies.  

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Greenwich House Music
46 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014