Though my "focus" is on playing the piano, in my early childhood I first started learning music as a kind of creative language.
My first teacher, Nadezhda Matsayeva, was - and is - a proponent of a teaching methodology developed by Grigory Shatkovsky. At that time, she took a group of seven or eight 5-6 year-olds (myself included) and proceeded to, rather effectively, introduce all the key music concepts in a way that was entirely natural and organic. By the end of the first year, we all felt comfortable with the basic blocks of Western tonal music: intervalic and chordal relationships, standard harmonic progressions, most of us had both perfect pitch and excellent relative pitch, we could clap and vocalize common rhythmic patterns etc, etc. More importantly, we could all improvise, compose and (though that's not how I could say it at that age) sense music as a language capable of power and expression.
This kind of learning opens up many possibilities for the future, even if the person's career path does not involve music directly. I, therefore, believe in starting musical development in a small group setting. The idea is to develop the students' ear and a thorough understanding of (western tonal) music, before instrumental training begins in earnest.
Alternative spelling: Надежда Мацаева Nadezhda Matsaeva Григорий Шатковский