5 Tips for Children’s
Many parents ask themselves: when is the “right” time to start
my child with piano lessons?
Because every child is different, there is really no exact age;
however, it is never too early to have your children regularly interact with
different types of music.
Until recently, my policy was that students had to be at least
6 years old to take piano lessons – mostly due to the fact that many children
under the age of 6 do not have the patience or maturity to focus for an entire
lesson, typically lasting a solid 30-45 minutes.
However, after working with some of my current students, I have
come to the conclusion that kids can start music lessons at a significantly
younger age. It’s all about tailoring the lessons to the specific child and
here are five tips that have helped me create an overall plan that can be
adapted to address the individual needs of each child and his or her unique
Pick a Song They Know
One technique in having younger children develop an interest in
the piano, or any other instrument, is to have them learn some basic songs they
already know such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Old Macdonald” in their piano
lessons. I have found this to
be very successful with younger children.
Their confidence gradually increases as they realize that they can play
songs that they have heard before.
*Tip: Make sure
they actually like the song they are
learning: just because they are familiar with it doesn’t mean they are going to
enjoy spending a substantial amount of time learning how to play it!
Build a Solid Foundation
From here, start children in a reputable piano method such as
the Suzuki, Bastien, or the Piano Adventures method books. It is very important that beginners start
developing a strong piano foundation at the beginning which includes piano
theory, and piano performance.
Most piano method books provide children with a fun,
entertaining way of learning piano music and are an essential part of piano
lessons. After all, you can’t play the game until you learn the
rules and playing an instrument is no different.
Encourage Teachers to
Teach by Doing
Another way to build your child’s confidence is to ask the
piano teacher to occasionally play piano duets.
This allows your budding pianist to hear a fuller version of the songs
she’s been playing and it is always a lot of fun for the student. Plus, it gives her a glimpse at what she
could become if she sticks with her lessons and applies herself.
Practice is Essential
Although practice may not necessarily make perfect at the
beginning, it is important that children spend at least 20-30 minutes every day
or every other day going other their piano and theory assignments. Fingers have
muscle memory and getting back on the piano as soon as possible following the
lesson helps to reinforce what they just learned.
Additionally, children can move much more quickly if they have
practiced and learned their assignments well enough to move on.
*Tip: Make sure
your teacher does not advance your child before he has learned the previous
lessons. Moving forward at a rapid pace may be more fun but taking on more complicated
concepts before he has mastered the step below does not do him any good and in
fact, can ingrain bad habits that only become more difficult to change as time
Finally, if you are interested in piano
lessons for your children but do not own a piano, your local music
store may have practice keyboards available for rent at a low monthly
rate. Many parents do not want to make
the expensive investment in a piano until they see that their children want to
continue learning and playing the piano.
Now that you have more info, do you think
your child is ready to begin piano lessons?