Every child needs to learn new skills. Playing the piano can be quite engaging and kids usually find it enjoyable. Besides, who doesn’t want their child to aspire to be the next Mozart? Playing the piano (or any musical instrument) is a valuable skill that parents should pass on to their children.
Teaching a child to play the piano takes a lot of commitment and some basic know-how, at the least.
One common question parents often ask is,
How early should my child begin music lessons?.
Reports from the University of California indicate that a child can start taking music lessons as early as age 3. Some piano teachers however insist that children wait until they have bigger fingers, can sit down, concentrate and understand the alphabets.
I’d say as soon as they start showing interest in music. Even if your child does not know how to read alphabets yet, children are never too young to appreciate music. Even babies are enthralled by piano keys and the musical sounds they produce.
If you are not familiar with musical notes and instruments, here are some ideas you can explore for a start:
Kindermusik - Kindermusik classes are held in over 70 countries around the world. They offer music and movement classes for babies, toddlers and big kids. These classes help in developing the love of music in children.
Trebellina - This music-teaching DVD has garnered great reviews from majority of parents. It provides a stopgap between taking your kids to musical lessons and enrolling them in formal classes.
According to Dr. Robert A. Cutietta, The idea behind teaching young kids to play the piano from the start should not be to ensure they can master the instruments but so that they can identify the beats, instruments and develop an affinity for music. Depending on your child’s enthusiasm and the level of exposure you can provide, there will always be exceptions to how well or quickly the child advances. There are no clear-cut rules and even if there were, there would always be exceptions.
For parents with basic know-how, teaching your child how to play the piano from home at the start can save you some money. If you are a parent and are willing to take this activity seriously, follow these steps:
- Get comprehensive and engaging beginners’ resources to complement your efforts. There are lots of books with easy-to-follow teaching instructions that can help you teach your child how to play the piano.
- Get a piano that the child can play and practise with in between lessons. It should be placed in a location that is easily accessible so that the child can start to see it as a part of everyday life.
- Set a regular weekly schedule and put it on your task list. Your piano lesson sessions with your child should not coincide with other tasks or appointments. For piano lessons to be effective, you should dedicate some quality time to teaching your child how to play the piano. You could spend approximately 40 minutes per lesson (or less if the child is younger) and add more time whenever necessary. Try not to extend the time unnecessarily so that the child does not burn out or start to see it as a chore.
- Avoid distractions during piano lessons. When you are teaching your child how to play the piano, there should be no distractions. For example, other people roaming around can easily distract the child from listening. Therefore, hold the lesson in a private place and switch off your phones for a productive session.
- Ensure your child has a notebook for taking practice notes. The notebook is meant to help your child remember what they have learnt. If your child is old enough to take notes, you should provide guidance on what is useful to note down for future reference.
- Set a goal for your child and reward achievements. Setting targets is essential for anyone who wants to achieve a goal. The same should apply when teaching your child how to play the piano. Apart from setting goals, you could also reward your child for any notable progress made. This will motivate your child and make them more eager to learn.
So, whether you take the lessons yourself or you hire someone to do it, make sure you place an emphasis on using the right technique - bad piano playing habits are more difficult to correct further down the line when the child gets older.
Picture Attribution: "Baby Hand On Piano" by sixninepixels/FreeDigitalPhotos.net