asking, "Why delay learning algebra?"
learning algebra until the child has other mathematical skills already in
place, upon which algebra is based. Addition, subtraction, multiplication
and division precede algebraic concepts.
the simplest of musical notation requires several mental skills that your
child, depending on their age, may or may not have in place.
You must have a firm grasp
on the abstract idea (and execution) of left and right, including left
and right hands.
You must be able to order
symbols and events, sometimes horizontally (sequentially) and
sometimes vertically (simultaneously.)
You must understand more
than a dozen types of symbols, many only slightly different from one
another. This must be memorized.
You must look at a page of
symbols and make countless decisions about them. Are they different,
are they the same? Are they going up, are they going down?
Add to this the necessity
of using a particular finger on a certain note. Fingers are also named
and numbered, and you have to remember that.
Add to this the need to
name the notes you play. There is a musical alphabet (A through G,)
that inexplicably fits only a portion of what the child understands,
and starts on the letter C, to add to the confusion!
list is only the right hand, and is hardly an exhaustive list.
Essentially, I don't want to scare you, as a new teacher, before you
you can see the folly of starting piano lessons ASSUMING that the child
will be able to negotiate all the above skills on the list, right away,
without losing heart and hope that they can ever do it, much less have fun
list is so long, the conventional teacher begins right away drilling,
drilling the material into their young charge's brains.
this, a very few, and of those few, almost none enjoy it.
playing baseball with a pretend ball. You can go through all the motions
and it will never be as exciting as the real game.
What is the
real game? Making music, however crudely, however childishly.
teachers make is to fail to distinguish between making music and reading
music. They are not the same, not by a long shot.
music is not necessarily to make it, for making music is a joyous,
wordless, rather inexplicably spiritual pursuit.
music is the province of the librarian, whereas being a pianist is more
like being an actor who interprets a script.
How can you
get your child to start playing music at the piano?
choose simple songs that they know. Unless the song is recognizable to the
child, it is useless as a teaching tool to generate enthusiasm.
them play as many familiar songs as possible, using whatever instinctive
fingering they choose. Don't bother them with fingering before they have
decided that piano is fun and they want to do it.
rhythm as an entirely separate issue. Here is a link to FOURS,
a piano rhythm game that will inspire you to try other similar games in an
effort to get your child to enjoy the piano without reading music.
You can try
exploring rhythm in a song they know, such as Jingle Bells. Have them sing
the song with the correct spaces, and then have them try it at the piano.
Don't labor over this issue. There is so much to learn before you get to
A pianist is
required to handle up to eight times the information that a flutist or
cellist must. In that sense, a pianist must learn to be an information
manager more than any other instrumentalist.
child is fired up about the piano, and can play many songs by ear and
number, they are a more likely candidate for success, and may be more
likely to continue, taking a more serious interest in the piano and music