answer is "only if there is no professional who can really
handle the job."
also wouldn't hurt if you have the bedside manner of a Harvard
doctor, the patience of a saint, and the persuasive comedic
skills of a professional public relations expert and child
the prospective piano teacher is a bad piano teacher, impatient,
dogmatic and addicted to discipline, then your best choice may
be yourself or no piano teacher at all.
wrong piano teacher can do incalculable harm, making the child
feel inadequate and planting the seeds of failure on the very
9 out of 10 cases, after their first piano lesson my students
are still riveted to the piano, happily trying out the songs I
give them. I guarantee the opposite is true when a child is
offered dull, lifeless music by a disciplinarian.
as I leave the first day, the child is still there at the piano,
say, "You have the patience of a saint," but that is not
true. It's just that I get so involved in children's
attempts to play the piano that I don't have time for
impatience. Impatience would spoil the mood and not allow us to
work as if we were fellow scientists searching for a solution to
also seem patient because, through experience, I know what is
possible during one single lesson, and have realistic
expectations for the child, expectations that allow for sudden
success, and just as easily for the tiny step forward that a
single piano lesson usually produces.
parents have not taught their children the piano for a simple
reason: it is very hard to maintain the distance and discipline
that conventional piano methods require.
The truth is that conventional methods require intense
discipline that parents find hard to administer and maintain,
opting for a professional to do it for them.
example, I didn't teach my son, now 18, until he was 16, when
he finally asked me. He learned the basics, more or less, from a
local teacher, and came to me when he realized he could learn
something more exciting from me.
is a distance that is hard for a parent to maintain, but since
we are really introducing the child to the piano rather than
formally instructing them, it is possible to make the initial
lessons a fun exploration that any patient adult can help
would do well to adopt a very soft, non-accomplishment oriented
approach. In fact, if you start playing the piano as well, that
will be a big boost for the whole program, as children love to
do what Mom and Dad are doing. Exploring the piano together is a
very achievable goal when using Piano by Number.
goal as your child's first piano teacher should be the
primary goal is to make it possible for the child to go to
the piano on their own and enjoy playing a few songs by
themselves, as if the piano were a toy.
it possible for the child to play without discipline,
without guilt, and purely for the joy of it. Mistakes are
not any more important than mistakes they make with their
toys. Say, "Oops," laugh, and move on.
the idea that the piano is fun, mistakes are inevitable, and
that it is one of many fun things to do in the home.
up practice schedules.
rules based on what you read in books.
or make your child feel guilty for anything regarding the
is no time limit to the period in which the child explores the
piano on their own before going out and starting formal lessons.
Let the child's interest be your guide. There will be periods
of intense interest, followed by apathy, then a return to
interest. Listen to the child. If they want more complexity,
find a way to give it to them without overloading them.
the child wants to go further than your expertise can take them,
it is time for a regular piano teacher, which must be chosen
with extreme care.
reasons that you may well be your child's best first piano
teacher are these:
stranger in a strange house, however nice, may not be the
right person as a teacher for the very first try.
feel very secure at home.
at home makes the process easy to access, right in the
positive emotional atmosphere around the piano assures
you go slowly and gently, making the piano a toy, you have every
chance of success in preparing your child for regular piano