THE PIANO METHOD TO THE CHILD
how you will eventually teach any piano student, you have to
cater to them initially to get them interested. If you present
children with the sheer cliff of musical notation right away,
expect confusion no matter how much you simplify it, and no
matter how smart the child is.
period of "catering" I call a "starter" piano method.
Like bicycle training wheels, starter methods are useful for a
while, but destined to be discarded.
Still, you must
look far ahead.
"Assuming I do get this child interested in the piano, how
will I teach them after that?"
children will never have facility at reading much more than
a few notes of the treble (right hand) clef. Almost everyone
falls into this category.
children will master the entire language of musical
notation. They are the exception, and very rare.
Find out which
type of child you have, the "never read" or the "read
everything" child, and of course, every variation in between.
It will help you set reasonable expectations, and help you
design curriculum that gets the child playing first, not reading
which type of child you have, remember that any child can be
made into a piano player. It's just that almost all of these
children will never be fluent music readers. Very few amateurs
are fluent music readers.
Both types of
children must be allowed to play before they read. Both types
will end up "piano players;" except that one type, the
"read everything," will go further with reading music.
advantages and disadvantages to each type of child, and a clever
piano teacher knows how to combine the approaches into a single
method that inspires the child.
What is the
everything" child will eventually be self-managing: they will
be able to get all the musical information they need from the
page, and will be increasingly more independent and musically
literate as time goes on.
read" child will have to manage absorbing music in a blend of
various other piano methods, none of them conventional: by ear, by eye, etc. Most can
eventually manage knowledge of and facility with a few notes of
music notation, but you must prepare them correctly. Remember
that most "never reads" can be taught to read most of the
treble clef, which amounts to the vocal range in most printed
popular sheet music.
This means that
the "never read" is a perfect candidate to get their
all of their musical
information from popular sheet music if you teach them chords.
All popular music piano methods are based on this rubric: chords
in left hand, right hand plays the notes of the treble clef.
This method is
called the "singer-songwriter" method and is the basis of
popular methods like Play Piano In A Flash. It is, in fact, the
way that almost all adult hobbyists play.
Very few humans
end up being able to sight-read the two musical languages, left
and right hand, simultaneously, with any degree of facility or
enjoyment. Don't expect it from the average child except in
halting, fitful moments.
In fact, the
best method seems to be a blend of the two approaches,
regardless of how much potential the child has to read music in
both clefs (hands.)