Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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Homeschooling using piano by number

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HOMESCHOOLING -  USING PIANO BY NUMBER

Picture of a piano star.

START YOUR HOMESCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM USING PIANO BY NUMBER

by John Aschenbrenner

(See also PRESCHOOL PIANO PACKAGE)

Many homeschooling parents are finding that our "piano by number" books make an excellent basis for a home school music program. 

Starting with PIANO IS EASYTHE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT or THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER, all our books are designed as stand-alone teaching tools that will allow you and your kids to get started playing piano and studying music.

In many cases, homeschooling parents become piano teachers in order to get the child started. 

It's actually not hard to teach a small child the rudiments of piano. Half the battle is showing kids what can be done with a piano. Once a child has an ideal of what the piano can be, they will pursue this goal even if their talents and abilities are rather humble. Giving them that ideal can be as easy as playing a CD of a great pianist and listening to it with them.

TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP (ISBN # 0-9718936-3-2) is a good place to start for parents that wish to prepare themselves to teach their kids. This book will teach you to play simple songs with both hands in a few days or hours. The curriculum is broken down into such tiny steps that anyone catches on. 

Still, TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP is not a book for children to explore alone. The concepts involved in chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) are readily understandable to almost all adults, but kids need help to get the idea of chords. 

We suggest that you use this book to prepare yourself, and then perhaps return to it when the kids have mastered playing many songs by themselves, and are ready for chords with the left hand.

Click here to read the entire tutorial HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ MUSIC

Where should kids start?

Here's what I say to every parent: "Start by using PIANO IS EASY (or THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT, identical in format but using different songs.) Launch the book together, putting the stickers on with the kids, and then let them loose after everyone has tried a few songs. (Or, you can start with THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER, which has more songs but no pictures.)

Let them do it on their own, and, if they show no interest, you should keep playing yourself, until they come back. And believe me, if you set up a piano with numbered stickers and let kids alone with it, eventually they will embrace it and try to play. It ALWAYS happens."

Do I tell them to practice?    

Not if you've set it up correctly. If you have to force them to play, you're already lost. The trick is to get them to want to do it themselves. And the reason they will want to play piano is this: piano by number is so easy that there is no negative emotion associated with it. 

So let the kids find it themselves. My hard and fast rule is: let the book sit there for two weeks and see if the children go to the piano by themselves. If you don't push and insist, 99% of kids will take a try and end up liking it. But give it a couple of weeks. 

In actual practice, about 80% of kids have no hesitation about trying piano by number and are hooked on the first lesson: but that's because we've lowered the bar, temporarily, to let them try it without failure, give them confidence and get them started.

What do I do next?

It depends on the child, but generally, I wait until the child is utterly comfortable with every song in PIANO IS EASY before I attempt to move forward. When they are ready, a little bored perhaps with numbers, I introduce THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER

This book introduces the use of the black keys of the piano, and is easy to master once the child is facile with songs on the white keys (PIANO IS EASY has all its songs on the white keys.)

I'd let the kids try the BIG BOOK for quite a while before I tried to introduce anything else. The following curriculum, chords, will depend heavily on what is learned in the BIG BOOK, so I'd caution you to let them try the songs with black piano keys before attempting teaching chords.   

Finally, when I was certain that the kids understood playing one note at a time, I would introduce chords for the left hand, using TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP. The video makes it easy to understand, but still, kids will need guidance and perhaps a little pushing. Almost all kids like chords, but some don't, and resist the leap to playing with both hands.

My solution to this ancient problem of getting kids to play with two hands is this: keep trying again and again, so patiently that the child simply gives in because you've repeated the simple elements. I back off as soon as the child shows resistance, because often a child's desire to learn new ideas in music is directly related to their own maturity. In many ways, kids learn when they're good and ready! 

You may have to wait it out, but I have countless stories of kids on whom I used this strategy, and who eventually played happily with two hands (many of them "quitters" who would have never continued with the old methods.) 

Had I not used this patient approach, and had I defined these students as failures, I would have lost them forever, for they would feel indeed like failures. 

The point is not how fast kids learn piano, but that they want to learn piano. Who cares how fast they go?

Once a child wants to learn something, you will not be able to stop them.

Why is this method different?

Our books are designed to provide kids with preparation for kids piano lessons, a fun process kids can do at home, before they start regular piano lessons.

All other piano methods start kids far too quickly, causing early frustration and eventually leading most kids to quit.

We've found this failure can be prevented by starting your child playing piano "by number" at home, and then making a slow, smooth transition to reading sheet music using our newest book, I CAN READ MUSIC!.

This "Fun Method" has proven results, turning kids into happy, interested experimenters who enjoy tinkering with the piano.

 

Our method was created by a leading children's music educator, Emmy Award winning composer and Broadway veteran John Aschenbrenner, whose distinguished academic background includes the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and Trinity College of Music, London. 

PIANO IS EASY and I CAN READ MUSIC have demonstrated far higher than average results in motivating children to continue and enjoy their piano studies.

Here's a comment from music legend Herbie Hancock: "John is an extraordinary pianist-composer. His music has touched all my friends who have had the fortune to hear him."

If you have questions, you'll get a prompt and courteous response by phone or email. With real people handling your order, you'll find out why everyone is happy with our fun "piano by number" books!.

  • Here's a comment from a recent customer: "Just wanted to let you know that we received our book! What a blast! My 9-year old briefly had piano lessons in the past, but she couldn't motivate herself to practice much. Since I gave her this book, I can hardly get her away from the piano! What a great product! Thanks!"

 

What about sheet music?   

I begin sowing the seeds of sheet music as soon as possible. As soon as the child is launched playing numbers, I begin, in later lessons, never the first, to show some of the ideas in I CAN READ MUSIC. But only for a minute or two at most, every lesson. 

Children are exhausted by sheet music and you have to be careful not to burn them out with it. So when they burn a little too hot from sheet music, I switch right back to numbers, much to their relief. Ten minutes later, when they have had fun with numbers for a while, I try I CAN READ MUSIC again. 

If they fail, or get tired, I never let on, I just smile and move on to other things we need to learn. Never express disapproval, ever.

Using this procedure, I have taught almost every single child to read sheet music. The key is to be ultra patient, never aggressive, and understand how difficult sheet music really is, especially to younger children.

Allow kids the comfort of piano by number and they will reward you by taking an interest in the piano, will go to the piano on their own and will perhaps find piano is something they like. 

Push children to the piano and they will most likely reject it out of hand. I've found that almost every child has some interest in piano and music. True, some don't, or are at a stage where they have other interests. 

Piano by number is a logical choice for children who are home schooled, because it is an activity they can pursue on their own, setting a firm foundation of interest that may later take shape as private lessons and further study.

The object of home music study, in my view, is to spark an interest. The obvious, documented benefits such as rocketing math scores are great in themselves, but it is the childhood discovery of music as a fun and deep activity that is most valuable.       

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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Red musical note: start your child reading music today!

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THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Click here to view PIANO IS EASYClick here to view I CAN READ MUSICClick here to view THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER

Click here to view THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KITClick here to view TEACH YOURSELF PIANOClick here to view EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

Click here to view TEACH YOURSELF PIANO DVD

Picture of Brahms playing piano.THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: ALL 6 BASIC  BOOKS  

#WCS 001 Price: $89.95

THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: 

1. 107 page illustrated THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT Book with 44 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers   

2. 120 page illustrated PIANO IS EASY Book with 50 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers 

3. 50 page I CAN READ MUSIC Book 

4. 132 page TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP Book, 56 minute DVD Video and removable stickers 

5. 141 page THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER Book with 130 songs, and removable stickers 

6. 88 page EASY CLASSICAL PIANO BY NUMBER Book with 10 songs, and removable stickers, and 29 minute Play Along Audio CD 

6 BOOKS, DVD AND 3 PLAY ALONG AUDIO CDS 

Our BOOK PACKAGE price: $89.95

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