KIDS PERCEIVE THE PIANO
What do you
think kids see when they see a piano?
It's a huge
piece of furniture that makes noise.
First the kids
bang on the piano. Later, they realize there's an order to it,
especially if they see someone play it and actually make music.
That's why it's so important for parents to play, or try to. The
least you can do is have piano music playing on a CD.
understand music history except for the fact that adults tell
them Beethoven and Mozart are the greats, like baseball heroes.
They understand baseball heroes, or movie stars.
understand Vladimir Horowitz, or the Romantic Tradition, and
can't conceive of Carnegie Hall unless you describe it in
painful, irrelevant detail. The idea of musicians competing like
athletes is absurd to them, unless they understand the pop music
seeing someone play the piano well. They are not certain they
will ever do the same. In fact, many are convinced they will
never play well. This is a testament to their reasoning
abilities: the piano is exceedingly difficult to play well.
The younger the
child, the less they are able to get their brains around the
subtle order of the black keys.
If a child has
a bad piano teacher, the piano is an instrument of torture. It
is not difficult to make a kid's study of the piano into a
veritable negative jungle, in fact, that seems to be the mission
of most piano teachers. It takes patience, creativity and
courage to make the piano into a beloved toy that a kid can
understand and operate.
Kids have a
limited perception of deferred gratification, and this is why
they don't understand the process of practicing. The only way to
truly get a kid to practice the piano is to give them music they
really love, presented in a form they can handle.
If you do this,
the gratification is immediate enough to be of use. Then the
hard part begins: you have to continually interest them in that
piece of music until they master it, or gently discard it when
they become bored.
Kids who can
play even a simple tune are admired by kids who can't. It is a
simple feather in their cap, and kids need feathers in their
caps to feel good about themselves.
would do far better to pay more attention to their students'
reactions to their program, and less attention to whether the
kid can master their method.
A far better
way is to derive the method from within the children themselves.
The result will be a child exerting maximum effort at
their own pace.
The form of the
piano lesson is not the method, it is the content: whatever
content (games, tasks, songs) it takes to further interest the
kid in the piano is the form the lesson must take.
heavy-handed form on the average kid's piano lesson and watch
the student wilt like a flower without water.