THE GREATEST LEARNING TOY OF ALL
If you use the
piano correctly, turning it into a toy for your child, you will
notice that the child treats the piano as they would any other
is that the piano can do more than almost any child's learning
toy. The piano can start as entertainment and quickly become
educational and interesting to a child.
There are many
toys out there for counting skills, but did you know that music
is essentially the first rhythm teacher? Music is divided into
even groups of counts, and the child must count internally while
performing other motions. This alone makes the piano into a
great coordination tool.
younger children have sometimes only a dim idea of what the
symbols for the numbers look like. Piano by Number requires the
child to be familiar and facile with the symbols, juggling them
with many other factors.
have trouble sorting out left from right. The piano requires a
child to be constantly aware of the left/right axis.
Music tones are
high or low, and the child must listen and look to distinguish
the different sounds. Most children have never actively listened
to music, but the piano requires constant attention to what you
requires a child to use their fingers, hands and arms in ways
that other activities simply do not require. Playing the piano
stimulates the growth of fine nerve control in ways that most
other learning toys cannot.
My students are
taught to adopt a spirit of playful gamesmanship that requires
them to try an action again and again without frustration. Kids
use the piano to learn how to apply themselves to a set of short
tasks, a skill that serves them well in their schoolwork, which
inevitably improves when a child starts and continues with the
The first thing
the piano teaches a child is that some kinds of perfection is achievable, but
only with work. I use the piano as a low-pressure proving ground
on which a children compete only with themselves for a tangible
skill that will allow them to play a part or the whole of a
use the piano to be creative in ways that other toys do not
allow, except for perhaps the freedom of art and drawing. You
haven't seen a happy and engaged child until you see a six
year-old sit down and try to compose a piece of music "just
like Beethoven did."
discover that success at the piano is simply a matter of trying
again, and being patient until you learn the required motion.
They see me being as patient as a rock, calmly observing their
failures and my own, and they learn that you can be calm and
figure out how to play a song better.
more of your brain than perhaps any other childhood activity.
Remember the "corpus callosum," the neural highway that
connects the two sides of your brain? Well, it is highly
stimulated by musical thoughts and work at the piano. If you
want your child to develop higher intelligence, stimulate their
corpus callosum by getting them involved with the piano. The
piano is perfectly laid out for work by a child: every note of
the piano has a simple black or white button that children must
familiarize themselves with.
Yes, most six
year olds squirm and veer off into time wasting at the drop of a
hat. But the piano is a low-pressure proving ground for TASK
skills. Everything at the piano is a little task, mental or
physical, and all these tasks must be drawn together into one
whole, the song. It takes maturity or a sense of fun for a six
year old to focus on ANYTHING for more than 22 seconds.
Music and the
piano is an immense fabric of patterns, intertwined both
physically and mentally. Playing even the simplest song requires
the recognition of dozens of patterns of movement, notes,
rhythms, all gathered together into one natural and pleasing
event, a song. It is because there is a song at the bottom of
the act of playing the piano that children want to try again and
again to play the pleasing pattern of tones called music.
If you approach
the piano in this low-pressure way, children will be drawn into
a learning world that has fascinated people for over 800 years: