Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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The Path of Least Resistance in Children's Piano Lessons

 

 

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THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE IN CHILDREN'S PIANO LESSONS

If you've a mind to herd cats, try imposing your piano teaching regime on the average six year old. 

I've seen piano teachers foolish enough to teach the first two piano lessons without letting the child touch the piano! You can imagine how fragile this teacher's mind is, unable to relinquish control long enough to let the kid try the piano. 

Such piano teachers need to have the child obey EXACTLY what they say, for if the child steps out of line, the teacher has no way to deal with it except to get angry. They have no idea how to adapt a teaching idea to a specific child: it's 
"one-size-fits-all" and your individuality be damned.

The dogmatists have not learned the first law of children's piano lessons: you're not trying to teach the child to play perfectly, you're trying to excite them enough to get them to pursue it with their own interest. If you get them interested, you have a much greater potential for longevity in the lessons, and without longevity piano lessons fail, for there is simply too much to absorb and learn for reluctant, uninterested students.

Kids don't always follow exactly what you say, and conventional piano teachers are very threatened by this behavior.

Kids are often in their own world, and a smart piano teacher has to have tools other than anger, resentment and rigid control to bring the child out of that world, unless, of course, you are willing to enter the child's world to teach the lesson.

In fact, you will find the best opportunities for learning are in that child's world. Insisting that the child be serious and inhabit the adult world is often a recipe for disaster. You may get the child to not be a child for 30 minutes, but you will find they don't retain very much and want only to get away and play. Their memory of that "serious" lesson is likely to form the lasting impression that learning the piano is a painful, laborious and oppressive process.

You might instead try letting the child be a child, and see what happens. Yes, you will find more than half the lesson time is wasted, unless you think bonding with the child is a useless waste of time. I find that any time spent with the child is valuable.

For example, a child that jokes with you is a child that is willing to straighten up and get a little work done too, for children understand the idea of give and take: give me a little fun and I'll take a little knowledge.

Thus I never have a set agenda for a lesson. I test the waters for a moment and see what can reasonably be done. Obviously, I have a secret agenda and curriculum, and I keep close track of each of their skills, but I do not wear this curriculum "on my sleeve." Piano lessons involve a set group of skills, but in what order and manner you teach them is best fitted to the individual.

When the child veers off in a direction, I see if following them will lead to an opportunity for learning.

In essence, I cleverly turn the tables by appearing to follow them, when in reality I follow them only to find their direction. Once I find their direction, mood, or interest, I feed it as fast and as much as I can.

For example, suppose you were intending to teach fingering today, but the child is interested in a Michael Jackson tune that day. This happened to me recently.

The child was wild about THRILLER, an exciting rock song by Jackson.

I quickly show the child the bass line to the song, and we began to experiment with the best way to finger it so that it sounded like the record.

This in itself led to intense interest on the part of the child. Fingering now had an actual use: it could help them play a song they love. 

At the end of the lesson, the child understood much more about the use of fingering, and was starting to be interested in the idea of finger combinations.

Subsequently, this child was always interested in fingering, and never found it tedious.

That is the path of least resistance in children's piano lessons.

Teach what you insist, or find what the child insists on learning.

Either way, you cannot force-feed the piano to children, unless you want to wind up with a musical anorexic.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2010 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

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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 

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