Most piano teachers do
not teach their own children.
The reason for this is
that it is difficult to maintain a certain distance that teaching
requires. It may be too easy for the relationship to instantly return to
that of parent-child, making the kind of guidance that piano teaching
That is, unless
discipline can be de-emphasized, as I believe it should be for
children's piano lessons.
A piano teacher who
relies on discipline alone to get attention is on a slippery slope. Eventually,
the naturally boisterous nature of children will interfere with the
disciplined approach that almost all piano teachers use. When this
happens, there is conflict, then guilt, and finally, apathy.
So if your approach can
be made into a friendly exploration of the piano, a parent may be a
perfect first piano teacher. This friendly approach is more appropriate
for children, anyway, than the gruff, serious demeanor of most
conventional piano teachers.
by Number makes this approach
natural and easy. There is no stress about reading music, because we delay
its introduction until the child is happily playing dozens of simple,
familiar songs at the piano.
Center your method on
playing songs, and learning them visually. Mary Had A Little Lamb, for example,
has an easily grasped profile:
3 2 1 2 | 3 3 3 * | 2 2 2* | 3 5 5 * |
The first bar (3 2 1 2 )
has an easily explained motion. Start on the key numbered three, walk down
to the key numbered one, and then back up to three. This is more a recipe
for a game than a piano lesson, and yet, in a child-friendly way, it
teaches almost the same thing.
You will find the child
easily navigates these directions, and shows a rise in self-esteem as a
result of playing a song they know. You can surely proceed further on the
basis of this easily acquired success.
In between learning as
many songs as possible, you can play counting games and other games that
increase their familiarity with the piano keyboard.
Plan each session for
fifteen minutes or so, but do not stick to it. I use the child's
interest level as my guide; as long as the child is interested, the
lesson should continue.
I always ask,
brain had enough?" If they say, yes, then we stop. I might try to
stretch it a minute or two, usually by asking them to play a song they
The advantage of allowing
the child to call the lesson's end is that the next lesson and all
lessons will go for as long as the child finds enjoyable. The child's
memory is of fun, and not drudgery, and so they will be ready and willing
to take the next.
The piano can only be
learned over time, with repeated effort.
You will find a child
responds better to 10 lessons of five minutes in length, than to one giant
The strategy of fun in
piano lesson is to assure your student's return. Unless they do, their
piano career is over.
It is really up to you
and your approach, rather than the child and their talent.
With this approach, any
child will eventually learn to play the piano, with a patient and fun
Expect less from any
individual lesson, and make sure there's a next lesson.
Lower the bar and raise
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