YOUR TODDLER PIANO
generally defined as ages 1-3, but I'm sure that extends a
couple of years past that.
With this age
group it is a foregone conclusion that you won't be able to
interest them in reading music in a serious way. Children this
age barely understand what a task is, and have trouble
All of my
methods are characterized by the word "patience," but
for the toddlers you better make it "gentle patience."
By this I mean that it is very easy to overload a toddler and
scare the wits out of them if you're too serious.
Try to adopt
the manner of a funny uncle who wants to show them a silly song
at the piano.
You will almost
certainly have to adopt a child-friendly musical language like
PIANO BY NUMBER if you want to start the child playing a
repertoire of familiar songs.
The first step
is finding a song with which the child is delighted.
Once you find a
song the toddler wants to play, try the following "rules."
are funny. Never disapprove. Just observe and comment if you
can make it friendly and funny. "My, those are crazy
is no timetable. Do not rush.
what interests the child. Do not force curriculum on them.
the child to use whatever finger occurs to them, no matter
how painful it is to watch an "all thumbs"
performance. Fingering comes later when the child is
rhythm doesn't exist within the confines of a song. It is
too stressful for a toddler to attack more than one musical
level at once. Finding the notes is enough.
rhythm games to develop their sense of timing, but don't
combine it with other skills yet.
the skills to simply finding the notes of a song, in any way
they can. Once they are comfortable with that, you can, much
later, refine it with fingering, timing and a host of other
the seeds for reading music by introducing them briefly to
the five lined staff, the symbol for Middle C, and notes on
lines or spaces. Make this a very brief but frequent game
you play with them any time you need a change of pace.
Choose very good moments when they are not stressed.
the child walks away from the lesson happy, wanting more,
you have succeeded. If they are confused, guilty or
stressed, you have failed.
forget that the first few piano lessons are your golden
opportunity to show a child that the piano is fun. You can
accomplish nothing valuable without their complete
cooperation. Force does not work.