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Turn Your Piano Into A Toy

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

Books for Younger Kids      Books for Older Kids      Books for Adults

 

TURN YOUR PIANO INTO A TOY

Ever notice how kids learn to play a video game very quickly?

It isn't hard, because they are constantly refining their skills at the game.

What draws kids to video games, and other favorite toys?

Kids love the fact that the game is THEIRS. Mom and Dad can't play Super Mario.  There is a world that a child inhabits when they play with a favorite toy. You can safely leave them alone because they are so happily absorbed in their construction and imagination.

How does this apply to the piano and children?

It occurred to me that above description of a child playing with a toy is exactly the same as I feel when playing the piano. I recognize that I am a professional with many accomplishments and awards, but still I feel like a child at play, excited to try one thing and another, moving happily and quickly from one new idea to the next.

To me, playing the piano isn't work, but rather an intellectual and physical amusement. Like a video game, one wants to repeat songs at the piano because it is interesting.

Unlike the piano, the video game is easy to get the hang of. Were that not true, they would not sell a lot of video games. So the piano suffers the disadvantage that it is inherently complex on many levels.

But there are aspects of the piano that can be approached quite successfully on a simpler level, and can be appreciated even by the youngest child.

This is the level of familiar songs, played with the index finger if necessary. This is the level of counting games and other piano games, which give the child experience with the elements of the piano without overburdening them with curriculum.

Here are some examples of play versus work, and how you can substitute them and achieve the same results without resistance.

Instead of rhythm on the page, first teach counting games that kids play on the piano.

Instead of note reading, try teaching the child a song by eye. Just show them a bit of a song, and move their fingers to the correct notes, again and again. Make the section you teach very short and familiar. Perhaps the first six notes of the Star Spangled Banner. Children soon get the idea because it is visual, not cerebral, or page-related.

Instead of fingering, first play finger games. For example, ask them to close their eyes and then you call out a finger for them to wiggle. You'd be surprised how many kids have never thought about the mental connection to their fingers.

Instead of hand position, start them playing anything that uses the first three fingers of the right hand. Use them like a mini-basketball team. The place a quarter (a coin) on the back of their hand and get them to play the same three keys with those three fingers. Their hand position will improve about 95% in two seconds.

The greatest rule of transparent piano teaching is to show, don't tell. Today's kids are accustomed to a high volume of information, and will be bored by talk unless it leads immediately to something physical and fun. 

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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PIANO FUNHOUSE: Free Online Piano Games for Kids

 

TOPICS OF INTEREST TO PARENTS:

"What is a good age to start piano lessons?"

"What are the benefits of playing piano for my child?"

"How can I help my child read sheet music at the piano?"

Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

Visit the WALDEN POND PRESS ARCHIVES and read articles about children and piano

Click here to read the entire tutorial HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ MUSIC

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PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PIANO IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers. 

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a copy of I CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is the best way to start children reading music. Click here for sample pages.

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands right away. That's a $16.95 value free!

2 BOOKS,  PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD 

Click here for a list of songs.    Click here for sample pages.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95   

 PIANO IS EASY book package includes a 107 page song book with 44 songs and removable stickers, plus a Play Along Audio CD, free DVD and copy of the book  I CAN READ MUSIC.

You can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95

Click here to visit the PIANO IS EASY home page!

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