SAY READ MUSIC, I SAY PLAY PIANO
piano teachers start by teaching kids the rudiments of reading
sheet music. In fact, that is all they do.
foolish, and here's why:
your child was very young, pre-reading. You read to that child.
You filled that child with the wonder of stories, characters and
imagination whose source was books, the printed page.
Your next step
was to introduce the letters of the alphabet to the child. You
were wise enough to let the child feel comfortable with their
mastery of the letters before you moved on to reading words and
But in piano
lessons, the process is reversed.
You start by
reading music right away. No magic of music, no fun, no easy
comprehension of something outside yourself. The child is never
allowed to just PLAY something as music, but must always be tied
to the page.
Kids are never shown WHY to
play piano, only HOW.
by ear and by eye is denigrated by these piano teachers as a waste of
Imagine you had
taught your child reading this way, read first, play later:
your child asked for a fun story, you instead made them work
on their letters. Of course they need to learn letters, but
WHEN? No stories until you can read!
it was time for a Curious George, you insisted on a
discussion of sentence structure instead. And why not throw
in a two hour lecture on the history of Victorian children's
literature, as well?
delayed any sense of reward in literature, and traded it for
trying to force technical knowledge down their throats.
after years of effort, it came time for the child to read
their story by themselves. The child could only read single
syllable words, and thus the story was necessarily
simplistic and dull. This is a difficult experience, but you
insisted on pushing them through it. Tough love, right?
you have a child who can read, but hates reading.
I submit that a
child taught in this way may end up in fact reading, but they
have lost the mutual, human act of storytelling, which is the
entire point of literature to a child.
This is why the
first thing I do in a kid's piano lesson is have them make
music. I don't care if it is Chopsticks or Scooby Doo played
with their thumbs.
Until a child
has had the experience of making music, happily, it is pointless
to go further.
The answer is
to first show the child WHY we play piano, and then show them
piano teachers reverse this process, assuming that if the
the child how to read music, the child will somehow absorb the magic
of music making and then want to play (and be interested by) what little music they can
also ignores the fact that it will take decades for the child to
read music well enough to play an interesting piece of music.
(Interesting music can be played by ear or other methods while
the child is slowly developing the skills of reading music.)
The person who
loses in this foolish process is your child.
bear this out: 9 out of 10 kids taught piano in this way give up
within a year.
after decade, this is how the wise people in charge of music
education in America have decided to teach piano to your kids.