Fitting the Piano Method to the Child
Fitting the piano method to the child is the wisest way to begin the great journey of piano lessons.
Any Child Can Play Piano
Any child can be made into a piano player. It’s just that almost none of these children will ever be fluent music readers. Very few amateurs are fluent music readers. Both types will end up “piano players” except that one type, the “read everything,” will go further with reading music. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of child. A clever piano teacher knows how to combine the approaches into a single method that inspires the child.
Have A Plan For The Child
The majority of children will never have facility at reading much more than a few notes of the treble (right hand) clef. Some children will master the entire language of musical notation. They are the exception, and very rare. Find out which type of child you have. Do you have the “never read” or the “read everything” child?
And don’t forget every variation in between. Determining this will help you set reasonable expectations, and help you design curriculum that gets the child playing first, not reading first.
Two Types Of Students
The “read everything” child will eventually be self-managing. They will be able to get all the musical information they need from the page. Thus they will be increasingly more independent and musically literate as time goes on. The “never read” child will have to manage absorbing music in a blend of various other piano methods, none of them conventional: by ear, by eye, etc. Most can eventually manage knowledge of and facility with a few notes of music notation, but you must prepare them correctly.
This means that the “never read” is a perfect candidate to get their all of their musical information from popular sheet music if you teach them chords. All popular music piano methods are based on this rubric: chords in left hand, right hand plays the notes of the treble clef.
Classical Or Popular
The “singer-songwriter” method is the basis of popular methods like Play Piano In A Flash. It is, in fact, the way that almost all adult hobbyists play. Very few people end up being able to sight-read the two musical languages, left and right hand, simultaneously, with any degree of facility or enjoyment. Don’t expect it from the average child except in halting, fitful moments. The best method seems to be a blend of the two approaches.
(This title comes in two versions: Printed $19.95, and eBook $9.95)