Teaching Preschool Piano Visually
Teaching preschool piano visually is always the best course at first. Kids are very good with their fingers if you don’t demand heavy brain work at the same time. It’s difficult to say whether a four or five year old is ready to start the piano, for every five year old is different. But there are common factors that link most preschool children and their attempts at piano lessons.
Strangely enough, it is the personality of the piano teacher that has the most effect on piano lessons at this young age. The biggest skill for a piano teacher to learn is to control their expectations of the child.
Child’s Personality Makes A Difference
A sober, serious child might stand a chance with a sober, serious piano teacher. But the average child of four or five is exuberant, impatient and easily bored. What type of piano teaching personality suits such preschool children? One must be realistic about what can be taught happily to a child of this age.
One of the primary obstacles is the natural personality of the child. Most children at this age are a little silly and scattered, bouncing from one interest to another. But a master teacher can teach children the piano without dampening their natural personalities.
Delay Reading Music
The process of learning to read music will most likely be too attention-intensive for preschool kids to learn happily at first. This is especially true if the teacher uses a conventional method and is determined to push only a certain curriculum. A looser approach brings better results at this stage.
Instead of reading music, try numbering the keys instead, and let your child explore the piano in this way. Try a song on our piano below:
Start Leisurely Acquiring Skills
In Piano by Number, children delay reading music. We start instead with the piano keyboard numbered from 1-12 (see drawing above.) They can then immediately start playing familiar tunes, and start getting their fingers and hands familiar with the postures they will later need to play and read music.
Don’t forget that, ultimately, playing the piano requires two broad categories of skill: 1) reading music (largely mental) and 2) playing the keys (largely physical and visual). In my experience, starting with reading music is a recipe for disaster in almost all children.
Start With Numbers
Children make a better start at the piano if they are given the chance to simply explore the piano in a physical manner. Piano by Number allows them this opportunity. You can introduce the elements of reading music when the child is comfortable and happy playing familiar songs at the piano. I Can Read Music is an excellent introduction to these elements, presented as a game that any child can enjoy.
You cannot really make a misstep if you delay reading music until the child is comfortable with the piano. This period is their “comfort zone,” to which you and the child can retreat when learning to read music becomes too tedious.