Children Compose with Piano by Number
One of the most rewarding aspects of using Piano by Number is that children compose their own original music using the number system. By my own estimate, one out of four children will compose their own music when they begin playing with Piano by Number.
The reason for this is that children are comfortable with numbers. Thus they are moved to try to compose their own music. This may be because the piano has a very user-friendly design. All the notes are laid out in front of you, with convenient black and white buttons.
Applaud Every Effort
I work with them as with real adult composers, discussing variations and concept, title, and all the aspects that a real composing student would experience. And there are amazing kids out there. Not all that they write is nonsense.
Meet The Geniuses
I have several 15 year old composers, children who are so taken with writing their own piano music that we study their music and not other composers unless they are interested. Almost all of them resist reading music. I have noticed that child composers reject the drudgery and want to get to the heart of the the music right away.
Numbers are the quickest way to express themselves. I have a 12 year old girl who can barely read music. She composed a piano concerto, yes, a real concerto type of piece. It is highly dramatic, full of roiling arpeggios and all the bombastic tricks of the classic period. I doubt she has ever heard a real concerto. You would never guess that this piece was by a 12 year old, for it is real music. She is on her 20th song now.
She works on composing in between soccer and baseball practices. I have a five year old autistic boy who hates to read music even though he reads quite well. His passion is patterns and numbers. He composes occasionally, and his latest work is a real Broadway tune.
It's only four bars long, but it has all the earmarks of musical genius. I say four great bars is a great accomplishment for a five year-old, autistic or not.
Encourage All Their Music
I have countless normal, everyday kids who come up to me and say, "I wrote this song." We turn to a page in their note book, and there is their attempt at a song. Usually there are moments of lucidity where it DOES sound like music, but in general it is random.
The point is to encourage this activity, for several reasons. First, it is a huge raise in self esteem for a child to write something and have it be appreciated. Second, writing voluntarily demonstrates that the musical process has penetrated their consciousness far enough that they pour themselves into it.
It's Easy To Compose On A Piano
It's not important how clever the piece is. But those kids that really write something remarkable will never hear the end of it from me. It is magical to hear a child write their own music. It is the nature of the piano, and the ease of the number system, that prompts them to do this.
The piano itself almost asks you to make something up. Numbers makes it possible for the child to write it down easily, completing the act of composition.