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Don't Tell Kids How Hard The Piano Is

Kid Enjoying Piano

Don't tell kids how hard the piano is. If the beginning of their piano experience is tedious and full of drudgery, it will not last long, because most kids quit piano in the first year.

You'd be surprised how many piano teachers have not learned the "fun first, reading second" lesson. These teachers start out immediately with reading music, and the result is almost always failure and disappointment.

To a small child, the piano is first furniture, then a machine, and finally their toy. They have no idea of piano culture, and the mountains of difficulty that lie before them if they are to play piano even moderately well.

The Conventional Approach

The conventional teacher decides, "Since there are so many difficulties ahead, let us start attacking them right away, regardless of the child's reaction." And so the rigorous work begins, and the child immediately is turned off because their brains are not developed enough to understand musical notation.

The Gentler Approach

A wiser teacher will realize that lessons will go nowhere if the child is not happily engaged. Thus they begin with piano games, rather than opening a book and diving in to the difficulties.

The rationale is that if the child has fun in the beginning, they will be more able to weather the difficulties of reading music, which are presented later.

Rational Curriculum

Start by letting the child play with numbers, making everything fun and games. Kids have no idea they are going to be asked to climb Mount Everest, so let them hike the low-lying hills until they are ready. You gain nothing by rushing.

After a while, pull out a book of sheet music, and show them the symbol for Middle C.

Concentrate on that symbol only, and the piano key associated with it. Reading music and finding Middle C should occupy 10% of the lesson at first, with the percentage raised according to the child's reaction.

Regulate Difficulty

Observe the child's reaction to both difficulty and fun. When their reaction to difficulty is stress, switch to fun and games to give their brain a break.

The best advice I can give is to avoid stress as much as possible, since it will enhance nothing for the child.

Try Numbers

Twinkle Twinkle

| 1 1 5 5 | 6 6 5 * | 4 4 3 3 | 2 2 1 * |

Establish Trust

If you are gentle with the child, and use a fun approach, you will be rewarded with constant but slow improvement. If you go too fast, it will soon be over.

Trust also involves your attitude as teacher. The child must realize you will never get mad, never go too fast, and never use guilt as a teaching tool.

Set the child up for success by letting them know that, like Goldilocks, the pace (porridge) will be "just right."


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We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!

Play Along Songs Are Fun!


Turn that big piano into a toy! Play fun piano games with your child today! We help take the confusion out of beginning music theory.

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