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Kid's Computer Time Affects Piano Lessons

Kid's computer time affects piano lessons, usually in a profoundly negative way. I've been able to compare children taking piano lessons when they have just finished an hour at the computer, and when they have not spent an hour at the computer. In all instances, the piano lesson came directly after the hour of computer activity. While this is not by any means a scientific sampling, some interesting observations can be made. I have a student, a bright boy of eight, who is so motivated that he knows all about Bizet's Carmen, and the life of any classical composer you can mention. He's hooked on Scooby Doo, too, so his tastes have a wide and unusual range for his age. He likes classical music and computers in about equal measure.

Make The Lesson Into A Set Of Games

All of this, according to his mother, is at his own instigation. This is a boy who is hyperactive, and might have ADHD for all I know. We have worked out a set of games that calm him and allow him to play me the songs we have worked on. He progresses slowly into reading music and other basic musical skills at the piano.

Nurture Their Curiosity

This child's thirst for culture is deep. He is the only child I have ever had walk up to me and say, "Teach me Handel's Water Music right now!" I taught him the tune immediately, using Piano by Number. But his lessons often consist of moments of clarity followed by episodes where he practically chews the furniture. In between these moments of craziness, we try to cobble his musical education. He's very good at all the chords, fingering and sight-reads C position very well.

Beware Computer-Glazed Eyes

Then came a day when he had just been on the computer directly before his lesson. His eyes had a glazed-over look. Sluggish and exhausted mentally, he became almost impossible to deal with. It was as if the computer had sucked out all his energy. He had none left for the piano, his very favorite activity. I noted this, and said nothing.

Mental Exhaustion Of The Computer Refugee

The following week, I was told he had been on the computer for the previous hour. Once again, this wraith of a child appeared, and dumbly took his place at the piano, quiet and withdrawn. We began a game of playing famous pieces that he would try to identify and learn the opening bars or theme. But this was all we could accomplish that day. Having had the same experience with other children, I concluded that the computer drains their brains, and renders them practically inanimate. It's impossible to keep a child from a computer, for it has become such a part of our lives. But I ask parents to try to save the computer time for after the lesson. Otherwise some kids will be unable to participate in any useful piano activities.

 

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