Make Piano Fun For A Five Year Old
If you want to make piano fun for a five year old, there are a few ways to accomplish that.
Never forget the age of your student. The younger they are, the easier the task must be.
PACE OF THE LESSON
Make sure the time passes happily. It's a game, not a lecture.
Kids of all ages dislike lengthy verbal explanations. Instead of explaining, plunge them into doing the activity, moving their fingers if you have to. Show, don't tell.
Look in the child's eyes: if they are bored, you're going too fast and confusing them.
EVERYTHING IS A GAME
The unit of instruction in our curriculum is the game. Anything musical can be made into an entertaining game.
For example, break down any skill into the smallest possible parts. If you're trying to play 1 2 3, first try 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 a thousand times with the thumb, then the same 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 with the index, and then the same 3 3 3 3 3 3 with the middle finger. Then try 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 or 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 followed by more complex combinations.
There is nothing more boring to a child than being dragged through the pages of a beginning piano book.
PLAY THE GAME "MODERN COMPOSER"
I once had a brilliant student who was curious about the inside of the piano, and we became involved in piano mechanics and then modern composers like John Cage, who exploited the interior of the piano in entirely new way.
So he began to compose pieces based on "prepared piano," where nuts and bolts and other "jangly" items are placed on the string so, when played, they make a strange noise.
Luckily, his piano was old, and his mom didn't mind at all our crazy exploration of being a "modern composer."
Find The Songs The Child Likes
The quickest way into a child's heart is with a song they love. Your job, as teacher, is to arrange the song so it is playable by a five year old.
This has nothing to do with curriculum and everything to do with the child's reaction to the piano.
Be aware that the fake music in most piano methods will alienate the child and make them uncomfortable. They don't recognize any of the songs, and they are already confused by reading music, which is the only language the teacher speaks.
You Should Bring Toys To The Lesson
I bring a library bell which is irresistible to kids because it is so easy to play: just push the button.
Kids enjoy objects that are not normally part of lessons.
The bell can be used to signify:
- Take Over
You can also play the bell yourself, or only allow the child to play it when they have achieved a "victory." Trust me, kids are itching to get their hands on that bell.
Encourage Kids To Compose
Sometimes kids enjoy being led through the composition of something musical, and the teacher usually refines the child's idea to the approval of the child.
I've heard children write everything from utter nonsense, to a viable Broadway tune (he was seven.)
Draw Notes On Paper For Music Reading
One activity children like more than reading music is writing notes onto manuscript paper (five lines.)
It helps them understand that music is just circles placed on lines or spaces.
A steady diet of page to keyboard association is very exhausting for a child, as it involves so many planes and symbols.
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