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Make Piano Practice Interesting

The piano teacher has to make piano practice interesting, or a child cannot get emotionally involved. Telling a child, "Play it five times a day," will result in that child seeing the piano as a chore. You'll have to do better than that. A child must not only be shown how to practice. Even more importantly, they must be given music which they find interesting. If piano practice has not been made interesting, piano lessons will come to a crashing halt. You have to give kids familiar songs to play.

Dangers Of The Standard Texts

The vast majority of piano teachers rely only on a set series of texts (Faber, Alfred, Bastien) that are the essence of boredom to a six-year old. The conventional piano teacher goes from page to page, making their job easier, but with disastrous results for the child. When the lessons come crashing to a halt, you'll say to your child, “Go practice! I’m paying for lessons so you get in there and practice, now!”

Accept Age-Appropriate Fingering At First

If all the kid can play is with their right index finger and what they can muster from their their brain, so be it. There is always something to be taught with what a child naturally offers. If your child already has a disciplinarian for a teacher, this will be impossible, for disciplinarians are afflicted with the fantasy that children are willing to work like dogs for an unknown reason. The only reason a child plays the piano willingly is that they love it, they love the music, and they love the instrument.

Fun Is Essential, Work Is Not

Conventional piano teachers turn the piano into drudgery regularly, as if it were their job to make kids to hate piano. The reason for this is that children only rarely understand the concept of deferred gratification. Most children’s personalities do not permit them to concentrate on something they regard as non-essential. Fun is essential to kids, work is not. Don’t expect a six year old to understand the determination and skill it will take to play the piano even halfway decently.

Delight The Child, Then Teach The Basics

Kids at six years old hardly know they have different fingers. They have no idea how to categorize them, strengthen them and organize them into two matching teams! Piano teachers would do well to concentrate on issues such as strength and dexterity, as well as enjoyment and exploration. It's unwise to drown the child in the minutiae of piano technique and musical notation right away. Take hand position, for example. Most piano teachers run children into the ground insisting on a “correct position” at all times. This is just one issue that is difficult for kids. It also tends to turn kids off to what is essential for them to learn, that we make music at the piano, not hand positions.

Build Upon What They Offer

A wise teacher accepts “their way” (the child's) and builds upon it, correcting what can comfortably be corrected. Build small habits, through games, that will eventually allow them to find the correct position by themselves. I’ve seen every child achieve this if left alone long enough with the right tools. You don’t have to make fingering and hand position the central issues of your teaching.

Expect Non-Practice

If a child has not played at home that week, I don’t become negative in any way. I move immediately to play through what I asked them, in a fun way. I find a way that might interest them enough to take up the song by themselves. If not, choose a different song until you find one that truly excites the child. Guilt buys you nothing with a child. The choice of song is key, for you cannot expect a child to delight in playing a song they don't know or dislike. Use common sense.

 

PIANO BY NUMBER

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

PLAY ALONG SONGS ARE FREE!

Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids!

PLAY FUN & GAMES

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