Making Homeschool Piano Work
Making homeschool piano work is largely dependent on parents controlling their expectations. There are two situations to consider. Will you, the parent, teach the child, or will you hire an outside teacher to come to your home? Both situations are very similar, assuming the parent has enough musical experience to lead the kids.
One of the advantages of Piano By Number is that a parent can teach themselves using numbers first, and then start teaching the kids. The biggest difficulty with parents teaching the kids is one of authority. Piano teaching requires a lot of commands, and that means the child must like the commander and be willing to accept their leadership.
More A Game Than A Class
If you teach them yourself, I would suggest making it more like, "Let's go play some songs on the piano." Make it more like recess than a class. The best idea is to find exactly the right teacher and have them teach your children. But not every teacher will do. From my experience, homeschooled kids are very creative and intelligent, but they are used to thinking for themselves, since there is often no overbearing teacher presence to guide them.
I really don't suggest starting with reading music, especially for homeschoolers. It is too rigid a curriculum. Kids need something a little looser, like Piano By Number.
You Should Start Playing
First, we suggest that you start playing as well, starting at exactly the point the kids are starting from. If kids see you play, they will want to play even more. Five minutes a day is enough, as long as they see you try piano. The parent's participation makes piano into a family pastime that parents and kids can share together. Next, find which songs the kids know, and play them from one of our books.
The first objective is to get the child to play as many different familiar songs as possible so their brains, consciously or not, experience many different situations and combinations of problems. Younger kids will want to play with their index finger, and will avoid chords as it requires playing with both hands, and younger kid's brains are not quite ready for that. Let them do it their way, surely childish, at first, to see what they do without prodding.
Use Listening As A Game
One thing that the home school situation permits is listening, so put some classical piano CDs on and have them going frequently. Kids need to hear the sound of a piano played well, even if only dimly and with little apparent attention.
Get long excerpts of classical CDs at amazon.com. Go to amazon and search, for example, “Vladimir Horowitz.” Dozens of CDs have audio samples. It doesn't have to be classical, if that's not your family's style. But make it piano music, jazz, pop: anything with piano.
Put The Piano In A Central Place
The placement of the piano (acoustic or electronic is fine) is crucial. First of all, put the piano in a high traffic place, and you will find kids playing little bits of songs as they pass by. That is exactly what you want: allowing kids to take their own interest in piano, for as long as they want.
If that's ten seconds, so be it. What appears to be casual interest can easily be turned into avid interest with the right guidance. With time, and a slow approach, the child may decide that piano is not so very hard, and they like it.
It may take months or years, depending on age, but eventually the child gains enough experience that they are ready to read music, or start conventional piano lessons. Piano By Number allows kids the time to develop interest and enthusiasm.
(This title comes in two versions: Printed $19.95, and eBook $9.95)