Personality and Kid's Piano
Personality is a huge factor in a kid's piano experience. "Let's start little Bobby with piano, he's only five, but he'll be great." Unfortunately, Bobby's worst enemy at the piano is his own bubbly, engaging five year old personality.
He can't sit still, but he's smart as a whip. He chews the furniture with excess energy, but he knows his numbers and letters, and can read. All his intellectual accomplishments barely prepare him for what the piano requires. The piano requires temperament.
The piano requires the most intense concentration of almost any activity. Five year olds have an attention span of approximately 12 seconds. Guess what's going to happen. It is a question of temperament.
You may be very smart, but unless you're willing to sit still for a few seconds and watch what the teacher is showing you, you could fall seriously behind. Unless of course you have a sympathetic, creative piano teacher who has seen this all before and knows how to deal with an explosive personality.
I have a kid right now, six years old, and he goes 250 mph with everything. He is obsessed with the Minecraft game and his mind is occupied with a thousand things other than piano. He jumps like a flea from subject to subject, but is always eager to tell some endearing, childish story in the process.
So what is the solution? If he goes 250 mph I get in my jet and go 3500 mph. He can't possibly keep up and starts to calm down and watch. I move through 20 activities in 5 minutes so that he cannot possibly have time to sink into his personality. He's too busy with the piano. Now he needs a rest!
Don't Break Their Spirit
This is exhausting for the teacher, like herding cats. But like a sheepdog, I have to slowly lead the child back to the center and not break their spirit while doing so. There is no other choice but patience with a child like this. He was observant enough to catch me starting to get mad when he continually wasted time with constant digressions. “Are you getting annoyed with me?” he asked. I lied and said no, for there is no advantage to be gained in that admission.
He's aware of his mistake. Move on with humor. Later, I thought perhaps I might have said, “No, but I want you to learn so you need to pay attention a little more.” But he still got the idea his behavior was a little off without me getting mad. If guilt has a power of one, love has a power of ten thousand. Patience always wins, just as a child’s stubbornness often wins. As soon as you give in to impatience, the child’s stubbornness wins.