Piano By Number Is The Missing Step
Piano by Number is the missing step left out of conventional piano lessons. Learning the piano is simply a series of steps. Like Mount Everest, the higher you go, the harder it gets.
Conventional lessons start a child out at step #1, let's call it. The teacher goes through the first ten steps in the first ten lessons. They follow the book exactly, going ten pages in ten lessons.
The Missing Steps
Suddenly, you notice the child is unengaged, uninterested and bored. Why? Because none of those ten steps included the missing steps.
The missing steps are:
- Enjoy coming to the piano and playing simple, familiar songs.
- Establishing that the teacher is a positive, creative force, not just a harsh critic.
- Playing the piano at the child's level, at their own pace.
- Enjoy exploring music that they can understand.
The One Habit A Kid Needs
The only habit needed to begin the piano is the desire to be in front of a piano. Conventional piano teachers destroy the child's motivation to play by making it too complex, and going too quickly. Kids need a buffer zone, a period of time in which the normal expectations of piano lessons are discarded. The child should be taught, by any means, to enjoy coming to the piano.
Unless you establish this sense of trust between piano, teacher and student, all the billion steps leading to the top of Mount Everest are useless. The easiest way to do this is delay reading music, and number the piano keys as in the drawing below:
Kids Accept Numbers Immediately
Establish that all you must do is push the numbered keys in order to play a song. The child will accept this language immediately, and begin playing dozens of songs, on their first lesson. Of course, the piano is more complex than numbers, but don't tell them that. At first you are establishing a positive relationship between the child and the piano. Until you do that, you will have sub-surface resistance all the time.
If you have given the child a chance to start by this "soft" method, then in a month or two, you can try to slowly introduce the elements of reading music. If you sense resistance or confusion, back off, and come back another day to try again. Your main goal is to have the child say, "This is really easy." You can build on that.