Piano Learning Steps For Kids
There are piano learning steps for kids, a road map of subjects and skills they need to acquire. First, don't scare the child away from the piano. That is step number one. Unless you follow step number one, the other nine are pointless. This first step may take longer than all the others combined, but it will insure that all subsequent steps are possible. Many, many piano teachers forget this, or never learned it at all.
Don't scare the child away with impossible expectations. You have to get the child to feel that the piano is a huge box of fun. It's larger than a sofa and it's a toy with which they can play.
Get kids to use their fingers instinctively at the piano. See what they think of doing before you suggest YOUR way of doing it. If this is two index fingers at first, so be it. Don't interfere yet with their childish ingenuity.
Teach kids the geography of the piano keyboard visually before you ever suggest looking at something on a page. Find the black key groups, make them really look at the piano keyboard for the purpose of playing piano games.
Devise a reward system. Use TicTacs, or stars or stickers. I use a silly library bell, and place it at the end of the piano (right end.) When the child succeeds even mildly, I play a little "victory" music that ends with a sweep up the piano whereupon the child gets to ring the bell. I guarantee the first question they ask me when I arrive is, "Did you bring the bell?"
Devise a ratio of fun to work that seems to please the child. If they know that fun is always around the corner, they will work at whatever you ask. Separate the curriculum into two parts: playing songs, and reading music. Do not confuse the two.
Use only familiar music for the child to play. Do not start with abstract, nameless exercise pieces.
Make sure the child can play memorized, simple songs before the idea of reading music is ever broached. Any child can play music far harder than what they can read from a page.
Never ever express disappointment, gruffness, impatience, judgement or any statement that will produce guilt. The child is not here to follow your method. They are here to develop a love for the piano first.
At some point, not the beginning of lessons, engage them in a game in which you find the written symbol for Middle C. Ask nothing else of them in terms of reading music until that silly game is second nature. This will take one minute out of a thirty minute lesson. Do not push further into reading music unless it seems easy for them.
Be bubbly and full of praise. When you see a mistake, laugh when you point it out. Try to cultivate a relaxed student attitude about "mistakes." We're not here for perfection, we're here to try and be happy about it.