Teach Your Toddler Piano
You can teach your toddler piano, but you had better be prepared to go very slow, and make a game of everything. Discard any ideas of a set curriculum. This is true of preschoolers as well. With this age group it is a foregone conclusion that you won't be able to interest them in reading music in a serious way.
Children this age barely understand what a task is, and have trouble concentrating. By this I mean that it is very easy to overload a toddler and scare the wits out of them if you're too serious. Try to adopt the manner of a funny uncle who wants to show them a silly song at the piano.
Child-Friendly Musical Language
You will almost certainly have to adopt a child-friendly musical language like Piano By Number if you want to start the child playing a repertoire of familiar songs. The first step is finding a song with which the child is delighted. Once you find a song the toddler wants to play, try the following "rules."
Play A Song With Numbers
| 4 * * * * 5 | 6 * * 6 * * | 5 * 4 5 * 6 | 4 * * 1 * * |
| 4 * * * * 5 | 6 * * 6 * * | 5 * 4 5 * 6 | 4 * * * * * |
Toddler And Preschool Rules
Mistakes are funny. Never disapprove. Just observe and comment if you can make it friendly and funny. "My, those are crazy fingers!" There is no timetable. Do not rush. Follow what interests the child. Do not force curriculum on them. Allow the child to use whatever finger occurs to them, no matter how painful it is to watch an "all thumbs" performance.
Fingering comes later when the child is comfortable. Pretend rhythm doesn't exist within the confines of a song. It is too stressful for a toddler to attack more than one musical level at once. Finding the notes is enough. Play rhythm games to develop their sense of timing, but don't combine it with other skills yet.
First Find The Notes
Confine the skills to simply finding the notes of a song, in any way they can. Once they are comfortable with that, you can refine it with fingering, timing and a host of other levels. Sow the seeds for reading music by introducing them briefly to the five lined staff, the symbol for Middle C, and notes on lines or spaces.
Make this a very brief but frequent game you play with them any time you need a change of pace. Choose very good moments when they are not stressed. If the child walks away from the lesson happy, wanting more, you have succeeded. If they are confused, guilty or stressed, you have failed.
Never forget that the first few piano lessons are your golden opportunity to show a child that the piano is fun. You can accomplish nothing valuable without their complete cooperation. Force does not work.