The Future Effect of Piano Games
The future effect of piano games is a specific skill that the child will use. Such skills are best started early and repeated often like a fun game. I'd like to demonstrate what effect kids piano games, properly applied, have down the road. The payoff is delayed but satisfying for all. I had a lesson with a wonderful little girl, quite intelligent, but apparently not interested in the piano at all. She is the poster child for the victory of patience over indifference.
Fight Apathy With Games
She is about 9. Indifferent to the piano at first, over three years she has learned at her own pace and now has her own level of interest. We played every kid's piano game there is. Sometimes, that was all we did. I made up piano games on the spot to interest her, and succeeded every time in leaving her a little more interested. Her Mom, who was forced to play, agreed with me that she didn't care how long it took. She wanted her daughter to be able to enjoy playing the piano.
Games Lead To Affection For The Piano
Now, three years later, this child sight reads simple music easily. She can play with both hands, knows every chord, plays without stickers, and much more. Her preference is pop songs, and she plays Beethoven and Bach, too. She is a very good at fingering and always corrects herself quietly.
Play Only Music You Like
She has her own taste and plays only music she likes. I refuse to teach her a song unless she likes it. I am persistent if I think learning a certain song would be good for her experience. Persistent but gentle. One song (Bach Prelude #1 in C) took us a year (on and off) to learn the first four bars. But who cares? Now she knows the whole thing!
She Starts Composing
Lately she has become a composer. It really interests her. Currently she is writing a piece, logical and musical, full of childlike charm. It has a scale pattern that keeps subtly shifting, slowly including black notes. It is quite exotic. Sort of Rimsky meets Disney.
What Her Friends Play
After we worked on her song, she was tired. I pulled out a book from the Bastien series for her to sight-read a page. After we read a passage, here was our conversation: "My friends play from books just like this." Do they like playing? "Not really. They only play songs from the book. They don't make up songs, or anything."
Never Any Piano Games
No piano games? "They just play songs from the book. None of our crazy games. When you're done with one song, they let you play the next page." But the songs in the book are okay, aren't they? "Well, they're not real songs like we play. We play songs that are real, that everyone knows, like Harry Potter and Beethoven. Their songs in that book are kinda boring." What shall we do now? "I want to work on my song again for a while." All this enthusiasm on her part comes from the silly little kid's piano games we played for years to relieve the frustration of reading music. This is the supreme reward for a teacher, to watch a child take an interest on their own part. All my smiles, all my patience, all my "No, that's okay, sweetie, you're tired, you go play" paid off.