The Path of Least Resistance in Kid's Piano
The path of least resistance in kid's piano is a path that will lead to much quicker progress by the child. Constrained by a method they hate, kids wilt. After they wilt, they resist the piano with every fiber of their being. I've seen it.
People often ask how I achieve such good results in my piano lessons. I’ll tell you how. Kids like my lessons because they want to be there. It’s as simple as that. I make piano lessons an enjoyable place to be.
Piano Talent Is Irrelevant
It doesn’t matter if the child is inept, inattentive and untalented. I can still get them to play and enjoy it. Here’s my secret: the Path of Least Resistance. When the child enters the room, I am attentive to their mood, and their mood only. Children are quixotic creatures, and a bright, sharp child may be dull and listless on another occasion.
Learn To Read The Child's Mood
I've learned to read a certain expression on kid’s faces, and this expression says, “I don’t want a piano lesson, I won’t resist you, but today I’m not interested.” Even my very best, super-talented, accomplished kids wear that face occasionally. We’re all human. In such a situation, would you….
Proceed as usual, with the same expectations
Tell them to straighten up and pay attention
Ask them if they’ve practiced
None of the above.
The answer is to immediately occupy the same emotional space as the child.
Give A Resistant Child A "Non-Lesson"
For example, if a child doesn’t want a lesson, you should immediately create an environment totally unlike a normal lesson. You can……
Sit down and start playing interesting music and talk to them about it
Say, “Have you ever looked inside a piano?” Open the piano and take a tour
Suggest, “Here, you be the teacher. I’ll play and you tell me what to do.”
The first result will be that the child’s expectation of boredom is immediately dispelled. Whatever assignment they had can be forgotten momentarily.
Show Them Why You Love Piano
Show the child why the piano interested you when you were their age. If you can’t do that, you can’t really teach children the piano. You might teach them to play a few notes, but you’ll never get them to love the instrument. Most piano teachers have that backwards. They think that they first must get the child to play correctly in order for the child to love the piano. You must get the child to like the piano first. Then get them to play in however humble a fashion they can. And it is impossible to get a child to love an experience (the conventional piano lesson) that is full of corrections, interruptions, guilt, embarrassment and fear.
Mood First, Education Later
First establish the correct feeling in the lessons, determined according to the child. Then, you can try to see what can be learned that day. If the child asks about chords, you go with chords. When the child wants to hear a certain song, you play it. If the child wants to make up a song, you compose with them. Any basic concept of the piano can be taught using the idea the child is interested in. Abandon your curriculum, ostensibly, to explore the child’s current area of interest. I say “ostensibly” because you will find a way to teach some valuable element within the direction the child is leading you. Sometimes, the path of least resistance in piano lessons leads to the best results.