Use Recognizable Songs In Piano Lessons
Use recognizable songs in the first piano lessons for kids. There is a rude awakening when kids realize all the music in standard methods consists of fake, exercise pieces (see below). Made-up compositions fill the pages of the standard methods. Every piece shows a particular concept of piano pedagogy but has zero musical value.
The truth is that familiar songs can teach the same concepts without boring the child (see below.)
As a result, these exercise pieces do not interest the child, at least in a musical sense. Thus kids hate these songs, and frankly are more interested in the pictures.
Recognizable songs produce a positive reaction in kids.
Find Songs Kids Know
Even the simplest familiar melody delights kids. They experience a rise in self esteem from having figured out how to play something familiar, especially something they can show their friends.
Yet all standard piano books follow the same strategy: Start with right hand, learn the first five adjacent notes going up and then down. Then they slowly introduce notes which are not adjacent.
A Sport With Rules, But No Fun
It's like chess, or checkers. You learn the rules, the moves, and that's it. As a result you are never asked to make music or even know what that means. This is all very well, and is a carefully constructed curriculum, except there is one glaring problem: your child will fall asleep and quit piano before they complete one of these "methods." There is another problem, which is the lack of music making, the act of plunking out a tune without regard to page or pedant.
Kids Have To Have Heard The Songs Before
Here are better ways of presenting these same concepts, using recognizable songs:
I’m A Little Teapot to learn the first five adjacent white keys:
| 1 * 2 | 3 * 4 | 5 * * | 8 * * | 6 * * | 8 * * | 5 * * |
Mary Had a Little Lamb shows how to start on a note other than Middle C:
| 3 2 1 2 | 3 3 3 * | 2 2 2 * | 3 3 3 * |
Jingle Bells shows how to skip over notes:
| 3 3 3 * | 3 3 3 * | 3 5 1 2 | 3 * * * |
In fact, any musical concept is better taught using familiar material that has the added advantage of asking the child to make music, not just read it. Recognizable songs make kids happy!