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Why Piano Is Better Than A Video Game

Video Game vs. Piano

Why is piano better than a video game? Because in a video game, every move is predetermined by a digital designer, whereas in piano there is no "predeterminaton," no game structure leading you to the "right" solution, only an endless set of variables that you must grasp with your brain.

No Cheats

In a video game, you advance to the next level. There are various devices and procedures that will get you a win, and they are called "cheats."

In piano, there are no cheats, just your brain desperately trying to figure out both the physical and mental obstacles. 

The physical demands of a video game involves control of your thumbs. A piano uses all ten fingers, simultaneously, and can be ridiculously complex, especially to a six-year old.

 No "Permanent" Win

In a video game, you can get to the top level, and then you have mastered the game. With piano, you must perform the moves correctly, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Which is more challenging? Why do you think kids would prefer an hour of video games over an hour of piano playing?

The Solution

If you want to make piano more attractive to a child, you need to simplify the material to suit the particular child. The danger is that piano can be made so complex that it is easy for a kid to lose interest, quickly.

But suppose you made the piano, in the beginning, as easy as a video game? Since video games require really only the two thumbs, allow the child to plunk out the piano notes with whatever finger they choose.

Deferring fingering is simplification. You cannot overload the child and expect enthusiasm.

Simplify Everything, Then Complicate It

The old musician's joke is, "They can't play COME TO JESUS in whole notes." This means that even at the simplest level ("whole notes") the piano can be almost impossible to a first grade kid.

Anything at the piano can be simplified. Look at the child's face. If they look perplexed, it is too complicated.

So, here is the procedure: find something so simple that they can do it almost instantly, with just the right hand. Then have them repeat it as much as possible.

Just when they begin to be bored with it, add something. Require a fingering, or add a single left hand chord at the beginning.

Brain Hemispheres

Keep adding things until the burden is obviously too much: you have just found that child's state of brain hemisphere coordination.

It is pointless to ask a kid's brain to do something it cannot physically manage yet.

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