If your child wants to learn to play the piano, this is very good news indeed! You may have a little Lang Lang or Elton John in the making.
You must take advantage of this opportunity, as it’s a relatively rare occurrence to hear this from a child. As you might imagine, the opposite usually occurs: it’s the parents who want their children to learn to play the piano.
So what are the steps to take if your child expresses the desire to learn to play piano? Here is some handy advice to help you find a solution!
It’s not everyday that a child asks his parents to learn the piano. Most of the time, children are pushed by their parents into piano, violin, or guitar lessons, or any other music instrument for that matter.
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More often than not, parents want to know how to get their children interested in the piano; how to motivate or tempt them to play; and why even teach piano to children?
But this article discusses what to do if your child is interested in learning to play piano. And it’s an important question, seeing as though many children who express this desire often end up saying the opposite thing and quitting, after several months or years of piano training.
In most cases, children realize that practicing the piano is much less fun than they originally thought, and that it demands a lot of work and patience. In order to prevent your own child changing from his or her mind – and this can happen sooner than you think – you’ll need to figure out how to shape piano instruction around the wants and needs of your child. And you’ll be faced with the task of being an enthusiastic supporter of your child throughout training.
Piano instruction for children
If your child expresses an interest in learning to play piano, his or her chances for success are normally better than those who are pushed into it. But age will determine the type and method of piano instruction best suited to them.
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It’s thought to be possible to take those first piano lessons at 3 or 3 and a half years of age. Before this it’s definitely too soon: a child’s intellectual faculties are not yet sufficiently developed. And if your child begins the piano at 3, the piano courses they’ll be taking are essentially Music Awakening classes (or introduction to music).
These classes mainly aim to develop children’s musical ear, allowing them to explore music in a rhythmic, melodic and physical way. You must wait until they reach the age of 4 or 5 to start playing the piano as we know it. At this age they’ll be able to begin to learn solfège and understand piano notes and sheet music.
Also, it’s around the ages of 4 or 5 that certain kids express an interest in learning the piano. At this point, the music teacher should be able to adapt a beginner piano method to your child’s needs and age, to teach the basics of piano playing and solfège.
Once they know solfège they’ll be able to read sheet music. For young children, it means learning to read early, as well as understanding rhythm, time and the intensity of notes (piano, forte, etc.). What’s more, throughout training the child will learn to read notes while correctly positioning his or her hands on the keyboard. (left hand on black keys, middle C, etc.)
So to sum up:
- If your child is between 3 and 4 and wants to learn music,Music Awakening classes are preferable to piano lessons.
- If your child is aged 4 and up, you can enroll him or her in traditional piano classes, being sure to select a flexible teacher who is used to teaching children.
But be careful, in this age range children’s maturity levels vary widely. One frequent mistake made by parents is wanting to rush things.
If your child isn’t ready to play the piano (because he or she is too little for instance), he or she will face difficulties during training and may end up getting discouraged and quitting the piano.
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Fun: the main word in piano training
Young children who are interested in learning to play piano are looking for something amusing to do. For them, piano playing is a fun activity, and they’re right!
“My child wants to learn the piano, what do I do?”: well the first thing is to understand that your child considers the piano like a game or toy. You must find a type of piano training method that is adapted to your child’s personality, and that will be a fun experience.
If you assign your child an authoritative teacher who isn’t used to having children as piano students, there’s a strong chance your kid will reverse his or her initial interest and end up wanting to quit playing. Piano classes must be the opposite of an annoying work task: learning piano is very good for kids’ scholastic development, so it might as well be fun for them!
If he or she is old enough, why not get your child past the unsavory aspects of learning the piano, such as memorizing scales and keys, having perfect piano posture, and reading sheet music by giving him or her the option to play with friends. Or show them a video of a jazz pianist doing a bit of improvisation to temp them to play piano! As you know, music can be played by several people together. It’s not just a solitary activity, contrary to the popular conception. Learning to play the piano will help your child integrate in music groups or orchestras later on.
Despite all this, one must realize that learning anything will take effort and patience. Even if for kids, piano instruction must be based on pleasure, this doesn’t mean that they won’t demand work. Even Mozart and Beethoven got to where they were by practicing!
To help your child accept this challenge, it’s important that you motivate, encourage and congratulate him or her with each new progress. Also, to understand the work and effort required by piano training, your child must already possess a certain amount of maturity.
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Beginner music activities
You yourself can instill a sense of musical awareness in your children by playing music to them at home when they are very young: there are so many albums and musicals available on DVDs or online. Or take them to a children’s music concerts!
Help your child discover different music styles: classical music, jazz, world music, and children’s music, etc. You can also teach your child about the different musical instruments by reading a book on the subject, or by taking him to visit an instrument shop. Who doesn’t love an outing with Mom or Dad?!
Another idea: buy your child a small instrument, like a harmonica or a percussion instrument, for example. This will allow you to gently initiate your child into music playing and start ear training.
There are also a lot of board games that teach music awakening, like musical Bingo. This is a popular one among many children, asking them to guess which instruments and tunes they are hearing in sound clips.
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You can also enroll your child in music awakening classes. Many community associations such as the YMCA offer this type of program. Once a week, your child will join other kids in an introduction to music, rhythm, melodies, instruments, and even solfège. Focus is placed on their development of sound and music faculties. These fun ateliers are also be prime spaces for learning to socialize.
Enroll your child in private piano lessons
Private piano lessons at your home or at the instructor’s home or studio are definitely a more deluxe option. If your child wishes to learn the piano, as long as he or she is at least 4 years old, the most efficient solution would be to find a private piano teacher.
But be careful: don’t just choose any teacher. Make sure you aim for a piano instructor with a warm manner, who is used to working with kids, and able to mix work with fun. Why not begin your search at Superprof? We have so many music instructors who excel at adapting learning methods to different ages. Not everyone is capable of teaching young kids.
It’s important that your child learns through a personalized piano method that’s fun, imaginative, and smart, etc. Make sure you discuss this with the teacher before starting lessons. You can also choose one with your child, by visiting a sheet music shop.
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Enroll your child in a music school
Conservatory or music school teachers are usually very competent and well educated. You’ll be able to find many local institutions, especially in larger cities, that focus on music instruction for children of all ages. Another advantage is that they’ll often teach your child more than one instrument and allow them to play in a group (once a certain level is reached). But they can be expensive and you sometimes have to reserve a place for your child well in advance.
A music teacher should be teaching all aspects of piano playing, including:
- Posture work
- Solfège training
- Practicing songs
- Piano scales, chord progressions, octaves and arpeggios
- Reading music and music theory
The internet also offers excellent training methods for online piano – this will allow your child to learn to play piano without having to go anywhere! Online piano classes and video lessons are a gold mine of efficient, fun, and motivating learning methods. Why not start right here at Superprof? Your child will be an advanced musician sooner than you think!
In conclusion, several solutions are available to your child, according to his or her age: Music Awakening for very little ones, private classes or music school for the older ones. The most important thing, however, is that the experience of piano playing is a very enjoyable one for your child!
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