"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signs of Readiness for Piano

Well, part two of my "piano for young'uns" post (I just made that title up, but it's this one.) is a list of a few signs of readiness for embarking on the study of piano.

So, if you are thinking whether or not your dear little darling should start tickling the ivories yet, here are a few things to think about.

1. Start when your child has the time to devote to learning something new.
  • A lot of parents have their child start too many things at the same time. For example, "OK, Jimmy, this fall, you'll start soccer, piano, karate and art class." 
  • It's fine to do a few different things as the child is able, but if you do start something important like piano, make sure it has the time needed for building a good foundation before other things get added on. 

2. Start when your child shows some musical understanding. 
  • This could be any age from 4-8, but look for their ability to sing a melody and show some rhythmic capacity. These little years are chock full of musical aptitude, so when it starts to naturally come out of your child, consider putting some of his/her enthusiasm into learning piano. 

3. Start when the child has an idea of their ABC's
  • The child does not have to know all of their alphabet, but a basic knowledge of letters is helpful for memorizing the alphabetical note names on the piano. 

4. Start when they can focus on a task and complete it on their own.
  • The younger the child, the more parental involvement is needed to aid in learning. 
  • It is a lot of fun to start a young child on piano. Just know that you will need to be more involved the younger they are with assisting them at the piano bench in how to play and how to practice. Be prepared to help them along until their skill level reaches the point where they can complete assignments on their own. 
  • Parental involvement continues throughout a child's learning. Just like you would encourage your child to practice their shooting skills for soccer, they'll need your help to practice efficiently. It's a great opportunity to be involved in their learning. 
Two more thoughts - 

When you have your child start lessons, please decide that you will be involved too. No one likes to be ordered into a practice room. Be interested, be involved, have them perform for the family. Be a great encourager and help shape their attitude as they go. 

If at all possible, do not start lessons with just an electric keyboard at home.
   A child is not motivated to practice on a keyboard. There might be a little motivation at first, but it       
will soon fade because that little keyboard is just not that inspiring. Thanks to craigslist, there are  
any number of used pianos you can come by (most of them for free if you can come pick it up). Get 
a piano-sized keyboard if you must. But, better yet - get the real thing.   

Enjoy the journey of seeing your child's imaginative and creative abilities come out as they grow in their natural musical ability and affection. 

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