Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

Walden Pond Press publishes the PIANO BY NUMBER series

Good Age to Start Piano Lessons

 

 

HOME

PRODUCTS

ALL PRODUCTS

PIANO IS EASY

I CAN READ MUSIC

BIG BOOK OF SONGS

CHRISTMAS CAROLS  

TEACH YOURSELF PIANO

FAVORITE HYMNS

EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

GAMES FOR THE PIANO

CHORD DICTIONARY

 

SAMPLE PAGES

PIANO IS EASY

I CAN READ MUSIC

BIG BOOK OF SONGS

CHRISTMAS CAROLS

FAVORITE HYMNS

EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

CHORD DICTIONARY

 

CONTENT / READING

ARCHIVES / ALL READING

ARTICLES

FREE EBOOK

ADVICE COLUMN

AGE TO START

FINGERING

PRACTICING

CHILD'S POINT OF VIEW

LEARN TO READ MUSIC

 

SONG LISTS 

PIANO IS EASY

BIG BOOK OF SONGS

CHRISTMAS CAROLS

TEACH YOURSELF PIANO

EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

FAVORITE HYMNS

 

FEATURES

SONG LIST

PUBLISHER

AUTHORS

SATISFIED CUSTOMERS  

SPECIAL EDUCATION

HOME SCHOOLING  

 

UTILITIES

PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS

PRICE LIST

FAQ

ABOUT US

CONTACT

PRESS ROOM

PRIVACY POLICY

RETURN POLICY

EMAIL

SITE MAP

PURCHASE KEYBOARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is our original site

Please click here to visit our main site

 

Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

Books for Younger Kids      Books for Older Kids      Books for Adults

 

WHAT IS A GOOD AGE TO START PIANO LESSONS FOR MY CHILD?

I started with numbers and now I can read music.It depends entirely on whether you intend to use the conventional methods that employ only sheet music. If you intend to use the conventional methods, then don't even think of starting before the age of six. 

The reason for this is that preschoolers are just too young for the standard sheet music methods that exist. Many have difficulty understanding the tasks asked of them in a conventional piano lesson outside the home, and have great difficulty with the abstract concepts and symbols necessary to read sheet music. 

If you intend to use a friendly method such as piano by number, there is no age limit: any child that can identify the numbers 1-12 is a perfect candidate to begin enjoying and learning music at the piano. 

In terms of maturity, I would suggest the age of four or five as a good age to start with piano by number, and soon after perhaps begin to slowly introduce the concepts of sheet music as presented in our book, I CAN READ MUSIC

If you encounter any difficulties with sheet music, back off and continue with piano by number. 

A child should easily grasp the concepts presented in I CAN READ MUSIC, and if they don't they are too young for sheet music and should be allowed to continue enjoying piano by number until they are old enough to make the transition with ease. 

Better to wait than to frustrate.

PRESCHOOL

Preschool piano is easy with piano by number.I recommend starting children of preschool age playing piano by number. Preschoolers are just getting used to numbers and letters. Many teachers have found that having children identify numbers via the piano keyboard is a fun activity that builds confidence with numbers.

The most important aspect of using piano by number for preschoolers is to first recognize the capabilities of the child: can the child identify numbers if the graphic representation of those numbers (on a page) is presented to them?

It is one thing for a child to recite vocally numbers as high as they can, but quite another to recognize the symbols for each number. Many preschool children can play any numbered piano key you say to them, but have difficulty playing numbers (or any symbols, for that matter)  that they find on the page.

Piano by number slowly builds the abstract skills necessary to decipher musical symbols later, and promotes children's sense of security in successfully deciphering them.

For children who cannot yet identify the symbols for numbers, the piano keyboard is an ideal place to build confidence with those symbols, with the added attraction that music itself produces a "good-mood" effect that is conducive to learning more complex skills.

Seeing the first twelve numbers, 1-12, spread out on a piano helps children to imagine numbers as a sequential ordering device.

Probably the biggest secret of teaching music to children this age is to allow kids to be kids while they learn. If you do this, and it requires unbelievable patience and creativity, they will reward you with constant effort, and humor!

The younger the child, the less I expect. If they only learn that the piano is a fun place to be, you've had a major victory as a teacher and a parent.

KINDERGARTEN

Kindergarten is a good time to start piano.I recommend starting kindergarten kids with piano by number, and then making limited attempts at sheet music depending on the child's sense of security with the piano. Usually, this is no problem. Kindergarten kids are very ready for games of any kind, and begin to have the skills necessary to put several hand movements together into a group of movements. 

Children of this age still are most comfortable with numbers, but will tolerate more games preparing the way for reading sheet music. But you must make games out of everything. And back off from teaching sheet music as soon as you see their eyes start to show exhaustion, perhaps 5 minutes at most. Sheet music is fascinating but very tiring for kids this age. Better to expose them 5 minutes at a time than risk exhausting them and making them feel like failures. 

With this age you may be able to teach them chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) but usually I allow them to play 2 note chords (two piano keys with the left hand) until it becomes obvious that 2 note chords are too easy.

I don't insist that children play with both hands at this point, that is, chords with left hand and melody (numbers) with the right hand. It is enough that they can make their way through a few moments of a song that I show them, always carefully chosen to allow them to master a simple-enough task.

For example, a child this age should begin to easily have knowledge of the first three chords (three piano keys for the left hand) known as C, F and G. Any child can do this with enough focused, fun repetition.

If a child does begin to read sheet music, be careful to gain complete mastery of the notes of the right hand, say the first 5 keys above Middle C, before attempting to introduce the left hand.

It is my feeling that merely introducing the idea of "lines and spaces"  (sheet music) is more than a victory at this stage.

The reason for this is that sheet music is much more of an abstraction than numbers for children of this age. Children gravitate to what is most comfortable for them, and you can bet at this age that it will be "piano by numbers," because it is less abstract than sheet music.

Children who are allowed the room to succeed at "piano by number" no matter how glacial their pace, are perfect candidates for reading sheet music, because they are properly prepared.

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: FIRST GRADE

Jenny plays piano.At this age, you can start with piano by number to build confidence, and readily move on to sheet music a little bit at a time within a few months. 

First graders seem magically wired to try the piano! All the physical perceptions necessary are in place; numbers are no problem, playing with two hands is no problem.

But if a child has difficulty with playing two hands simultaneously, do not insist, as most kids this age have great difficulty with two handed maneuvers. It is enough to expose them to the idea that two hands are involved, eventually simultaneously.

With piano by numbers and chords (two or three piano keys played with the left hand) under their belt, first graders are ready to conquer the right hand of sheet music, and engage in a study of chords.

At this age kids are emotionally ready to play the game called "happy and sad" wherein the teacher plays chords and has the child try to guess their (the chords) emotional or dramatic quality, happy or sad.

Kids love this silly game, almost like a game show, and never tire of trying to listen and assess the emotional quality of the chord. Earlier than this age, many children seem to have difficulty grasping the idea of a sound (the piano chord) having a certain emotional quality (happy or sad.)

At this point it also becomes possible to introduce "finger games," that is, games that teach a child to move beyond using the index finger. I always allow kids to start with the index finger, if that's what's comfortable.

It may take a long time to get a child to use all the ten fingers properly, but it is worth waiting for, especially if in the meantime you are teaching them other valuable things.

Believe it or not, kids will let you know when they are ready to use all five fingers.

I'll tell you the formula for success. It has three stages:

1. Teach the notes, the numbers, get the kids to decipher the commands and play the correct keys as best they can, with whatever finger comes to their mind

2. Introduce the idea of five fingers, slowly, as a game, as a joke. I always say, when they play with only their index finger, "Oh, you were born with only one finger on each hand! Wait! I see other fingers under there, all curled up!" Try that 50 times and they will start using more fingers all by themselves, I guarantee it.

3. Rhythm is best left to last. The only thing I do at this point is to play rhythm games. I never, ever insist on rhythm in a piece of printed music, numbers or sheet. 

Don't even think of rhythm in the usual sense for first graders. Better to try simple rhythm games like "fours" that give children the idea of regularity, of pattern, of repetition.

To start the process of learning fingering, I begin with a game called "threesies," in which they play, starting from Middle C; 123, 234, 345 456, etc using the right hand thumb, index and third finger in ascending order. Kids love the complexity of this, but if it is too difficult after several tries, then try something else for a while. 

Two more "rules:" 

1. Keep coming back to ideas, again and again.

2. Never acknowledge a child's failure to grasp these ideas, just show comic surprise and move on.

Children at the piano have an uncanny knack of showing you an honest effort if the task is not incomprehensibly difficult. Break down complex motions into easily grasped bits.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

See also PIANO LESSONS: A CHILD'S POINT OF VIEW

See also TEACHING PRESCHOOL CHILDREN PIANO

See also PRESCHOOL PIANO ACTIVITIES

See also WHY DELAY READING MUSIC

See also BUILDING A CHILD'S CONFIDENCE WITH NUMBERS

See also IS PRESCHOOL A GOOD AGE TO START PIANO?

 Click here to return the the main articles page.

This is our original site

Please click here to visit our main site

 

PIANO FUNHOUSE: Free Online Piano Games for Kids

 

TOPICS OF INTEREST TO PARENTS:

"What is a good age to start piano lessons?"

"What are the benefits of playing piano for my child?"

"How can I help my child read sheet music at the piano?"

Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

Visit the WALDEN POND PRESS ARCHIVES and read articles about children and piano

LET US HELP YOU FIND AN INEXPENSIVE ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD TO GET YOUR CHILD STARTED!

 

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PIANO IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers. 

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a copy of I CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is the best way to start children reading music. Click here for sample pages.

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands right away. That's a $16.95 value free!

2 BOOKS,  PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD 

Click here for a list of songs.    Click here for sample pages.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95   

 PIANO IS EASY book package includes a 107 page song book with 44 songs and removable stickers, plus a Play Along Audio CD, free DVD and copy of the book  I CAN READ MUSIC.

You can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95

Click here to visit the PIANO IS EASY home page!

Order Form | See Our Books | Videos & DVD's | Home | Contact Us | FAQ