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The Future Effect of Kids Piano Games

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THE FUTURE EFFECT OF KIDS PIANO GAMES

I'd like to demonstrate what effect kids piano games, properly applied, have down the road. The payoff is delayed but satisfying for all.  

I had a lesson with a wonderful little girl. She is the poster child for the victory of patience over indifference. She is about 9.

Indifferent to the piano at first, over three years she has learned at her own pace and now has her own level of interest.

We played every kid's piano game there is. Sometimes, that was all we did. I made up piano games on the spot to interest her, and succeeded every time in leaving her a little more interested. Her Mom, who was forced to play, agreed with me that she didn't care how long it took; she wanted her daughter to be able to enjoy playing the piano.

Now, three years later, this child sight reads simple music easily, in both hands, knows every chord, plays without stickers, and much more. She will ask for pop songs, and plays Beethoven and Bach, too. She is a very good fingerer: she always corrects herself quietly!

She has her own taste and plays only music she likes. I refuse to teach her a song unless she likes it, although I am persistent if I think learning a certain song would be good for her experience. Persistent but gentle.

One song (Bach Prelude #1 in C) took us a year (on and off) to learn the first four bars. But who cares? Now she knows the whole thing!

Lately she has become a composer. It really interests her.

Currently she is writing a piece, logical and musical, full of childlike charm. It has a scale pattern that keeps subtly shifting, slowly including black notes.

It is quite exotic. Sort of Rimsky meets Disney.

After we worked on her song, she was tired, so I pulled out a book from the Bastien series for her to sight-read a page.

After we read a passage, here was our conversation:

"My friends play from books just like this."

Do they like playing?

"Not really. They only play songs from the book. No songs we make up, or anything."

No piano games?

"No, just songs from the book. None of our crazy games. When you're done with one song, they let you play the next page."

But the songs in the book are okay, aren't they?

"Well, they're not real songs like we play. Like we play songs that are real, that everyone knows, like Harry Potter and Beethoven. Their songs in that book are kinda boring."

What shall we do now?

"I want to work on my song again for a while."

All this enthusiasm on her part comes from the silly little kid's piano games we played for years to relieve the frustration of reading music. 

This is the supreme reward for a teacher, to watch a child take an interest on their own part.

All my smiles, all my patience, all my "No, that's okay, sweetie, you're tired, you go play" paid off.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

See also DISGUISING REPETITION IN KID'S PIANO LESSONS

See also WHAT KIDS LIKE ABOUT PIANO LESSONS

See also WHY CHILDREN FAIL AT PIANO LESSONS

See also YOU CAN ONLY ENJOY PIANO MY WAY

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