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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

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PIANO FOR KIDS

Piano for kids needs to be made as simple as possible.

Throw out your ideas of music theory and pedagogy, and start thinking like a television game show host, because that's what you will have to be in part, to properly teach and inspire a six year old at the piano.

Look at the child you are about to teach and ask, "What do they hear? How much TV do they watch? What was the last film they saw?"

Ask also, "What is their attention span?" A dim-witted piano teacher can make piano for kids into drudgery very easily.

Think of enjoyable games they might play. Play similar games at the piano.

Use the piano to convince kids that it is just another toy. When they see the piano as a non-intimidating toy, they will adopt it and start playing with it like any other toy.

If they are scared of you and the piano, you have failed. If they say, "It is too hard," listen to them. Look at their face and see if it is too difficult. If it is, or might be, back off and find another way to get them to understand, or play a game.

Skills at the piano tend to be in layers, combining many little skills into one complex motion. Even the simplest act is full of little details.

Fatigue, seriousness and guilt are interest killers. Avoid them like the plague.

If a kid sees a skill as too difficult, break that skill down into smaller, more manageable bits.

Anyone who has spent time in a class situation with a child knows that one of their greatest fears is to be made to look foolish and not be able to do a given task. Piano for kids is no different. Piano for kids is, in fact, several hundred times more difficult than anything in school.

Whether or not the child is passing centuries-old pedagogical criteria is irrelevant. Your "method" is irrelevant. All that matters is that the child willingly returns to learn more.

Unless you achieve that willingness, you have done less than nothing.

Remember that what you are teaching is piano for kids, not piano for adults dumbed-down a little for the kiddies. The latter will not work. You must totally redesign your approach to fit your audience.

A toddler takes 2000 repetitions to learn a motion, like picking up a cup. Think of how much more difficult even the simplest move of the fingers at the piano is. That will tell you how patient you must be to teach piano for kids.

Show everything and don't tell and talk so much. A child needs an absolute physical example, rather than an lengthy explanation, as their ability to think in the abstract varies wildly from child to child and minute to minute. Play more than you talk. Show more than you tell. Move the show along so there is no possibility of boredom.

If it's too hard, it will never work. You can't force a child to be more mature; you have to lay out the pieces so that even a four year old can assemble it.

Think of a Lego. There are Lego sets that are difficult for even adults to put together, and piano for kids can be one thousand times more daunting.

A rule of thumb might be, if they are not having fun with it, it is too hard. Reduce the piano to an easy Lego set. You can add more later.

You must know when and how much to challenge them.

Challenging a child at the piano is the privilege of a nurturing teacher, and do not abuse it. Use it only when they are very ready, and mask any defeat.

Regarding defeat, pretend it does not exist. Never, ever let a child know they have committed some great error unless you make light of it and can make them laugh.

Children watch your face when they make a mistake.

If they see you smile, the show goes on. If they see you seriously displeased, they will fold and feel inadequate.

Your impatience and judgment gain you, and more especially the child, nothing.

Being serious leads to guilt. Once you are in the guilt zone, most willing effort is impossible.

Don't forget whom you are teaching. They have no idea Carnegie Hall even exists.

Back off, lighten up, and lay the groundwork for that next lesson. If you are nice enough, there will be one.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2010 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Click here to view PIANO IS EASYClick here to view I CAN READ MUSICClick here to view THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER

Click here to view THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KITClick here to view TEACH YOURSELF PIANOClick here to view EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

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Picture of Brahms playing piano.THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: ALL 6 BASIC  BOOKS  

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THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: 

1. 107 page illustrated THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT Book with 44 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers   

2. 120 page illustrated PIANO IS EASY Book with 50 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers 

3. 50 page I CAN READ MUSIC Book 

4. 132 page TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP Book, 56 minute DVD Video and removable stickers 

5. 141 page THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER Book with 130 songs, and removable stickers 

6. 88 page EASY CLASSICAL PIANO BY NUMBER Book with 10 songs, and removable stickers, and 29 minute Play Along Audio CD 

6 BOOKS, DVD AND 3 PLAY ALONG AUDIO CDS 

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