Piano by number for children's piano lessons

 

 

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Starting To Play Piano By Number

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

Books for Younger Kids      Books for Older Kids      Books for Adults

 

START PLAYING PIANO BY NUMBER

The concept of piano by number is really just the result of numbering the fingers themselves, first done in the 19th Century.

Most piano teachers will say that piano cannot be simplified, and that conventional music notation is the only way to properly start a child at the piano.

Regardless of the truth of that statement, the statistics support the teacher's grim view, since 9 out of 10 kids who start piano today will quit within a year.

Do kids quit piano because it is inherently difficult, or because the teachers are following an outmoded methodology?

Examine the statistics from piano by number, and you will see the opposite.

9 out of 10 kids who start piano using numbers are still playing happily a year later, most having discarded piano by number for the more sophisticated language of musical notation.

So what is it about musical notation that kids and almost all adults find so confusing, especially in the beginning?

The problem is dimensional: conventional sheet music requires the child to immediately think in several, abstract dimensions such as left-right, up-down, time-space, plus a myriad of other conceptual problems, like where do your fingers go, what finger do I use, what shape should my hand be in? The list is endless, at least to a six year-old.

Teachers make almost no allowance for a child's confusion and push these concepts at them, repeating the ideas again and again until the kids are dazed and confused. Then, the lesson is over and we do it all again next week.

And you wonder why the kids quit.

Piano by number is extremely one-dimensional and easy for even disabled children to pick up immediately.

Numbers are the first system that kids use to order their universe. I get three cookies. I want two pieces of chicken.

Numbers are also the basis of all musical constructions. The relationship between one note and another is expressed as a number: thus the key numbered "1" is a "fifth" away from the key numbered "5."

All the concepts in piano by number will be used again when learning how to read music. It is not a system that is discarded but rather modified so that the child already has an understanding of the inner workings of music before they ever attempt to read music which is expressed in conventional musical notation. 

Without this easy start that piano by number affords, children are prone to frustration and a sense of worthlessness because they simply cannot get the hang of sheet music quickly enough to please an often impatient teacher.

How does piano by number work? Just like sheet music, piano by number asks the child to decipher a line of information, moving from left to right, and play it on the piano keyboard.

All musical symbols such as clefs, rhythm, and expression marks are eliminated so that the child can concentrate on the real job: producing the tones of the song on the piano, according to what they see on the page.

If you're setting up the piano for your child to try it, play a few songs yourself so they get the idea. If they see you doing it, they will want to try it themselves.

Don't worry about which hand or finger you use. Just start playing. There are no bad habits taught by this method. I know from experience that every child allowed this finger freedom in the beginning will be able to master real fingering when the time comes.

In fact, children taught initially by number will learn fingering faster because they are at ease about so many of the other elements they have already tried and conquered.

You will start to see the following in your home: your child will plunk out a little tune when they pass the piano. They're not practicing; they're just noodling around, playing as they would with any toy.

Never ask them to practice at first. Sit down by the piano with a book and ask them to play you something. No matter how they play it, praise them sincerely. Then ask for another song.

Here's a trick that always works: ask them to teach you what they know at the piano. Nothing will make them feel more important than to teach YOU something.

Children who play the piano are doing something very difficult and are worthy of praise just for trying.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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TOPICS OF INTEREST TO PARENTS:

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Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

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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

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