There is no one-size-fits-all method in children’s piano. Teachers and publishers will tell you there is, but there is not. No one method, including ours, is guaranteed to get your child interested in the piano.
Kids vary in personality, and age has almost complete control of a kid’s brain development. These two variables alone make a “uni-method” a laughable untruth.
Yet the conventional methods are marketed as if you are sending your child to Juilliard, and need to make sure they learn their scales the right way, right now.
Faber, Bastien, Alfred and many more methods are offered as the proper way to start. I’ll tell you the truth about these book methods: kids hate them.
There are traditions two hundred years old to which your child will be subjected, some of them quite logical, and all will be held up to you, the parent, as the only way for your child to play properly.
That’s not going to happen.
What’s going to happen, in a good outcome scenario, is that your child will be lucky enough to find a good, patient teacher, and will thus take an interest in the piano, fueled by themselves, and not fueled by your entreaties to practice, or the iron hand of an unforgiving piano teacher.
Either teach the child to take an interest in the piano, or begin the force-feeding process of reading music. Guess which works better.
The one factor that I see in kids that holds them back is fear. Fear of failing at some task, fear of not pleasing the teacher.
You should eliminate that fear and replace it with a forgiving sense of humor. Mistakes are inevitable and as numerous as weeds. Laugh and forgive, take notice and move on. Kids are smart. They notice what you say is a mistake, they just fear you getting mad.
What I’m after is a kid who is willing to try anything at the piano, then fail at it, and scrape themselves up again and try one more time. That’s what it takes to learn the piano, not mindless rote discipline. You need a scientist, not a soldier.
So you need to play to their strengths. If they are good at chords, give them pop songs that extend their knowledge of chords. If they like reading music, go from page to page and they will accept it if they know you will stop any time they ask, and just play music. If they want to play with one hand, indulge them and forget about chords for now.
Your job is to remove obstacles to their enthusiasm, not set up more.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press