Helping Children Read Music

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If helping your child read music and enjoy the piano is the goal, think carefully about the piano book you start with, and choosing the right piano teacher.

Do you remember your childhood piano lessons, with all those uninteresting exercises?

Exercises comprise the entire curriculum of famous book methods, such as Bastien, John Thompson, Alfred, and all the others.

Go look in your piano bench where you keep all the piano books from your childhood.

We use all these books, but only after we have sparked a child’s enthusiasm by getting them to play songs that are familiar to them, right away, from the first second of their first lesson.

The only real use I have for these old texts is to teach kids how to sight read. The music is so boring that it is laughable to both of us. But we keep reading, a little bit at a time.

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We use the Piano By Number format before we ever attempt to introduce children to the daunting complexities of reading sheet music. Piano lessons have to get off to a fun, quick start, or half the battle is already lost.

The truth is that Piano By Number seeks only one thing: to get your children started playing piano, to get started being happy playing music, to get started being happy understanding music, rather than being mystified and frustrated by sheet music in their first piano lessons


The vast majority of our supporters are parents who have actually tried our method.

They are wildly enthusiastic, because Piano By Number yields immediate results. Their lucky children love the piano, want to play music, and once they have started Piano By Number, are ready to brave the difficulties of learning how to read sheet music. Starting Piano By Number assures a higher success rate with piano lessons later.

And these children succeed, unlike the unlucky children who have to start out with a method that uses only sheet music in their piano lessons

We don’t want to eliminate sheet music. We just want children to get started playing piano with enthusiasm, and then begin the long process of becoming musically literate, using sheet music.

Piano By Number


There has to be a better way to introduce children to the piano than the conventional methods used in piano lessons.

By the industry’s own statistics, conventional piano teaching has a failure rate of almost 90%!

Do you know any method for anything that has a 90% failure rate and still calls itself a success?

And there is a better way to start children at the piano: get your child started right away with a simple method that yields immediate results, and builds immediate enthusiasm.

Piano By Number is temporary method, a starting platform that establishes a positive relationship between the child and the grandest of all instruments.


Conventional piano methods make most children resentful, frustrated and turned off to the instrument, for one simple reason: conventional methods do not let children make music right away. Instead, piano lessons done in the conventional manner take on the character of a dull lecture, poisoning the atmosphere for learning.

Conventional methods frustrate children, and make them feel like failures because the methods utilize only sheet music. That’s all the piano lessons are: reading music.

Put most simply, conventional piano methods ignore the psychology of children.,


Conventional piano methods are like teaching first graders algebra!

Of course children hate it! It is incomprehensible!

Children need to start with 2 plus 2 equals 4, and then move slowly towards the complexities of sheet music and algebra.

Piano By Number is exactly like 2 plus 2 equals 4: it is baby simple, and children understand it from the first second they see it. Later, they move on to more complex languages.


Piano By Number is much like phonics for reading.

Let’s look at the history of phonics.

Before there was phonics for reading, which came into popularity in the 50’s and 60’s, there was a reading method called SCOTT FORESMAN, a system in which children were required to memorize the shape of letters, rather than the sound.

SCOTT FORESMAN was most famous for the fact that a majority of children were failing to learn to read using this absurd system, which all the schools in America used.

Then a few pioneers, parents and educators, including my parents, developed phonics, a logical system in which children were taught that each letter had a sound, and suddenly children understood how to read, because the system was logical, simple and allowed them to get started without failure.

Piano By Number is exactly the same as phonics.

How can you argue with a method that children universally embrace with unlimited enthusiasm? How can you argue with a method that breeds an immediate passion for a musical instrument?

The conventional method of reading English, SCOTT FORESMAN, demanded that children decipher visual symbols (letters) much like conventional piano methods that demand that children immediately start deciphering the symbols (notes) of sheet music.

Phonics is a way of demystifying those symbols (letters) establishing the logic behind the symbols, in exactly the same way that piano by number demystifies the piano, and allows the child to see the logic of the piano by using numbers at first, instead of starting out with the incomprehensible symbolism of sheet music.

It’s very easy to get a child to understand the symbols of sheet music when they have already established a positive relationship with the instrument, immediately upon first sitting at it.


How does Piano By Number yield such amazing results? How does it make children enthusiastic about piano lessons when conventional methods make them frustrated?

The answer is that children understand numbers before they ever sit in front of a piano.

Numbers are a language that any child already understands. A kindergarten child understands counting, and already embraces it as a learning process that brings them success and praise from adults.

All that Piano By Number does is to temporarily substitute numbers for the difficult symbols of sheet music, at first, so that the child is allowed to play numerous familiar songs right away, demystifying the piano and making it a friend instead of an enemy.

Later, when the child feels comfortable with the geography of the piano, we reintroduce the symbols of sheet music, showing the child that there are different ways of telling them to play each piano key.

Children taught Piano By Number already know how to play each key as a number, so they readily understand the “new” language of sheet music when they are comfortable with the instrument.


The problem with sheet music methods is that they do not take into account the psychology of children: if you make a child feel like a failure at something, they are not going to be willing to keep trying to learn it. Piano lessons are no different.

Piano By Number allows children to succeed right away, to build enthusiasm and confidence, before they are beset with the difficulties of sheet music.

It makes children feel like winners, right away, most importantly, because it allows them to make music right away.

A child who can play even a simple familiar song with one finger at the piano is a far better candidate for subsequent piano study than one who has been made to feel a failure by a teacher unwilling to bend even a little to the psychology of children.

Children want to make music, and we should let them, before we demand that they study sheet music.

Children say “goo goo,” before “mama,” crawl before they walk, talk before they read.

Let them play music before they read music. Let them add 2 plus 2 before they attempt algebra.


It is as valuable an educational tool as phonics is for reading, and someday, all children will start out studying piano by number, and then move on to the conventional study of sheet music in their piano lessons.

Conventional piano teachers deny children this tool, entirely out of ignorance, and the result is a 90% failure rate for conventional piano methods.

If the method fails, the method is wrong.

Piano By Number has, in my daily experience, and the daily experience of the countless parents and teachers who have tried it, a higher than 90% success rate.


You have nothing to lose if you try piano by number, except perhaps the awful experience of your child saying to you, “I hate piano lessons. I want to quit.”

Give your children the gift of proper preparation for conventional piano lessons. Give them Piano By Number.

Let your children establish a positive relationship to this grandest of musical instruments at home, with you, before you go out and try piano lessons using the conventional methods.

If you do, you have a far greater chance of success at starting conventional piano lessons. In fact, you have a 90% chance of success with those conventional methods.

The benefits to you and your children are enormous, and life-long.

Copyright 2012 Walden Pond Press


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