By number, by tab, by color, by animal, by note, by ear, by eye, choose your poison.
The reason all these methods exist is that reading music is a difficult but perfect system, so perfect in fact that it is almost impossibly complex, even in the easiest forms, and thus very hard to learn.
It is like chess: yes, chess is like checkers, but infinitely more complex.
The pedant’s solution to this problem is to only allow beginners to play the most boring of pieces, as long as those pieces are part of a logical curriculum. The question of whether this curriculum is interesting to children has been answered: they hate it.
But kids also hate the other”starting methods,” mostly because they can not take the child far enough. Try Piano By Animal and you’ll get sick of the lion sticker very soon. Colors are for babies, the list of objections are endless.
So they either make it too hard (notes) or too easy (animals) and either way you get bored and quit.
What we need is a Goldilocks system, “just right.”
PIANO BY NUMBER
Piano By Number is easy because it is one-dimensional.
Piano By Number is “just right” for most kids because numbers are second nature to them. Animals, colors, all these become irrelevant once real study begins, but numbers are relevant, even in the realm of notes.
So numbers provide an easy entry way into notes. Complex enough to be interesting, but not so foreign (notes) as to inspire fear.
Almost any piece can be rendered into numbers, and this is not true of any other “starting method.”
Thus Piano By Number can take you further into complexity before you have to resort to reading music.
HOW DOES PIANO BY NUMBER WORK?
Instead of circular notes and horizontal lines, Piano By Number uses numbers in a single row.
The piano is prepared by putting numbered stickers on the keys.
It is then easy for the child to find the key on the piano that corresponds to the number in the book. See below.
Above is a sample page from a Piano by Number book, showing the song Jingle Bells expressed in numbers, and above that a numbered keyboard.
The objective is to get the child to make recognizable music right away. There will be time enough for reading music.
Thus equipped with Piano By Number, the child should embark on an exploration of every song they have ever heard.
Many of the key elements of piano curriculum can be taught without reference to notes on a page: fingering, hand position, rhythm, chords, playing with both hands.
All of these skills can be mastered at the childs pace, and, when they are ready, they can read music and start piano lessons.
In fact, it is easier for kids to get the idea of, for example, fingering, if they are not simultaneously beset with reading notes.
One thing at a time.
Copyright 2017 Walden Pond Press