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#1247743 - 08/12/09 06:50 AM 5yr old - step it up - or let her cruise?
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
-----> 1st POST!!!! (Be gentle cool)<---------

Our 5 yr old daughter has been doing group music lessons for ages here in Brisbane, Australia. They've been primarily toddler participation stuff with lots of singing and dancing and a little bit of gently easing them toward the piano. However before Easter we noticed that she was WAAAY quicker than the rest of the class at picking up the piano stuff and seemed to be being held back.

Her teacher suggested taking an exam - and despite others in her class taking "Australian Foundation for Music Education BRONZE" level she took "SILVER" and aced it.
We've since decided to let her have a go at private 1-on-1 lessons and she's raced ahead in ability and after just 4 weeks has blitzed the "GOLD" pieces (that were expected to take her 3-6 months to master).

This was after 3 days practicing this piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayCUd9S09-c

Teacher is blown away and using all kinds of hyperbole to describe Nicola and is now suggesting skipping AMEB "Preliminary" level and jumping straight to Grade 1 before christmas, with a view to perhaps skipping alternate grades and 'fast-tracking'.

When I was a kid I did ABRSM exmas in the UK (Gr1 when I 11ish, Gr8 by the time I was 18)- and I'm sure Grade 1 was easier than AMEB Grade 1 looks like!

Any thoughts here? Is skipping grades a good idea (Nicola certainly likes practicing and picks thing up very quickly) will it be good to keep her interested and challenged and not bored - or is there value in slowly working up through the grades not intimidating her with stuff that she might shut-down and declare 'too hard' - particularly at this early stage?

Ultimately I dont want to push her - but she loves it so much (we struggle to get her off the piano) it seems shame not to let her explore her talents fully....
_________________________
Parent....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
Vague Guitar & Bass player.... (former minor income stream 15 yrs ago)
Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1247756 - 08/12/09 07:27 AM Re: 5yr old - step it up - or let her cruise? [Re: DadAgain]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
May I suggest you re-post this in the player's forum or teaching forum. This bit of the site is mainly about pianos as objects!

That said, I started lessons when I was very young too. Under ABRSM many students skip grades if they are talented. Many good teachers do not bother putting students in for the lower grades as "certificate collecting" is pointless. The impediment to grade progression for youngsters is often the theory side which in the UK system becomes compulsory at Grade 5 as I recall.

If she is enjoying herself then that is cool. However, playing classical piano to a high standard is hard work and there can be a difficult balance to be struck. My parents were rather pushy and it eventually put me off.

It is also CRUCIAL with a talented youngster to have the right teacher (not a results hunter who is overly focussed on gold / distinction etc) as learning correct technique is fundamental. Unlearning bad habits takes a lot of work and is a major frustration for many teachers who eventually have to deal with supposedly advanced students who have "progressed" too quickly and failed to develop appropriate skills.

Good luck.

Kind regards

Adrian


Edited by AJB (08/12/09 07:27 AM)
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#1247761 - 08/12/09 07:48 AM Re: 5yr old - step it up - or let her cruise? [Re: AJB]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
Ah.. any moderators around here able to move the thread? (sorry - my mistake!)


Anyway - I take your point about theory and technique on board - I was lucky in that I was pretty well drilled on theory when I was learning and must've had a pretty decent piano teacher from day1 'cos I never had my piano technique re-modelled by any teachers at uni...

My violin learning however started with some rough(ish) technique and when I changed teacher (at gr3 and then again at around gr7) - had extensive fundamental re-work required).

I have been paying attention to Nicolas technique (which her teacher doesnt seem to be looking at to be honest) and do concentrate on getting her to sit with good posture and hold her hands in a decent position (see video!). I gues sin a sense she's lucky in that she can get a lot of help from me at home.
_________________________
Parent....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
Vague Guitar & Bass player.... (former minor income stream 15 yrs ago)
Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1247800 - 08/12/09 09:05 AM Re: 5yr old - step it up - or let her cruise? [Re: DadAgain]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i would look for a private teacher who would creatively work with her potential.

she is lucky to have you around. you can teach her many things to supplement her lessons.

i have taught very young students two hand arpeggios in while they stand at the keyboard (since they have to walk to reach the keys). they really like that and they learn how to spot keys within the black and white configuration of the keyboard and play in different keys.. I teach them C,D,E,F,and G keys and the the minor chords).. most of them have picked this up easily even when not all that talented.

(disclaimer: not a certified piano teacher.)


Edited by apple* (08/12/09 09:08 AM)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#1247967 - 08/12/09 02:33 PM Re: 5yr old - step it up - or let her cruise? [Re: AJB]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Originally Posted By: AJB

It is also CRUCIAL with a talented youngster to have the right teacher (not a results hunter who is overly focused on gold / distinction etc) as learning correct technique is fundamental. Unlearning bad habits takes a lot of work and is a major frustration for many teachers who eventually have to deal with supposedly advanced students who have "progressed" too quickly and failed to develop appropriate skills.
Adrian


+1

Please don't let anyone forget that the whole purpose of the learning regimen is to help your daughter reach her potential. Anything else is probably being done for others' egos.

Even tho your daughter shows great promise, it'd still be a good idea to let her play tunes that she likes. IMO ultimately the purpose of making music is self-expression. Give her opportunities to express who she is at a given moment.



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