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#1269464 - 09/16/09 05:44 PM Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait?
MMM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 20
My 10 year old dd began lessons this July & is progressing wonderfully well. She is moving her way through Bastien Level 1 books as well as supplemental songs. She is very diligent about practice.
Now that we have a piano, my now 7 y.o. dd has expressed sincere interest in lessons. She sits down at the piano each day & tries to pick out by ear the songs her sister is playing, hymns from church, etc. She doesn't know anything about proper hand position; she is just plinking away. She has picked out several songs on her own though by ear.

The piano teacher said she sounded ready for lessons, but would start in her the Bastien Primer level books. Frankly, the Bastien Level 1 seem pretty "beginner" to me, so what would she likely be learning in the primer level?

Money for lessons is a big sacrifice, but I will find something to cut (internet access!!) to make it work if it is the best plan. I just want to know if it would help her to wait & start in the higher level like her older sister. FWIW, she is a strong reader & has had some experience with introductory fraction concepts.

Thanks so much,
Meredith





Edited by MMM (09/16/09 05:46 PM)

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#1269469 - 09/16/09 06:02 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: MMM]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
There is quite a learning difference between grade levels; your teacher's advice is solid. The end of the primer level is typically about 1/3 way through level 1. To put it another way, the older student grasps the basics much faster, so can pace more quickly. Good luck.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1269473 - 09/16/09 06:09 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: MMM]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Meredith,

You have good reasons why the same level would work for you daughter, I think. Perhaps a different method would provide different music selections so that she can have "her own" songs to play.

If your younger daughter approaches things mostly with the "ear" the teacher is going to be able to build upon that.

If you sense that your daughters have different learning styles you should mention what you know know about them.

When I have siblings in study I like to make it a different experience for each of them. One of the things that can happen as they each get a year or so under their belts is duet playing together. In the meantime, I hope the teacher is playing duets with your older daughter from the teacher accompaniments in many of the books on the market. I don't remember if Bastien uses that approach.

I can hear your concern about keeping expenses down and you might ask the teacher if she has any provisions to help reduce the cost to you.

I'm glad to hear your older daughter is off to a good start!

Will your girls go to lessons at the same time?

Betty Patnude

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#1269620 - 09/16/09 10:13 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: Betty Patnude]
MMM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 20
Thank you for helping me understand the difference between the 2 levels. It sounds like the decision is still whether to start lessons now and proceed at a slower, although age-appropriate, pace or wait a year or two & start in the level 1.

As teachers, do you prefer to start with older students or eager young ones?

Meredith

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#1269693 - 09/17/09 12:12 AM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: MMM]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
I think you should start your 7 year old right away. There is no sense in waiting. Trust your teacher's selection of books.

I just had a funny thought...she shouldn't have to rely on her older sister's "hand-me-down" tunes.

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#1269694 - 09/17/09 12:13 AM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: MMM]
mstrongpianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 38
I accept the student who is eager to learn, regardless of age.

An eager child who has had to wait for an extended time will be beginning the basics whereas siblings/peers, who've been taking lessons, have advanced. Because the [once]eager student is not as advanced as his/her peers, the student may view piano lessons as "boring" and want to quit.

So, I definitely encourage parents, like yourself, to invest in that younger child with great interest!

~mstrongpianist

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#1269776 - 09/17/09 07:49 AM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: mstrongpianist]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Kids start at all different ages. If they are ready, an earlier start can be a big advantage in that they're likelier to reach a more advanced stage by the time they're in high school. Readiness means many things. Reading helps, of course, though you can create a good program for pre-readers (some four year olds are already on the bench, for instance). The attention span and level of cooperativeness also are quite relevant.

Seven is a perfectly fine age to start. How rapidly she progresses should be a function of how rapidly she learns and how easily she processes the new information.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1269797 - 09/17/09 09:01 AM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I agree wtih the above - I would definitely start her now, I would start her in Primer books, and I would chose a different method from her sibling.

I've had one highly motivated 7-year-old who finished the Primer level books (Piano Adventures, though - not Bastien) in under 3 months. (Not typical for the students I encounter.) So even if you're not thrilled with the idea, if it is too easy for her, then she won't be in it long. But if you start her at too high of a level, she will become frustrated and overwhelmed.

Be sure to talk with her in advance that lessons will require commitment, and practice of what she learns at lessons - not just plunking whatever she wants out on the keys. That comes as a shock to some.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1270605 - 09/18/09 03:24 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: Lollipop]
A2mom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 103
Loc: Northern California
I'd start the 7 yo now. In the area of foreign language learning, acquisition of a native speaker accent is much more easy for those who hear and speak a language younger than the age of 10. While it is possible over the age of 10, it is simply easier and more effortless when the ear/mind focus of the younger child is still exquisitely attuned to sound/language acquisition/reproduction. To some extent, the success of early music learning programs that start kids at age 3, 4, and 5 may be linked to this focus and facility of the younger mind. The youngest minds are really focused on sound and its reproduction. The older the child, the greater the distractions/diversions (team sports, more homework, more "obligations", etc.). There is certainly a difference in learning modes, physical abilities, and attention spans that may exist for 10 and 7 yo children, but the overall sum of the differences may speak in favor of starting the 7 yo - a very music-receptive and relatively distraction free age.
_________________________
A2mom
Northern California
Shigeru Kawai SK3, Clavinova CVP207

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#1270806 - 09/18/09 10:58 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: A2mom]
MMM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 20
Thank you for the wisdom of your posts. As she sat tonight trying to pick out another song by ear (Joy to the World), she showed me how she figured out how to play the same notes in different octaves on the keyboard at the same time. I don't play so I hope that came across right. I think she is very motivated to make music for the sheer joy of it. I have seen it with all the kids since we brought the piano into our home. We all gather around it with anticipation each day at the chance to make & hear music. I guess I should find a way to give her the tools to do that.

Meredith

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#1270833 - 09/19/09 12:50 AM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: A2mom]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1264
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Suzukimom
I'd start the 7 yo now. In the area of foreign language learning, acquisition of a native speaker accent is much more easy for those who hear and speak a language younger than the age of 10. While it is possible over the age of 10, it is simply easier and more effortless when the ear/mind focus of the younger child is still exquisitely attuned to sound/language acquisition/reproduction. To some extent, the success of early music learning programs that start kids at age 3, 4, and 5 may be linked to this focus and facility of the younger mind. The youngest minds are really focused on sound and its reproduction. The older the child, the greater the distractions/diversions (team sports, more homework, more "obligations", etc.). There is certainly a difference in learning modes, physical abilities, and attention spans that may exist for 10 and 7 yo children, but the overall sum of the differences may speak in favor of starting the 7 yo - a very music-receptive and relatively distraction free age.



Ditto here. 4 and 5 year olds are my favorite age group to teach.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1272796 - 09/22/09 03:01 PM Re: Should 7 y.o. begin lessons or wait? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
widmerpool Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 7
i have an almost-5y/o boy (with no genetic promise) who just started.

the piano is mixed together with drum playing since he obviously can't sit at a bench for 30min.

the director of the music program said his progress will be drastically less than that of an 8y/o starting but that he would ultimately benefit. he wasn't pushing lessons and wanted to see if my son could focus enough for it to be any benefit.

my only fear is that he not get frustrated with the progress and has some "milestones" to make him happy.

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