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#1330492 - 12/21/09 08:08 AM found a teacher for my 3 year old
Vivin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/09
Posts: 8
I posted here a few weeks ago asking for tips for finding a teacher for my little boy. Well, I actually found a couple who were willing and able. There's apparently a book series called Alfred's, and he blazed through the whole first book in the 30 minute trial lesson with one of the teachers. Afterwards, she turned her head towards me (sitting down on a couch across the room) and said enthusiastically "I want to teach this kid." I decided to go with that teacher.

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#1330502 - 12/21/09 08:40 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Vivin]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Congratulations! How long are lessons? Hope your son continues to enjoy it.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1330535 - 12/21/09 09:59 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Lollipop]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
There are several Alfred series. And going through the whole book in 30 minutes would mean spending about 30-40 seconds on each page - barely enough time to play through it twice, much less do any kind of real work.

(I'm skeptical.)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1331045 - 12/21/09 09:42 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Kreisler]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I hope it goes well for your son! It sounds like you've found a good match for him.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1331230 - 12/22/09 05:10 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Kreisler]
Vivin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/09
Posts: 8
What reason do I have to lie? Anyhow, I'm sure she was just trying to get a measure of his ability. I'm not expecting that she's going to have him go through a book per lesson.

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#1331367 - 12/22/09 10:27 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Vivin]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
No, it's not this easy. Going through a whole book is not possible in 30 minutes. The concepts are to be taught and learned and used not breezed through.

Do you know anything about the teachers background or have you seen their students in recitals.

I think you might have been impressed that this couple are interested in your son. It is very easy to pull off a scenario when interviewing a prospective student that makes them want to start piano - you appeal to the child's senses - and you let the child's parents know your impressed with him. It's that simple.

Look deeper as you go along. Three years old is a precious age and it's so wrong to foist adult demands on children who are just discovering themselves and who they will be. I don't agree that a 3 year old belongs at the piano keyboard at so young of an age.

Logic, spatial relationships, associations are things we rely on seeing in music as we progress and that doesn't happen until about 9 years of age in child development. His body and brain are just not ready for the connections made while playing the piano. He also does not yet have the vocabularly he needs, nor can he read and do the functioning that piano requires.

Tap out some songs, imitate, memorize - he can probably do. That is not what I consider playing the piano.

I'm sorry to differ with you but maybe this child needs an advocate in his behalf. I hope no harm is done to him in this pursuit. Time will tell since you are so eager for this early start. There are so many other safe and wonderful experiences in the arts that would help prepare him for the future. Being at the piano keyboard for piano lessons is not one of them in my opinion. People do it. Why?

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#1331470 - 12/22/09 12:16 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Betty Patnude]
Vivin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/09
Posts: 8
thank you for your concern. he likes to play the piano. he enjoyed the free lesson. if he doesn't enjoy it in the future, I'll stop sending him. It's pretty easy to tell. Not all kids like the same things.

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#1331553 - 12/22/09 02:03 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Vivin]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I didn't think she was actually teaching him but having him sight read to see what he was capable of. I don't see a problem with this for a "free lesson." However, if that is how her lessons are normally conducted, then it might be an issue.
_________________________
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MTNA member
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1331697 - 12/22/09 05:11 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Morodiene]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
How does a three year old sight read?
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#1331955 - 12/22/09 11:28 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Piano*Dad]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11421
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
There are some 3 year olds that can read.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1332125 - 12/23/09 08:12 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Morodiene]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I'm not familiar with what type of books Alfred might publish for preschoolers. But some of the earliest piano books have rhythms, up and down the keyboard, pattern of the keyboard, etc. I suspect that the teacher paged through the book, checking to see how quickly the child caught on to concepts, and wasn't really trying to teach each page. And the mother, who is probably not a teacher (nor a pianist?) watched the teacher go through the book, and perhaps interpreted it a little differently than what happened. Just my guess.

I don't think I can make a judgement on whether this teacher is any good or not based on this. At the end of the lesson, the teacher seemed excited by what the child could do, and was eager to teach him. That leads me to believe she saw a spark, intelligence, or ability in this child she feels she can work with. Isn't this what every parent, student, and teacher hopes for?

And she's got a parent willing and eager to get involved. I could use a few students like that!
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piano teacher

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#1332281 - 12/23/09 11:37 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Piano*Dad]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
How does a three year old sight read?


They're geniuses! There seems to be an endless supply of them lately.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1332471 - 12/23/09 03:38 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Vivin]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Vivin
thank you for your concern. he likes to play the piano. he enjoyed the free lesson. if he doesn't enjoy it in the future, I'll stop sending him. It's pretty easy to tell. Not all kids like the same things.
]]

Yes, Vivin, you can stop taking him to lessons if it doesn't work out or if he stops enjoying it. But, how is he going to feel about that when piano lessons become negative to him? How will you keep an open door to return to the piano at some later date? Do you think he's going to be mature about it if he is withdrawn for one reason or another?

Liking it is a small part of piano lessons. What piano students really require is some determination when "tough" enters the picture. At some point frustrations enter and many children have trouble facing those times when the music is too challenging and they don't know the answers.

I think piano students do really well when the parent is supportive in other ways besides paying the fees and providing the transportation to lessons. How will you be supportive? Is your only strategy that you will remove him from lessons? How will you keep him in lessons and help him through the problems (little ones, but many little ones) he will encounter?

Will he say "My mom put me in piano lessons when I was 3! What was she thinking of?" Or, will he say, "Thanks to my mom's foresight, I got an early start on my favorite instrument"? Who knows? Do you feel that you are taking a risk at all by starting him now? I don't understand where that desire comes from when their is so much at risk for such a young beginner.

If he takes off and proves to be a prodigy, what then? Years and years of dedication and hopes for a very good outcome. Staying on the path is another thing to be concerned about. Equally problematic.

Everything we do in life has it's pro's and con's. Consequences will be part of the mix and there is no easy escaping. I think you are entering a very serious undertaking as it pertains to the success of your child's budding musicianship.

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#1332741 - 12/23/09 11:06 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Betty Patnude]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"What reason do I have to lie?"

I did not hear anyone suggest it, other than yourself. And I don't think anyone here is in a position to answer it.

Frankly, three is too young. Take a look at his little hand. He's been walking and talking for, what, two years--- and is still learning. I have heard three-year-olds talk; it is charming, but the brain has a long way to go. Children of this age have other tasks than piano lessons.

Most people have no conscious connective memory before the age of about four, or even a bit later.

No one can prevent you. I am very doubtful, but I'll wish both of you the best of luck. I think that Betty's advice to have a fallback position is well-considered.
_________________________
Clef


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#1333283 - 12/24/09 07:22 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Jeff Clef]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Not a teacher here, just a mother and an amateur pianist. I think right now he'd be better off with a toy piano he can "play" to his heart's content and yourself as an appreciative audience-it will be all the same to him - and an aural environment rich in musical stimulation. That's all the "headstart" he needs right now. Don't make him feel like a failure before he's even begun by starting him too young. So much of musicality is innate. Don't deprive him of the thrill him of discovering it for himself.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#1335076 - 12/27/09 11:18 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: -Frycek]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Why not start with a virtual piano and a few short tunes at home on your computer? There are tunes with RH 5 fingers alone, then there are many written at Middle C for both hands.

I just found a few of these and added them to the mix in my studio. I think they work great as a test of the child's interest and what he can do on his own with a few simple rules and marking on the music page for any reminders he needs.

Does Mom or Dad play, Vivin?

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#1335349 - 12/28/09 10:26 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Betty Patnude]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 114
Loc: California, USA
Vivin,

I'm really curious to know which Alfred series was used on your 3-year-old. Was it the Music for Little Mozarts?

My 4-year-old wants piano lessons just because she sees her sister getting piano lessons. She doesn't want to be musical, and I'm not particular about her starting music or piano lessons at this age. But she wants piano lessons just because her sister gets it. (She also wants to go to Grade 1 just like her sister, go to basketball lessons just like her sister, go to ballet lessons just like her sister, go to Sunday school just like her sister, etc.) Listening to music, dancing with it, singing along, tapping a beat is not good enough. She wants *piano lessons*. She's really intent on having a person sit beside her while she's on the piano, and probably doesn't care about the end-result.

So someone lent me their old Music for Little Mozarts book, and I went through pre-reading with her (she was 3.5 years old then), thinking that she would get tired of it in a few lessons. She did go through pre-reading very quickly, and then hit a brick wall when the grand staff was introduced.

So I was just wondering whether your 3-year-old was doing pre-reading, because I can see how a small child may be able to blaze through pre-reading.

By the way, I would still consider the advice of all the other posters on this forum. I'm far from being a music educator. From what I've read here, it sounds like everyone is saying that being able to read music is only one element of learning music and piano. Reading through this forum, I realize that I should probably stop giving my child lessons.
_________________________
Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners

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#1335592 - 12/28/09 03:29 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: MomOfBeginners]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
I am a teacher with 20 plus years of experience and I grew up in the biz with my mother as a piano teacher.

I am always trying to push the envelope in teaching children.

The earliest I have taken a student is at 5 years of age - that particular child went on to win several big piano competitions.

A child's ability to keep their attention focused on the lesson is THE element I use to judge if the child is ready for personalized piano instruction. If a child does not have an attention span then a parent is paying for baby sitting lessons. Yes, I have seen many unqualified teachers take on students who are too young. Eventually, the student quits because little progress is made. The teacher should have put off the student until he was ready for personal instruction.

The second element I use to judge is the parents - are they committed? With a good teacher and supportive parents success is guaranteed unless there is a divorce or other disruptive elements. Success is guaranteed with a good teacher. Progress is often 100 fold with good teachers. I have my students often for 6-10 years. The reason is that, as a good teacher, I deliver the goods. Students learn often complex musical ideas quickly and are motivated to continue simply because it is not such a struggle.

Lots of great work can be done with students at such a young age. Just saturating young children in great classical music has tremendous intelligence and musical enhancing effects.

I would be very interested in the progress your teacher makes with your child. I recommend that very young children go to Kindermusic and wait until at least 5 to start lessons with me.

But who knows... I always check. The student may be ready.

Keep us posted on how it goes. : )






Edited by SF10 (12/28/09 03:32 PM)

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#1335639 - 12/28/09 04:27 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7302
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Welcome to the forum, SF10. I'm guessing you have a Baldwin grand!

When you get a chance, update your profile so you can a little more about yourself with the rest of us.

Where do you teach?
_________________________
"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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#1335649 - 12/28/09 04:37 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
As a teacher who has taken students as young as 4 years old (and even one 3.5-year-old who could read at a second-grade level already - wow!) and had great success with them, I might have a different perspective on this. I have about 4 kids in my studio right now who started with me right when they turned 4, and one when she was 3.5. Within one year, all of them are reading music WELL on the grand staff now, some in Middle C position and some in both Middle C and C Positions, and a few of them are already playing complex rhythms and chords on the staff with their hands together.

However, I am very particular about which youngsters I take. Whenever a parent contacts me about teaching their young child (and word has gotten around with my last few recitals), I do a phone evaluation first, asking targeted questions to see if the child might be ready. Only about 50% of my phone evaluations pass this "test" and are invited for an evaluation lesson - which is paid, not free. During this time, I evaluate the child's reasoning skills, ability to retain information, alphabet & number skills, pattern recognition, etc. If I get any inkling that lessons will not be right for the child at that time, that's exactly what I tell the parents. And I am very upfront about this when talking with them initially, that piano is not for every young child.

Every child is different, and should be treated as such, regardless of their age. I have noticed that boys in general tend to not be ready at a very young age....but that is just my experience. Evaluation lessons are so important, IMO. The important thing is that the teacher evaluates your child very carefully before starting him in lessons. It sounds like that is exactly what she did at the first lesson. You might ask her exactly what she was looking for and how your son did, to get more specific answers.

Good luck with your teacher - let us know how it goes!!



Edited by PianoKitty (12/28/09 04:38 PM)
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1335922 - 12/28/09 11:39 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: John v.d.Brook]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
Thanks John! I am in NH.

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#1335948 - 12/29/09 12:16 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
Hi Kitty,

Great post!

I'll play Devil's Advocate here. I have a fine performer/ teacher friend, who I admire very much who says that "it is a waste of time to teach a student that young and that a 6 or 7 year old can 'make up' what is learned from 4 to 6 in a matter of half a year. In the end, he claims, starting that early makes no significant gains for the the students who started at 4 over the ones who started at 6 or 7.".

Hmmm .... Personally, I really do not know what to think of this statement he made. I would LOVE to test it. However, I suspect, if tested, on the whole, his statement may be true.

However, I suspect that just putting those young 4 year old children in a room with great classical music playing for 1 hour a week may have more beneficial effects than a 30 minute piano lesson every week.

Why? Because young students can absorb the most complex music forms and the best humanity has to offer musically just by listening to it at a young age.

I'd love to do a study on this to see if this is generally correct or wrong.

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#1336095 - 12/29/09 07:30 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
Vivin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/09
Posts: 8
PianoKitty, my boy can also read and write at the 2nd grade level. I'm about 1/3 way through the 2nd grade edition of Hooked on Phonics with him. I got it for him for Christmas. He loves it! It comes with a progress chart that you put stickers on whenever a level is completed. I put it on his wall and every night he jumps up and down and wants to read the next lesson so that he can get another sticker.

Comparitively, my 5 year old nephew can barely read the word 'Cat' and that's with much coaxing and sounding out from his parents. Is it any wonder I think my boy is exceptionally bright?

Musically, he can play just about any melody he hears by ear. He was just playing some tune from an episode of 'Wonder Pets' this weekend. There's only one episode of Wonder Pets he likes. We have it on DVR so he can watch it over and over again, lol. So he's had alot of ear training on that song.

He can also play any of the major or minor scales. I just found that out the other day when I was going through a 'Piano for Beginners' book that I had bought back in college. It was by someone named Bastien. One of the first lessons after rhythm was playing the C Major scale. I played it and told my son that's called the C scale. I asked him if could he play the D scale. He did that, and then he did G and then B minor, with no mistakes. Wow! Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you guys, but as a non-musically inclined person, that blew me away. I certainly wouldn't know when to hit the black keys. I took one semester of piano and one semester of guitar in college, and frankly I sucked.

I have to admit that some of you have made me doubtful about giving him formal piano lessons. He hasn't started yet, but I did buy a bunch of the Music for Little Mozarts books from Amazon in anticipation. They have a 4-for-3 promo + free shipping so you can get 4 books for about ~$23 shipped. That's less than one lesson so I thought it was worth it. I'm thinking maybe I'll teach him myself for a while until his hands get a little bit bigger.

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#1336317 - 12/29/09 02:27 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Vivin]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
SF10 - Although I know quite a few teachers who would agree with your esteemed friend, I respectfully disagree with his statement. =) I have taught several 4 and 5-year-olds who are extremely musical and catch on to everything very quickly, and now at 6 years old are light years beyond where a 6 or 7-year-old would start at in beginner lessons. BUT that is probably because I am quite choosy about which students I accept. Believe me, I have told quite a few parents that their young child is not ready for lessons, even though they strongly disagree and push for lessons. I learned early on how to spot the ones who will not do well. I always tell them they are welcome to try the local music school, which takes any 3-year-old that comes along, with disastrous results most of the time! But in my experience, careful selection breeds some very talented young musicians in the ages 3-5 category! In fact, I just had my winter recitals, and I had about 10 guests come up with their young children afterward asking me to teach them, because they saw other 4-year-olds reading music on the grand staff, pedaling, playing legato/staccato, etc. I also think it takes a special type of teacher to teach ages 3-5...not everyone is cut out for the immense patience it requires LOL!

Vivin - Wow! Your son sounds a lot like one of my little prodigies. She started at 3.5 and within one year completed the entire Music for Little Mozarts 4-level series and has moved on to Piano Adventures Level 2. She is playing hands together in a variety of positions and is extremely musical. She also comes to class each week and shows me songs she "figured out" by ear, usually from TV shows and movies. Her mom is always saying how she is so thankful that she took the plunge and started her in lessons so early...what a waste it would have been to start her 4 years later! I think if your son is very musically inclined and is already reading and catching onto complex concepts well, that he will probably do very well in piano, depending on his teacher of course. Please keep in touch and let us know how it's going!!
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
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#1336480 - 12/29/09 05:30 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
Her mom is always saying...what a waste it would have been to start her 4 years later!
I have to take issue with this statement by the mother. It is not necessarily so that it would have been a "waste". It all depends what was done with the time in terms of musical experiences, awareness, and development of concepts. Time taken to really develop these is never wasted, in my opinion.

(I'm not denying there are some children who do very well starting formal lessons at 3, but I don't think too many would disagree with me when I say that they are the exception.)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1336615 - 12/29/09 09:49 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: currawong]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Currawong, I think what her mom is trying to say is that she had reservations about starting her so young, mainly because other teachers in the area flat-out refused to take a child her age without even a phone evaluation (that is something that I take issue with, but that's a whole other story =) ), but now that she sees how musically talented her child is (she wowed the audience at the last recital!), she is extremely pleased with her decision to take the plunge and try it out. Otherwise, if she had listened to all the nay-sayers (who didn't even bother to meet her child), she would have gone the next 4 years or so not knowing how talented her child is and how much musical promise she has. Within 1 year, she has accomplished a tremendous amount...imagine where she will be 3 years from now! Instead of starting at the beginning at that age, she will likely be in level 3 or higher by then. If she had believed all the other teachers who told her (sight unseen) that her daughter was too young, they never would have known how talented she is, until much, much later. I do think that would have been a great waste, in this particular case. You would have to know this student to see what I mean. She can fully handle everything that comes her way musically - she did not need further time to "develop" before learning musical concepts - she is performing extremely well.

I agree that it takes a special type of young child to excel in piano lessons, which is why I don't take them all. I would be in the loony bin by now if I did LOL. Unfortunately, I think a lot of parents overestimate their child's abilities at that age, which is why an experienced teacher's evaluation is so important. Having worked with this age group for some time now, I know what to look for and what the red flags are that the child is not ready.

I happen to take issue with teachers who flat-out say that any child under the age of 7 or 8 should not be taught under any circumstances. I am living proof that, with careful selection and evaluation standards, children ages 3.5 - 6 can learn piano very well! Now, most teachers may not have the patience or abilities to deal with this age group, so I don't think every teacher should teach very young children. But to say that no one should teach those children is going a bit overboard IMO, especially since I have seen children as young as 3.5 do extremely well at piano.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1336630 - 12/29/09 10:12 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
...she would have gone the next 4 years or so not knowing how talented her child is and how much musical promise she has...
Maybe, maybe not. Playing the piano is not the only way talent shows itself.
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
..she did not need further time to "develop" before learning musical concepts - she is performing extremely well.
I'm sure she is, from what you describe. I'm just saying that there's more to being musical than performing ability.
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
I happen to take issue with teachers who flat-out say that any child under the age of 7 or 8 should not be taught under any circumstances... to say that no one should teach those children is going a bit overboard IMO, especially since I have seen children as young as 3.5 do extremely well at piano.
And of course I never did say that. I think if a teacher is trained and able to teach at that level then there is much that can be done. But, as I also said, this child is the exception rather than the "rule", not that I'm saying there's a "rule" smile

I'm not arguing with you, PianoKitty, really smile . I'm just pointing out that there's more to musical ability than technical fluency on an instrument, and time spent on other things is by no means "wasted".
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#1336633 - 12/29/09 10:15 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
Currawong, I think what her mom is trying to say is that she had reservations about starting her so young, mainly because other teachers in the area flat-out refused to take a child her age without even a phone evaluation (that is something that I take issue with, but that's a whole other story =) )...
Actually, I think if these teachers are not trained in teaching young children, or comfortable doing so, then they did the right thing in refusing to take her. Would you want a gifted small child taught by someone who can only think of dealing with her exactly in the same way he/she would deal with a 10-year-old?? I wouldn't.
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#1336640 - 12/29/09 10:22 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: currawong]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Currawong, I wasn't referring to you saying that - sorry if it came across that way! I just mean that there are a lot of teachers in general that scoff at a child that young being able to learn anything (and they are very, very vocal about this), and that is what I take issue with. Not that you said that yourself, which you didn't. =)

I do agree with you that children with such musical talent at 4 years old are not common LOL! The student I was referring to is one of my little prodigies. But I have taught plenty of 4-year-olds that were not prodigies, but were good in their own right - able to learn to read music and play piano just fine. And the most important thing is that they ENJOYED it! And so did their families! I think so often that we forget that piano is supposed to be fun, and personally I like to impart that joy to as many people as I can. =)
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#1336645 - 12/29/09 10:29 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: currawong]
PianoKitty Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: currawong
Actually, I think if these teachers are not trained in teaching young children, or comfortable doing so, then they did the right thing in refusing to take her. Would you want a gifted small child taught by someone who can only think of dealing with her exactly in the same way he/she would deal with a 10-year-old?? I wouldn't.


I completely agree with you!! That's what I was saying here...

Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
Now, most teachers may not have the patience or abilities to deal with this age group, so I don't think every teacher should teach very young children. But to say that no one should teach those children is going a bit overboard IMO.


I know plenty of teachers who would have done more harm than good to the students I was referring to, possibly ruining their perception and enjoyment of piano forever! Not everyone is cut out to teach young children, definitely!

What I was taking issue with in that post is the teachers who refuse to believe that any young children are able to learn piano at all; they live by the hard-and-fast rule that no child under the age of 7 or 8 should be taught by ANYONE, not just themselves. That's what I take issue with. There are some of us who not only enjoy teaching young kids, but happen to be good at it and produce great results. grin
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#1336731 - 12/30/09 12:35 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
SF10 Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
Piano Kitty,

Great dialog here!

How long of a lesson do you take your 4 year olds for and what method do you use?

Last question: do you have parents sit in on lessons to sit with the children for practice at home.

Thanks!

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#1336989 - 12/30/09 11:29 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
...


Edited by sotto voce (12/30/09 12:34 PM)
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1336996 - 12/30/09 11:35 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: sotto voce]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
For those that do take students at 3-4:

How long of a lesson do you take your 4 year olds for and what method do you use?

Do you have parents sit in on lessons to sit with the children for practice at home.

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#1337014 - 12/30/09 12:03 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: SF10
Piano Kitty,

Great dialog here!

How long of a lesson do you take your 4 year olds for and what method do you use?

Last question: do you have parents sit in on lessons to sit with the children for practice at home.

Thanks!


Children ages 3.5 and 4 start in 15-minute lessons under the Music for Little Mozarts method. I used this method with my own child for 2 years before teaching it to others, and I customized it A LOT. With my modifications and additions, it has become a wonderful little program for children who are ready early-on for music instruction.

Even for those children who pass my screening tests, I still do a 6-week trial session. During this trial, parents sit in the living room (which is right next to my music room), where they are not visible to the student (so no distractions for them) but can hear everything that's going on. This is so that we are both on the same page if any behavior needs to be addressed (children this age need to be taught what is appropriate piano-lesson behavior), and so that the parent knows exactly what we are working on, so they know how to practice with the child at home during the week.

Parents are instrumental in home practice from ages 3.5-6 years old. Without very engaged parents who are willing to help their child practice daily in the beginning, there could be no success in this age group. That is something I look for in my screenings, as well - parents who are willing and able to take the time necessary for their child's musical success - and I stress this to them from the very beginning. Unfortunately, I have had a few students who WOULD have done very well if their parents had just taken the time to help them practice at home, but they just couldn't find 15 minutes a day to do this, so I had to let the students go.

Teaching this age group is a family affair, for sure. But when done right, children this age (sponges that they are!) can absorb concepts very quickly - it would amaze you! As I said, the audience at my recitals a few weeks ago could not believe the tiny 4-year-olds coming up to the grand piano, reading music on the grand staff, pedaling, going up and down the keyboard, playing legato/staccato, some playing hands together, etc. I had so many people come up to me afterward asking how I do it LOL. It's definitely a rewarding part of my teaching studio!
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#1337046 - 12/30/09 12:36 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1263
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: SF10
For those that do take students at 3-4:
How long of a lesson do you take your 4 year olds for and what method do you use? Do you have parents sit in on lessons to sit with the children for practice at home?


I've taught piano to very young children since 1981, and have used the Harmony Road curriculum for the last dozen or so years.

For 4-5 year olds, lessons are taught in groups of 6-10 kids, with the parent attending each class and participating in all of the activities. Lessons are 45-55 minutes, once a week. The structure of the lessons is that a variety of musical activities are done: singing around the piano with the teacher, movement songs, playing w/rhythm instruments (which eventually will lead to ensemble playing), ear training games, note reading games, and of course keyboard repertoire. Solfege is the musical language we use. Kids have songs they practice at home, with the parent helping.

For 3's, the classes are a 1/2 hour weekly. This class is similar in structure to the piano classes but I consider these more 'music & movement'. Keyboard activities consist of 'bouncing on the black keys/bouncing on the white keys', high and low sounds, etc... Again, the parent participates in class.

Someone mentioned that kids who start piano at 4 or 5 end up being at the same place later on as a child who started at 7 or 8. While this might be true in some cases, the younger students will have a big advantage with regards to ear training.
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#1337344 - 12/30/09 07:07 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: dumdumdiddle]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 42
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Originally Posted By: SF10
For those that do take students at 3-4:
How long of a lesson do you take your 4 year olds for and what method do you use? Do you have parents sit in on lessons to sit with the children for practice at home?


I've taught piano to very young children since 1981, and have used the Harmony Road curriculum for the last dozen or so years.

For 4-5 year olds, lessons are taught in groups of 6-10 kids, with the parent attending each class and participating in all of the activities. Lessons are 45-55 minutes, once a week. The structure of the lessons is that a variety of musical activities are done: singing around the piano with the teacher, movement songs, playing w/rhythm instruments (which eventually will lead to ensemble playing), ear training games, note reading games, and of course keyboard repertoire. Solfege is the musical language we use. Kids have songs they practice at home, with the parent helping.

For 3's, the classes are a 1/2 hour weekly. This class is similar in structure to the piano classes but I consider these more 'music & movement'. Keyboard activities consist of 'bouncing on the black keys/bouncing on the white keys', high and low sounds, etc... Again, the parent participates in class.

Someone mentioned that kids who start piano at 4 or 5 end up being at the same place later on as a child who started at 7 or 8. While this might be true in some cases, the younger students will have a big advantage with regards to ear training.


Thanks! I consider that type of class a "kindermusic" class not one on one traditional piano lessons.

And yes I agree! Those students of yours at that age will have a big advantage with regards to ear training.

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#1337378 - 12/30/09 08:09 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: SF10]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1263
Loc: California
Traditional piano lessons usually don't work for preschoolers, which is why most teachers won't take a child until they're older. There are virtually no methods designed for 3's and 4's to be taught on a one-on-one basis. Even Alfred's 'Music For Little Mozarts' curriculum was created by Christine Barden, a former Yamaha (group piano) educator who had helped shape Yamaha's program back in the early 80's. Bastien has a Very Young Pianist curriculum that it lists as for ages 4-7. It's been around a long time and just so-so, IMO.
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#1339931 - 01/03/10 02:33 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: dumdumdiddle]
BlueBKLYN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 37
Loc: NYC
I began studying piano at the tender age of 3 years, 5 months. I was reading before age 3. My teacher used the John W. Schaum Piano Course, starting with the Green Book like she would with any other student.

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#1341083 - 01/05/10 12:06 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: dumdumdiddle]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Traditional piano lessons usually don't work for preschoolers, which is why most teachers won't take a child until they're older.


I completely agree! That's why I do trial lessons for children younger than 6. If they can sit for 15-30 minutes without being distracted--and if their parents are supportive with daily practice at home--then I'll agree to teach the young ones.

I've taught no more than six kids younger than five. Two are still taking lessons from me, and both are flying off the charts in terms of progress!
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#1418277 - 04/16/10 03:03 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
I have something to say but is kind of lengthy, can you read from this link?
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0ARdJp3V5iKZqZGZzcnBrYmpfNjVnbnNjbjdmeA&hl=en
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English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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#1418832 - 04/17/10 05:05 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
88keysOK Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/21/09
Posts: 4
Who knew one mom of a 3-year-old could cause such a ruckus among piano teachers? There seems to be a definite divide between taking a child so young into a studio and waiting it out 'til they're older. For 15 years, I was one of those teacher whose stock answer to "What age do you recommend my child start lessons?" was: about 7-years-old. It was not until a mom of a 3-year-old called me and asked if I would be willing to meet her and her daughter. The recommendation for piano lessons at this young age came from the pediatrician! I wish I could have been part of that conversation - or just be friends of the parents of this fun little girl (more than our 30-minute weekly sessions)! The mom was completely reasonable and understanding that if piano works out, great, and if it does not seem to be going well, then we will stop.

Since I also have a background in teaching K-12 general music, I incorporate more than on-the-bench and at-the-keyboard activities, staying two beats ahead of this intelligent little girl at all times. In addition to learning to read more and more notes, we play note reading games, rhythm games, whole step-half step games, step-skip games, dice games, spinner games (she recently learned how to spin a spinner)....She is very bright, very curious, and eager to learn. She has performed in two studio recitals and steals the show every time.

While I will agree that these early years of piano may or may not give her an edge rather than if she would have waited to begin lessons at 7 years old, what she is gaining now is an artistic outlet that she requested and that she loves. Her life is enriched because of piano and she thoroughly enjoys the music we learn and the games we play. She's learning to play her favorite songs with both hands, correct fingers, and dynamics. I encourage parents to search for the right teacher no matter what age your child is. That first piano teacher relationship is often crucial to a person's entire musical outlook for the rest of their life.

My first teacher was not really the best, but it was my high school piano teacher that inspired me to choose this career. I love her for it.

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#1418886 - 04/17/10 09:53 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: 88keysOK]
Amosquito Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 39
Loc: Australia
I've read this thread with great interest. I personally won't take very young students because I know that the way I teach isn't compatible with very young kids and I have no desire to adapt my teaching strategies to children this young. I prefer to deal with older beginners. Teens are my favourite. I figure there are other people out there better equipped to teach preschoolers (and even lower primary schoolers) better than me.

Yet, I have a possibly prodigious just-turned-four-year-old son. I've not started him in lessons. He has free reign on the piano, djembe and ukulele here and for his recent birthday, I bought him an electronic drum kit (so he can use headphones!). He listens to music - all types - constantly and picks up the rhythms and melodies with ease, replicating or at least approximating them on whichever instrument he's playing. He sings a lot too. Some might think I'm wrong in not putting him in lessons to harness this gift, but although I know he desperately wants to play, I'm not sure if he has the patience to learn things methodically. And therein lies the point that many have made - the child needs the attention span and the ability to dedicate themselves without getting frustrated and giving up.

To the OP - I think you're a champ for sending your child to piano lessons, I really do. You are the best judge of your own child's abilities. I can totally understand why it has been hard to find a teacher. Hopefully this teacher you have is a specialist in early childhood piano and will nurture your 3-year-old. I wish you and your child all the best.
_________________________
Amos

Facilitator of learning
Lover of pianos and singing
Wannabe singer/songwriter

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#1418940 - 04/17/10 12:43 PM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: Amosquito]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
I agree with Vivin that if her boy is able to read better than a 5-years old, he probably is gifted and could start piano lesson at this early age.

I also agree with Piano Kitty that interview is the key to decide if a little one can handle the lesson or not. And I have to turn some boys or girls away just because they are not ready.

Quote SF10 here: I'll play Devil's Advocate here. I have a fine performer/ teacher friend, who I admire very much who says that "it is a waste of time to teach a student that young and that a 6 or 7 year old can 'make up' what is learned from 4 to 6 in a matter of half a year. In the end, he claims, starting that early makes no significant gains for the the students who started at 4 over the ones who started at 6 or 7."


I disagree. My Student #1 is in Piano Adventure 2A during Kindergarten, and I believe she can do one level each year. That means at Grade 1, she will finish all materials in Level 2B (I am talking about lesson book, performance book, technique book, gold star performance book, and some extra Fabers ChordTime Piano library books). Grade 2 for Level 3A and Grade 3 for Level 3B…………
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English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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