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#1336731 - 12/30/09 12:35 AM Re: found a teacher for my 3 year old [Re: PianoKitty]
SF10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 46
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
6000 Post Club Member

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: 46
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!
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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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: 1267
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.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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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: 46
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: 1267
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.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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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 Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
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!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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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
_________________________
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…………
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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