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#2146434 - 09/08/13 03:13 PM Teaching to young kids
Bourniplus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Québec
Hello everyone,
after not giving private lessons for many years, I just started teaching again, for a few students in a private school. I am confident I am doing good with my adult students, however my biggest challenge is with a 6 year-old girl.
After talking with my friends who have more experience than I do at teaching to young kids, I have gotten some interesting ideas and tips. Basically, I'm looking for more advice, general or specific, on how to approach things, such as finding the right balance between educational and fun.
For the first lesson I noticed she was a bit tense and nervous, which is very normal. Would breathing exercises before beginning the lesson make sense? On the practical side, since we don't have an adjustable bench, would you add something so that she's sitting at the correct height?
By the way, so far I am using the "A dozen a day" book (pink one in this case) as I am familiar with these from my childhood.
every advice will be greatly appreciated,
Martin
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#2146442 - 09/08/13 03:23 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Bourniplus
Hello everyone,
after not giving private lessons for many years, I just started teaching again, for a few students in a private school. I am confident I am doing good with my adult students, however my biggest challenge is with a 6 year-old girl.
After talking with my friends who have more experience than I do at teaching to young kids, I have gotten some interesting ideas and tips. Basically, I'm looking for more advice, general or specific, on how to approach things, such as finding the right balance between educational and fun.
For the first lesson I noticed she was a bit tense and nervous, which is very normal. Would breathing exercises before beginning the lesson make sense?
I would do music games to help her get comfortable with being with you
Quote:
On the practical side, since we don't have an adjustable bench, would you add something so that she's sitting at the correct height?
Definitely. Also, a stool to rest her feet upon until she's ready to start using the pedal is a good idea.
Quote:
By the way, so far I am using the "A dozen a day" book (pink one in this case) as I am familiar with these from my childhood.
These are fine if she seems to like them, not all children do (I couldn't stand them as a child), but be sure to work on actual pieces, too. I do like working with method books, as many of them usually have games and ideas to help you present new material. Are you using any methods?
_________________________
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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#2146560 - 09/08/13 06:44 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Bourniplus
On the practical side, since we don't have an adjustable bench, would you add something so that she's sitting at the correct height?

Absolutely! Put a phone book or a large cushion on top of the bench until her elbow is at least level with the keys. And then give her a box or a stool to put her feet so that she's not dangling her feet in midair.

Young kids are tricky to teach because their level of maturity is literally all over the place. Determine a good entry point for each particular student and introduce just enough activities to prevent them from getting bored. Change activities every 1-4 minutes. Have enough different activities to keep the kids occupied for the entire lesson.

For one of my students, when he gets bored, I just go to a different activity and come back to do the same activity 10 minutes later. He doesn't even remember what he did 10 minutes ago.
_________________________
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#2146564 - 09/08/13 06:51 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
That's exciting. It's important to get to know each other, so she feels comfortable coming and playing.

Ask about her school, make little comments, tell a story. Make it fun.

This is an article series on teaching successfully.

For the bench, you can put something under her feet so they're not dangling.

And play games! Kids love games. You might find these helpful:
Piano games, teaching younger students
- Color in my piano
- Susan Paradis
- Teach Piano Today

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#2146572 - 09/08/13 06:59 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Even having a box of crayons with which we can do our theory makes it fun!

I also made some flash cards that have a "code" on them and kids love to do this once they are told the secret code. I put "L" or "R" and then a finger number, and then a letter (A-G). For example, a card might read "L1C". The child has to then find any C on the piano and play it with their LH finger 1.

Having things like this you can pull out when you feel their attention is waning is helpful. Also, have some egg shakers or drums where you can play to the beat of a song played by you or on a CD. Another fun thing is if you can't spend money on purchasing such instruments, you can make your own shaker with an empty water bottle and unpopped popcorn, bells, rice, and some colorful things in there, then glue the top on. When kids see the homemade shaker they want to make one of their own at home. These are great for doing rhythm flash cards too, when they have to hold a half note or whole note, they have to shake it for the full number of beats.

Also, if you have a scarf, using that to dance around to the beat of different pieces of music (slow and fast, duple and triple meters) can be good off-the-bench activities.

Some kids enjoy singing the words to the songs they are playing (most method books add lyrics to the pieces they play for this purpose), which is a great skill to develop early.
_________________________
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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#2146575 - 09/08/13 07:04 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Morodiene]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Some kids enjoy singing the words to the songs they are playing (most method books add lyrics to the pieces they play for this purpose), which is a great skill to develop early.

And for kids who are in book 2B and beyond (when lyrics suddenly disappear), we just make up our own crazy lyrics.

Get boys to sing before they become self-conscious about singing, and then they'll never sing for you.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2146577 - 09/08/13 07:05 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Morodiene]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Some kids enjoy singing the words to the songs they are playing (most method books add lyrics to the pieces they play for this purpose), which is a great skill to develop early.


Accompaniment is also fun.

Another good starter is to teach songs they know, like Happy Birthday or Mary had a Little Lamb. That way, they get excited. And everyone likes familiar things, especially if they're nervous.

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#2146583 - 09/08/13 07:14 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bluoh]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Some kids enjoy singing the words to the songs they are playing (most method books add lyrics to the pieces they play for this purpose), which is a great skill to develop early.


Accompaniment is also fun.

Another good starter is to teach songs they know, like Happy Birthday or Mary had a Little Lamb. That way, they get excited. And everyone likes familiar things, especially if they're nervous.
This is true. Old of my student's favorite songs is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the first song she learned. smile
_________________________
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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#2146840 - 09/09/13 09:48 AM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
Bourniplus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 27
Loc: Québec
Thanks to all for the suggestions! I'm definitely going to include games and rhythm flash cards.
_________________________
Musician / tuner

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#2149924 - 09/14/13 08:43 AM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: Bourniplus]
PApianoteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/12
Posts: 36
The Music Tree has an activity book at their "A Time to Begin" level that has lots of activities that involve coloring, matching, etc. With my younger kids I alternate between learning new songs and workbook pages. I actually lay the workbook out on the bench and we get down on our knees to do the coloring. Remember that for an attention span, you get a minute for every year, so you should be changing activities at least every 6 minutes if possible!

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#2150247 - 09/14/13 08:14 PM Re: Teaching to young kids [Re: PApianoteacher]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Check out www.susanparadis.com Many wonderful games on her site that she generously allows us to download and print for free. I love these games for my young students.
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Piano Teacher

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