Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#2158637 - 09/27/13 03:00 PM Teaching very young students
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 352
I know there was a topic about this a while back, but I can't find it. I remember some awesome advice about what to teach, say, a 3.5 year old.

I already warned the mom that her daughter might not have great fine-motor control yet, but that didn't deter her. She has apparently already taken a kindermusic class, her dad was a music major in college, and she can read, though I don't know how well.

I think I'll focus on rhythm, making beautiful sounds, a little rote learning, and maybe start her in the Music Tree primer book because it starts really slow. I worry she'll struggle to use all her fingers individually and maintain good hand position, but I'll see what happens. We're going to try 15-minute lessons for now, and we haven't decided whether to do them once or twice a week. Do you have a recommendation there?
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#2158667 - 09/27/13 04:09 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 192
Loc: Chicago
Try "Sing and Play", published by Stipes. It is designed to include the parents with home activities which sounds like it would be good for this student's family. Introduces music concepts very slowly. Has a great workbook to coordinate. It will allow for fun activities - finding pictures of things that make various sounds, has some sing-along pieces, introduces rhythm in an easily understood method. Introduces note-reading very slowly so the student doesn't have too many challenges to deal with at once. I have used these books with many pre-school students. Check them out!

Top
#2158676 - 09/27/13 04:34 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
3 yr olds don't learn the same way a kindergartener would learn. They are, after all, toddlers. I wouldn't focus so much on piano activities that require fine motor skills but rather singing, movement, and include some keyboard activities as part of lesson. You can do high/low sounds (birdies and elephants stomping), isolating 2 & 3 black key clusters, and focus on hand 'shape' rather than on individual fingers. From hand shape I move to 'pointer' finger when learning the first notes on the piano. Don't rush to get to piano playing; there's SO much these little ones can do that will be more beneficial for them.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#2158677 - 09/27/13 04:34 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 352
Thanks!
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top
#2158679 - 09/27/13 04:36 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
I am in a similar position. I have one student who is 4 and I have been teaching her for several months (twice a week for 30 minutes! Her parents actually wanted 45-60 minutes twice a week! I was like nooo.... Simply finding activities to fill the time is the hardest part for me.) She is very smart and mostly cooperative, and it is very beneficial that she can actually read, but it would be a lot easier if she could write (or at least draw) a little better - she still struggles with holding a pencil correctly (she has gotten better over the past few months.) She is the youngest student I have taught, but I can only imagine that for different students you will simply have to find what works for them.

For example, she doesn't really like actually *playing* the songs, but she really likes clapping note rhythms and counting out loud. And anything I can turn into a game.
Ideas: I play a G. "Is this an "A?" and she has to decide if it is or not. Or, she plays a note and I have to "figure out" what letter it is and she tells me if I'm right or not. Or, "Simon Says." Which, I'm not quite sure she "gets" the concept of *not* doing it when, I *don't* say "Simon Says," but she definitely thinks it's funny! ("Simon says... play 3 C's!"..."Play 1 'F' forte....oops I didn't say Simon Says!")

I am using the Faber Early Beginner books with her, and even after several months of lessons she is about 3/4 through the first book. Which is fine with me - my goal for her is simply to learn /about/ music rather than learning songs. We do allll the CD activities, and basically I try to prolong every activity and song as long as I can. I mean, not prolong it within the lesson, b/c one key to teaching kids that young is to know that you simply will have to change activities every 2-4 minutes, but rather to re-do as much as I can at every lesson until I can tell she is sick of it. (I know I sound negative - in hindsight I would not take on a student who is less than 5 years old. I admit, I am basically trying to prolong everything so her finger capability and memory skills improve, eg, even though she is "smart," she can barely remember which key is which letter on the piano. Call me a bad teacher - shrug - I'm a piano teacher, not a "kindermusic teacher" or whatever. Her parents really wanted her to take "piano lessons," and I didn't have the heart to turn her down, nor do I know anyone to recommend who would do something more age-focused.)

Anyhow, I doubt any of that is helpful, but I'm just sharing my experience in case you might gain anything from it. Thanks for the suggestion for "Sing and Play," I will definitely be looking into it and am also looking for other resources to (ahem) help me "pass the time."

Top
#2158680 - 09/27/13 04:38 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
If you have to teach a 3 year old, they are not going to understand a lot of what you say. They have incredibly small brain capacity and zero ability to concentrate or sit still. They are not going to be able to even start playing the piano. It's best to do general music things, and get the kid enthusiastic about it, and then start piano for real at maybe 5 or 6 (this depends on the maturity of the specific child in question, of course).
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2158831 - 09/27/13 11:16 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
I really cannot understand why piano teachers attempt to teach preschoolers to play piano. Everything you teach them in two years can be accomplished in two lessons with a six-year-old child.

What possible long-term gain is achieved by identifying two and three black note clusters? I have yet to meet a student whose early music training improved them compared to a student who starts fresh at six years of age.

I believe the lesson money and attendance efforts are far better spent on twice-weekly lessons when children are six or seven years old.

Top
#2158833 - 09/27/13 11:20 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Candywoman]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I really cannot understand why piano teachers attempt to teach preschoolers to play piano. Everything you teach them in two years can be accomplished in two lessons with a six-year-old child.

What possible long-term gain is achieved by identifying two and three black note clusters? I have yet to meet a student whose early music training improved them compared to a student who starts fresh at six years of age.

I believe the lesson money and attendance efforts are far better spent on twice-weekly lessons when children are six or seven years old.

+1

My point exactly.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

Top
#2159555 - 09/29/13 09:19 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Candywoman]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I really cannot understand why piano teachers attempt to teach preschoolers to play piano
...
I believe the lesson money and attendance efforts are far better spent on twice-weekly lessons when children are six or seven years old.

Uh...how is that a problem of the teachers? If the parents are willing and eager to pay us, is it our job to explain how they are basically wasting their money, when they clearly just want to provide entertainment, an additional extracurricular activity, or even remotely-educational babysitting for their child?
Plus, the 3-4 year olds are more likely to be able to take lessons during the coveted (for the teacher) daytime slots! thumb

Top
#2159558 - 09/29/13 09:22 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: red-rose]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: red-rose
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I really cannot understand why piano teachers attempt to teach preschoolers to play piano
...
I believe the lesson money and attendance efforts are far better spent on twice-weekly lessons when children are six or seven years old.

Uh...how is that a problem of the teachers? If the parents are willing and eager to pay us, is it our job to explain how they are basically wasting their money, when they clearly just want to provide entertainment, an additional extracurricular activity, or even remotely-educational babysitting for their child?
Plus, the 3-4 year olds are more likely to be able to take lessons during the coveted (for the teacher) daytime slots! thumb
I don't think it's a waste of time and money, but I do think of them more as music lessons rather than strictly piano.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2159561 - 09/29/13 09:24 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Morodiene]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: red-rose
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I really cannot understand why piano teachers attempt to teach preschoolers to play piano
...
I believe the lesson money and attendance efforts are far better spent on twice-weekly lessons when children are six or seven years old.

Uh...how is that a problem of the teachers? If the parents are willing and eager to pay us, is it our job to explain how they are basically wasting their money, when they clearly just want to provide entertainment, an additional extracurricular activity, or even remotely-educational babysitting for their child?
Plus, the 3-4 year olds are more likely to be able to take lessons during the coveted (for the teacher) daytime slots! thumb
I don't think it's a waste of time and money, but I do think of them more as music lessons rather than strictly piano.

Agreed. I don't actually think they are completely wasting their money; I think I used that expression more for literary exaggeration.

Top
#2159649 - 09/29/13 01:07 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
At 4, they are so keen to please, and so unquestioning, sometimes they take things in far more easily that a 7-yo. Without all the attitude and behaviour they learn in school, without all the 'I'm far too clever for all this....'.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

Top
#2159654 - 09/29/13 01:21 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: ten left thumbs]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
At 4, they are so keen to please, and so unquestioning, sometimes they take things in far more easily that a 7-yo. Without all the attitude and behaviour they learn in school, without all the 'I'm far too clever for all this....'.
This is true. Also, if a child is in a home that doesn't listen to much music or sing, then this can help offset the disadvantage by starting early. For those that are in a musical home, it reinforces what they know and helps make playing a bit more second nature, IMO.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2159887 - 09/30/13 01:36 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
removed


Edited by Candywoman (09/30/13 02:37 AM)
Edit Reason: remove

Top
#2160038 - 09/30/13 11:30 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I just went to a session yesterday on early childhood music classes, presented by Rob Sayer of Atlanta. His franchise venture, The Music Class, is based on singing fun for kids up to age 4, with a parent or caregiver.

He seems like a good guy, and takes music education seriously. He also probably earns more in a week than I do all year. There is big money in little kids.

Top
#2160051 - 09/30/13 12:04 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Peter K. Mose]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
There is big money in little kids.

Haha, yes... little kids with rich parents who already have their colleges and careers planned out and will do whatever they can to get their kids "ahead"... (only half joking...)

Top
#2161363 - 10/03/13 07:17 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 352
Well, I may not end up teaching her after all. Mom wants to think about it for a month and then get back to me if her daughter is still interested. One thing that scared her off was how much I stuck to my guns about the importance of buying a real piano, or at least an 88-key keyboard with touch sensitivity and a damper pedal, instead of the smaller keyboard they were contemplating buying. She kept asking if I could just use a different method that didn't use all the keys . . . no.

I kind of doubt they'll be back, and it's just as well, I think. Though the girl was adorable and actually did better than I expected at her lesson.
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top
#2161380 - 10/03/13 07:53 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1011
Loc: Irvine, CA
I have an opposite experience with you recently. Little girl is not 3.5 YO, but just turn 4, coming to lesson with her older sister, 6.5 YO. Both beginner. I am teaching 6.5 full lessons and only teach 4YO between 5 to 10 minutes depend on her attention at the time.

After three lessons, mom asked me where can she buy or rent a piano, then I realize that they are playing only on a keyboard at home!! In mom's own word: "After starting lessons and played on your baby grand, I realize how inferior my tiny keyboard is!!! I also notice that they can play just fine at home because the keys is light, but they couldn't play nicely in your studio because the keys are heavier!"

So, now, she is asking me if she should buy a upright or a baby grand. I told her that it is totally her choice depending on her budget, and how much space she has at home. She is also exploring the option of renting too.

I am glad that she comes to realization herself without me pushing it.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2161434 - 10/03/13 09:42 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: ezpiano.org]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 352
That's great!
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top
#2161441 - 10/03/13 09:55 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
Well, I may not end up teaching her after all. Mom wants to think about it for a month and then get back to me if her daughter is still interested. One thing that scared her off was how much I stuck to my guns about the importance of buying a real piano, or at least an 88-key keyboard with touch sensitivity and a damper pedal, instead of the smaller keyboard they were contemplating buying. She kept asking if I could just use a different method that didn't use all the keys . . . no.

I kind of doubt they'll be back, and it's just as well, I think. Though the girl was adorable and actually did better than I expected at her lesson.
I don't hold such a hard line about 88-key, weighted pianos for beginners. I explain what the difference is, and why acoustic in good condition is better than digital, and why both of those are better than a keyboard. But I also understand that it's rare for a parent to start up lessons and know they're going to stick with it for enough time to justify buying a piano. Usually the parents see the enthusiasm and upgrade more often than not after some time has passed. For such a young child, especially, I personally think a keyboard is fine to start.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#2161662 - 10/04/13 09:31 AM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Morodiene]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I don't hold such a hard line about 88-key, weighted pianos for beginners. I explain what the difference is, and why acoustic in good condition is better than digital, and why both of those are better than a keyboard. But I also understand that it's rare for a parent to start up lessons and know they're going to stick with it for enough time to justify buying a piano. Usually the parents see the enthusiasm and upgrade more often than not after some time has passed. For such a young child, especially, I personally think a keyboard is fine to start.

completely agree. especially given that the kid is only 3.5! I mean, unless you are trying to find a way to convince them to not have lessons....
Like has been discussed/mentioned by several people in this thread, at that age, you won't be doing any actual "piano music" for at least a year or two, so why would 88-keys and weighted matter?

(update on my 4yo student I was talking about earlier, that applies to this; I'm --this-- close to stopping teaching her. After several months, I don't have anything to do with her besides moving to the next step, which is playing actual songs. We've done rhythm, finger numbers, and she's mostly learned the letters on the keyboard, but I think it is just one step too much for her 4yo brain to be able to grasp any more than one of those at the same time - the imminent problem which is about to be she can't play a "song" b/c while she can remember her "1" is her thumb, and which key is the "F," she can't at the same time either remember or be coordinated enough to put them together and for the most part keep them there. She was doing ok with "2-3-4" on "c-d-e," but I don't think she can handle any more than that, or comprehend different hand positions, much less playing two notes at the same time. frown So at this point, I would just have to continue doing simple exercises for the next year, which I'm not sure I'm up for doing, since like I said before, I'm a piano teacher not a preschool music teacher. With that being said, that's why I can't imagine insisting on an 88-key keyboard for a kid so young.)

Top
#2161833 - 10/04/13 05:35 PM Re: Teaching very young students [Re: Brinestone]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 352
I had intended to use the Music Tree primer book with her, which is easy enough and focuses enough on fingers 2 and 3 for almost the entire book, that I was fairly confident she could handle it. The thing about that book, though, is that you move up and down octaves constantly. After that, I was going to gradually move her into my typical Music Pathways with lots of supplemental repertoire. Music Pathways is wonderful partly because it uses the entire keyboard from the second month or so, not focusing on middle C.

At her first lesson, the little girl was able to practice clusters with decent hand position, which I could work on improving over a few lessons, and she was doing fine with the first Music Tree piece.

You might be able to get away with a 56-key keyboard or something, but right now they have a 24-key toy keyboard and were thinking about buying something bigger. I didn't flat-out refuse to teach the girl unless they got a full-size, but I did tell her I thought they'd be wasting their money buying an "interim" keyboard that their daughter would in all likelihood outgrow in a year or two, at which point they'd have to spend even more money to buy a full-size. I recommended renting if they weren't sure she'd stick with it, or buying a cheap piano or keyboard on Craigslist that they could replace for what they paid for it when they were ready.

My experience is that even beginners hate practicing on a keyboard that won't let them play dynamics or play all the notes in their songs. I've had more than one student quit in under a year directly because of a sub-par instrument.

In my mind, playing on something like that is like trying to learn clarinet by playing the recorder. It's kind of similar, but it's not the same instrument.
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
EFX on the Kawai MP6
by Lania
Today at 07:32 AM
New Single: Wind (Piano Song)
by Darkreach
Today at 07:32 AM
Measuring Humidity?
by pianomise
Today at 07:29 AM
DH Baldwin - a few technical questions
by Jamie_from_Canada
Today at 06:20 AM
I can only Trill well on good grand pianos....
by Paul678
Yesterday at 11:48 PM
Who's Online
114 registered (aesop, Al LaPorte, Abby Pianoman, 36251, 32 invisible), 1245 Guests and 18 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76290 Members
42 Forums
157704 Topics
2316442 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission