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#964180 - 11/11/05 09:05 AM Teaching a 7 year old
WillieWagglestick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Preamble first I guess: I just turned 20 (Happy Birthday to me! :-) ) and am doing 7th grade piano- Have been playing for 2 years.
I've just started teaching a friend's daughter the piano for free. I told her mother from the beginning that I'm keen to try and teach her but I'm not very good (that's why I'm not charging her! It's mainly a favour)
I'm really apprehensive about it still because I have no idea what 7 year olds can learn at that age. I don't know how fast or slow to progress, what they should start learning first, how long a lesson should go for before attention waivers etc. So far I've started with flash cards of the treble clef, slow sight-reading (i.e. "Can you tell me what these few notes are on this line?"), starting on the right hand of ode to joy and trying to teach her the fingering for C major scale.
To my ignorance she actually seems to be talented (but again because I have no one to compare her with I could be wrong!) and I really don't want to teach her things in the wrong order...or just plain old wrong things!
Her mother has the attitude of "meh, she'll be fine just give her stuff to do and I'll make sure she does it" (she's very laid back and down-to-earth) But I don't see it this way.
Should I suggest she finds a real teacher or I should stick with it? I don't want to send her down a wrong path where it's not challenging her or is too difficult that she becomes discouraged and wants to quit.
Please Help!
Split the rock and I am there

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#964181 - 11/22/05 06:38 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
PerformingYak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 205
Loc: Lightning Ridge, Australia
It seems noone else will give you advice so I am here to say - Stick with it!!

If I'd have given up every time I thought I was doing things wrong I wouldn't be enjoying being a high school/primary school music teacher right now. I just started at the beginning of the year at a school ten hours away from my family and its my first year out of uni. The kids here haven't had a proper music teacher in four years and so I have all these kids who no absolutely nothing. The first half of the year went well but once I got my head around knowing what the kids could handle it got easier and I found new ways of teaching things.

"Work hard and strive to reach the power of bland"

#964182 - 11/22/05 06:48 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
Dandan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 6
You can try to use the following to get her interests up.

http://infopool.funmusic.hop.clickbank.net Piano Is Fun

She will have lots of fun while learning.

#964183 - 11/23/05 04:51 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
Hobie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 475
Loc: Rocky Mountains

You say you told her mother from the begininng you "were keen on trying to teach her" it seems like you care enough to do your best each time. Here are a few suggestions for you to think about, this is one possible solution.

Look through a few method books and pick one that is suited for a 7-year old. If you get a decent one, it starts with the basics, includes explanations, as well as songs that use the concepts. This way you will have something to use for a logical progression of skill building. Preview the day's lesson beforehand.

I would encourage you to develop some structure to a 1/2 hour lesson. First 5 minutes do exercises like skipping fingers, repeats, 5-finger scales, c major scale, etc. Then switch to the method book, read the pages together, you will find a natural speed at which you can turn pages. Assign a song or two from that. Get out the flash cards, run through those. Take a peice of paper and sketch out some rhythms quarter notes, half-notes, rests, etc. Have her pick a note on the piano and play the rhythms. Encourage her to make up her own melodies/songs using the rhythms (at home)to encourage creativity. Have her keep a notebook to bring with her to lessons. Write down the name of the songs, whatever skills you worked on, and include the counting practice. That way her mom can sit and help her with and she knows what is being worked on.

Just a few suggestions to get you started in the right direction with this child. Hope it helps, good luck.
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx

#964184 - 11/23/05 10:01 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
One of the areas my students have tended to be weak on is knowing the letter names of the notes on the staff from memory and where they are on the keys (some method books stress reading by interval which is excellent but don't cover letter names on the staff). If you choose a method book like that, do some work outside of the book to cover it, flash cards, note spelling books (I just write out my own note-spelling sheets and make copies), supplemental music.
If you use a lesson book from a method, they generally don't use familiar tunes so be sure to find supplemental music with familiar tunes and/or figure out tunes by ear.

#964185 - 01/06/06 04:06 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
jzp93 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 56

I don't think there's a right or wrong way in teaching piano. My own teachers showed me the difference between the left and right hand. I played pieces using just the right hand and progressed from there. They taught me to read notes using Do, re, mi, fa ...etc..Here in the U.S. it's different though. My son started piano 8 months ago, he was 6 y.o. then and they taught him to read using lines. He can read notes and tell if it is C,D,E...etc., but he plays faster if he goes by lines. I forgot what method it is. He goes to a school with Russian teachers. I tried to teach him reading the notes as Do, re, mi but his teacher said to stop because it will confused him. She said in Russia they also use d,re,mi but not here in the U.S. ANyway, He can read the notes as a,b,c OR do, re, mi but when it comes to playing fast he reads using the lines. Wierd but it works.

#964186 - 01/06/06 04:16 PM Re: Teaching a 7 year old
seebechstein Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 1085
Loc: houston
As a child I primarily had three different teachers growing up. They were each VERY different with their own methods and ideas. I made the most progress with one particular teacher, but I can't say exactly why. It might have been that it was the last teacher I had, so I was older, and was easier for me to make progress -- I'm not sure.

If you're using method books, then the student will be fine. Just try not to make it drudgery.


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