What next for a talented 4 year old?

Posted by: Standalone

What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 02:06 PM

http://www.youtube.com/user/joejnyc#play/uploads/6/19tMlhqSSA0
-handel in different keys


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DrRbL4yoA
-variations on Jeff Moss' "I don't want to live on the moon."

We've let our 4 year old play on the piano since he was two or so and he's taught himself. The only lesson he got was a suggestion that he skip notes to make chords. And maybe some reminders "not to bang" when he got too excited.

We're thinking about the next step for him. A local music school does mostly Suzuki, but it seems to us that he does not need much ear training. He can hear a song and go to the piano long afterwards and work out melody and rough chords.

I'm curious to hear opinions. We definitely don't wish to push him at all. He's a pretty well rounded kid. Besides, my wife, a singer, knows how hard it is to make a living in music!

Thanks!

Posted by: Gyro

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 02:26 PM

It's difficult to say anything without further context.
When you say "we," do you really mean "you,"
while your wife would rather him not go into music
but rather into law or med school?

Without further context, I'd say just let him
do what he's doing now. There's no point in
you knocking yourself out trying to make a concert
pianist out of him when your wife will have none of it.
Posted by: dobbermeister

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 02:48 PM

My wife and I are in a similar position with our four-year-old. He has perfect pitch and can play any song after working at it for a little while. He definitely has a gift, and we want him to explore it. We would not mind if he were to want to become a concert pianist, but we have determined that he must WANT to play. He's taking lessons with someone else because I didn't want daddy and piano teacher to get mixed up. We decided that we would encourage him to continue as long as he wants to, and if he wants a break, we'd let him have one. You mention your son is well-rounded, and I think that's the key at this age. But there's nothing wrong with exploring piano when he has such a gift as his. And let your wife know that, by doing so, he's not cornered into becoming a professional musician.
Posted by: pianogal37

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 02:55 PM

He may also have a talent for the field of fashion.
Posted by: J Cortese

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 03:01 PM

I thought the same thing. :-) He looks terribly cute!

Just let him set the pace; if he feels over committed I'm sure he'll let you know in inimitable four year old fashion.
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 03:23 PM

not at all, gyro. i say what I mean, mean what I say. no need to analyze/psychoanalyze my post. smile my wife is more the one exploring what to do with lessons. I'm the youtube video poster, though! laugh I signed on here mainly to research restoration on our piano...
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 03:27 PM

I'm definitely not looking to push the kid on anything, no one is. But I started soccer at 5, why not expose Jimmy to piano at a similar age?

I was more looking for specific thoughts on books, methods, teachers, schools and such.

My wife isn't concerned about the lessons and becoming pro- when she saw his natural talent, she said "uh oh!"
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 03:27 PM

Originally Posted By: pianogal37
He may also have a talent for the field of fashion.
pics make threads more fun! smile
Posted by: dobbermeister

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 03:40 PM

For that age, I like Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts. My son loves it!

Posted by: EDWARDIAN

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 05:52 PM

Cute kid! And smart.

I would go with a private teacher to see where it goes. I've taught a couple 4-year-olds myself, and start them with 15-minute lessons. They've usually been younger siblings of my students. Better to start them off gently and let the lesson time increase as they get a bit older and their attention span increases,

Take a page from Sesame Street - the lessons should be short and varied. Not too much of one concept if it becomes tedious. Above all they should be fun. If not, discontinue. You definitely do not want him to be turned off to music.

Good luck to you & your adorable child.

Joan
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/01/09 06:51 PM

Find a teacher that specializes in teaching that age. Not everyone is good at it, I know I certainly am not!
Posted by: lotuscrystal

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 01:46 AM

Adorable child...looks very animated, creative, and theatrical smile

I say, get him into private lessons...he already sounds a bit beyond the Suzuki group lesson thing. I think all talent should be fostered and nurtured if a child presents as having certain gifts...and from what you've mentioned, the writing is on the wall that he has a predisposition towards music.

As for making a career out of music...life is what you make it, and I've seen parents push their children into fields other than the creative and musical arts, when the child clearly has a great aptitude/desire for them and finds his/her happiness in pursuing music.

Possible careers in musical arts:

Musician
Instrument maker
Piano tuner
Music therapist
Instrument salesperson
Songwriter
Choral director
Conductor
Singer
Music teacher
Music critic
Composer
Music arranging
Television/Radio
Music librarian/historian
Recording engineer/editing
Music software
Disc jockey
Virtual reality - internet, games, programs

Posted by: ToriAnais

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 06:56 AM

He looks like he'd be a great kid to teach - great energy. I'd definitely put him into lessons because while he's very musical, his technique needs to be corrected so he doesn't hurt himself. He's using very odd fingerings in the second video!! Shop around for the right teacher for him - I think you'll find it'll be worth it.
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By: EDWARDIAN
Cute kid! And smart.

I would go with a private teacher to see where it goes. I've taught a couple 4-year-olds myself, and start them with 15-minute lessons. They've usually been younger siblings of my students. Better to start them off gently and let the lesson time increase as they get a bit older and their attention span increases,

Take a page from Sesame Street - the lessons should be short and varied. Not too much of one concept if it becomes tedious. Above all they should be fun. If not, discontinue. You definitely do not want him to be turned off to music.

Good luck to you & your adorable child.

Joan


one thing that we were thinking of asking of a teacher is that s/he allow for improvisation and free play on the piano at the end of the lesson.
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: lotuscrystal
Adorable child...looks very animated, creative, and theatrical smile

I say, get him into private lessons...
Thanks. smile Yes, we won't steer him away from it, but we don't want to push it either. Another career in music is the one my wife has gone to after mostly stopping her singing--- artist management.
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: mitts_off
He looks like he'd be a great kid to teach - great energy. I'd definitely put him into lessons because while he's very musical, his technique needs to be corrected so he doesn't hurt himself. He's using very odd fingerings in the second video!! Shop around for the right teacher for him - I think you'll find it'll be worth it.
yes, his 234 fingered triads are pretty awkward!
Posted by: EDWARDIAN

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/02/09 06:39 PM

Definitely improvisation should be "allowed" . . . and encouraged! Many of my students make up tunes, and I always take the time to listen to them, and encourage it. Two of them developed a tune, and after a bit of coaching and guidance added the left hand to their right hand melody. They were so proud! A great learning experience in more ways than one.

Be sure your teacher is open to this as your son seems to love improvisation. Too rigid a teacher - a my-way-or-the-highway teacher may not be a good fit. His creativity should be developed, not squashed. Yes, he needs structure, but encouragement also for his wonderful spirit.

Joan
Posted by: Standalone

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/09/09 11:24 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19tMlhqSSA0
some handel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtySKxu6KUg
some guthrie

smile
Posted by: Klavierspielen

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/11/09 02:16 PM

In my opinion (as a Suzuki teacher), he sounds the perfect student for a Suzuki approach, and will EXCEL under good instruction. The fact that he already has a developed ear will allow him to progress quickly. A good teacher will know when (and where and how!) to "hold him back" in terms of not advancing to harder pieces before he has established the proper technique.

Many people may not realize that Suzuki is about much more than just "learning songs by ear" at the beginning. Yes, they learn by ear, but this is to facilitate tone quality and beautiful technique from the earliest beginning stages. When you are 4 years old and don't have to think "Is that a D or an E on the staff", you are free to concentrate on hand position, good sound, dynamics, etc. etc.

Then, because you can already play many songs well, full of musicality, you find reading and understanding musical form to be much easier. If you DO decide to go the Suzuki route, make sure you have an excellent teacher. There are some amazing ones, and some not-so-good ones out there. Visit a recital first, if possible.

Regardless of whether he pursues a future musical career, he will probably have fun and make friends with music his entire life!

-Klavierspielen
Posted by: Ken S

Re: What next for a talented 4 year old? - 08/11/09 02:56 PM

At age 4, the introduction of daily music with some structure is just another routine like brushing teeth at the same time each day. The child won't feel "pushed" or "forced" if he loves his teacher and enjoys his lessons. Both of my kids, now teens, started in fun group classes around age four, where they did a lot of singing, rhythm and coordination work, along with keyboard skills. Neither of my kids could do what Standalone's boy does when they were little, but with lots of exposure, encouragement, and good teachers, they're both on their way to a lifelong love of music, and at very least the capability of playing for pleasure. My parents gave me the gift of a piano to play on, lessons, and some loving discipline, and I'm determined to pass it on!