Learning how to play the piano can be pretty difficult even for grown-ups. If you want to make learning the piano as easy and efficient as possible for your child, there are some things that you can do. Following is a list of useful tips that you can implement on your own to enhance the piano learning ability of your kids.
You’ll see clear improvements as you apply some of the following tips. You will speed up you child’s learning ability possibly by months during the first year of lessons. If you cover all the recommendations you will be perfectly prepared to help the little ones experience big leaps in performance.
1. Buy a piano. This is the first step. It may seem like something obvious for you, but if it doesn’t then read on to better understand the benefits of owning a piano. When starting to learn how to play a musical instrument, children need to practice as much as they can between lessons. If they are not able to practice between lessons, they will not be able to make significant progress. So, don’t think about piano lessons until you don’t own a piano and your child is not comfortable with the musical instrument.
Ideally you would want an acoustic piano, but there are so many cases where digital pianos would be preferable. Acoustic pianos have many advantages but also disadvantages like size, weight and price. Digital pianos on the other hand fit in most spaces, most are very portable and they have many tones and effects. Manufacturers have made some big leaps in technology and with some models, the difference in touch and sound are almost unrecognizable, when compared to acoustic pianos.
Aside from these obvious advantages, digital pianos have so many features that will help your child not only learn playing it faster, but the entire experience will be so much more fun. When choosing a digital piano, look for weighted keys, touch sensitivity, pedals, a firm stand, and a sound that matches the one of acoustic pianos. I recommend you read some reviews before deciding on a certain model. If you don’t have the time to do that, I recommend Casio PX850 or Yamaha Arius YDP-V240. These two models have everything your little one needs to learn playing the piano. The advantage with these two models is that you will not have to change them to something better as your child progresses.
2. Don’t put the piano in the loneliest part of your house or in the same space where your TV is. These are two of the most common reasons why children will not feel like practicing: they hate staying in the most secluded corner of the house or the rest of the family will watch TV and they will be far to distracted. If you’re hiding your piano in the loneliest part of your house your child thinks it’s an unimportant and useless object. Setting it up to compete with the TV will just raise conflict in your family.
3. If you have an acoustic piano, always keep it in tune! If you already have an acoustic piano, great. But you need to keep it tuned and clean. This is not really a financial burden, as it is a comfort one. You will have to book a piano tuner near you and be at home while he’s taking care of the piano. Your child will not enjoy playing an acoustic piano that is out of tune, and you will not appreciate the sound for extended periods of time either.
4. Let your child get accustomed to the presence of the piano in your house for months, even years, before starting lessons. This is ultimately up to you but it’s preferable you own a piano for a period of time before starting piano lessons. The presence of the piano will make your child feel comfortable with it and even trying to explore it on his own. This leads us to our next useful tip:
5. Encourage your child to play around with the piano before beginning lessons. Your child will develop a familiar sense towards the layout of the keys. He will understand the difference between black and white keys and the tonal distribution (high notes towards the right and low notes towards the left end. He will also learn the effects a piano has, for example when pressing a key in a lighter or harder manner, as well as the sustain effect of pedals. This practice will save weeks of piano lessons that you would have paid otherwise.
6. Purchase a piano bench that is height adjustable. Sitting at the right height and maintaining the perfect position is a big part of playing the piano. It can make the difference between a comfortable experience and a very uncomfortable one. Some think few cushions will do the job, but in reality it’s nothing but improvising. Give your child the ability to have the right posture even as he grows up.
7. Pay attention to what your child discovers at the piano and, when it’s the right time, talk with them about their discoveries. Does your child play the same thing over and over again? Or does he play different musical pieces? Does he pick out tunes or does he role play? Does he play across the full length of the keyboard or does he restrict his playing to a certain area?
Paying attention to the way your child is interacting with the piano is essential to being able to talk with him about it. Talking with your child about his discoveries is validating and consolidating them. This is a sure way to give your child the confidence he needs to make great progress in learning how to play the piano.
8. Make sure your child knows the difference between their right and left sides. This aspect goes beyond making a difference between right and left. Any action, even during playing, that involves movement or coordination between his left and right side of the body will contribute to his ability to better master the piano.
9. Knowing the alphabet from A to G, and maybe back, will be be very helpful for your child. This is a concept that will not be covered during the first few lessons. If he can understand that the musical alphabet flows from A to G, repeating itself over and over then you might save a lesson. If he can also think backward from G to A, then he made the foundation to orienting himself on the keyboard.
10. Show your child a treble and bass clef. And explain that the treble is for high notes, the bass for low notes. If you don’t have any experience with music or musical instruments, then you might not know what a treble and bass clef is. Basically these are two symbols that are used in music writing to represent the notes that are played on the left and right side of the piano. The treble clef, particularly, is a general symbol for music. Your child may have seen it before just never quite understood what it represents (basically it means the notes on the top half of the piano). Understanding and distinguishing between these concepts will put him on fast forward towards learning how to play the piano, enabling the piano teacher to approach more complex musical pieces sooner.
I’m sure there are other tips that might be helpful but if every child who was just beginning to play the piano would have all of these aspects covered, the entire experience would be more fun and rewarding.