Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to teach your own kid how to play the piano - Part 1

I have a lot to try and share, but let me start off with a disclaimer:
  • I am not a great pianist.  I'm a Prefers To Not Play Any Black Keys kind of pianist.  You don't have to be a virtuoso (or even good) to teach your child piano, you just have to be a good teacher
Today I'll start out by talking about materials.  Suzuki is a learn-by-ear/mother tongue method, and so when I was recruited to teach group piano lessons a few years back, I went with that.  Somehow, for me, learning without sheet music on the violin makes total sense, but it didn't work on piano.  The piano is so visual, and the books are so well-written, I ended up buying my students some piano books and they taught themselves easily.  I'm not knocking Suzuki piano - if I was trained in it, maybe I would have done better, but these new method books are so kid-friendly it's amazing.

My mom is a veteran piano teacher and is now teaching my nephew and sister-in-laws, so I called her before I went shopping for material.  She told me she uses the Alfred Prep Course, and that in mind, I looked through our local store's selection.

Of everything I saw, this was the best for WonderGirl's age group (preschooler).  There are engaging pictures, lyrics, simple duet parts easy enough for me to play with her - and every technique is dissected into the easiest possible increments.  Plus, the Prep Course has companion books - there's a book of solos, a book for exercises and a book for theory, activities, flashcards and more- and they all correspond with each other.  For example - on the top right-hand corner of the pages of the Lesson book, it lists what pieces from the Solo book they are ready to play at that point.   There are so many resources, it's dizzying!  For now all I'm using is the Lesson Book Level A with WonderGirl, but I am planning on branching out to the other books soon.  I thought it would be overwhelming for a 4 year old, but everything is broken down into such small steps that it is completely manageable for us.  I'm teaching a 7 year old boy from church right now, and he's using the Lesson, Technic and Solo books together seamlessly.

Besides doing the in-person teaching part (which is another beast, we'll discuss that soon), all the busy work is done for me!  There are a many piano methods out there for ALL ages (Alfred alone has dozens of options) - and for my daughter, this was the best fit.  Do some research yourself for what works for you and your child.  Are there any method books you rave about?  Let me know!


Jane said...

I prefer the Matrix method where they plug it into my head. :)

Julie said...

Thank you for providing this information. Can't wait to start teaching my boys. I'll be checking in with you frequently.

Anonymous said...

Is "John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course" a good book?

Anonymous said...

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