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Piano lessons - when to start and how to keep it fun

(10 Posts)
sittinginthesun Thu 09-Jun-11 14:09:35

My DS1 is 7 and currently in Year 2. We have a piano at home, and DH plays well. I don't play, but played the flute to Grade 8, so have a fair idea of the basics.

Both my DH and I love music, and I have been really concerned to ensure that we encouraged our boys to find enjoyment in playing. I know if so many people who started lessons young, and then dropped out because it was too rigid/too much practise etc.

So far, I have been able to teach DS1 myself (DH is always too busy!), and we are half way through the second book of a scheme. He's enjoying it and plays when he is in the mood, but I don't set out a specific time for it.

I am however looking into him starting lessons when he starts Year 3. He's quite keen, but I feel quite caught between making sure he has some structure with it and does his Grades etc, and not putting him off.

Any experiences/tips welcome please. x

chillistars Thu 09-Jun-11 20:22:25

DS is in year 1, one of the older children in the year. He's been having piano lessons for about 4 months, his best friend's Mum is a piano teacher and he fancied having a go. We keep it low key and go through the scheme book, I don't plan on getting him to think about grades at least until year 3 unless the teacher says otherwise.

Psychpineapple Thu 09-Jun-11 20:27:17

I have a child who sounds like your son and not particularly enthusastic but likes the idea of music.

I have a child who lives for music.

My child who likes music plays a different instrument every couple of years, has term time lessons, practices when reminded for about 10 minutes (prob 3/4 times a week). Seen about once a week during the holidays. Taken grade 1 in every instrument but doesn't progress. BUT is enjoying themselves, plays with cadets etc.

My child who lives for music plays 3 instruments, and practices for up to an hour a day on piano, and 20-30 minutes on clarinet (finds this one tiring due to the blowing) 10 minutes a day on recorder (not keen on this one). Is very self motivating and I am sure will go far.

As a child I was the my first child I describe, and am Grade 4 on 7 instruments, my sister is like my second child I describe and is Grade 8 on two instruments.

I would personally say don't have high expectations of grades, but allow the pleasure of it.

quirrelquarrel Fri 10-Jun-11 18:35:24

Seven instruments! That's something to be proud of.

I started when I was 8. My learning was a bit messed up, between teachers and teenagery style unenthusiasm. If you do Grades, it's v. easy to cut corners. I didn't mind practising (although there was a time when I "practised" the 10 minutes away with one hand aimlessly meandering up and down C major scale and the other hand holding a book grin), but I'm not musical and very very uncoordinated (dyspraxic). It might have been better if my first teacher had set me up with theory from the very start (I made acquaintance with the concept of a treble clef for the first time when I was 12), but I was never going to be the all-musical, several instruments kid. What I can advise is find a firm teacher- err on the side of firmness instead of pushover- and make sure they know all about exam procedure and are very confident with their different materials/introducing theory to a young child. Seven is a great age to start, at that age, sightreading can be learnt very easily.

Psychpineapple Fri 10-Jun-11 22:21:47

Quirrelquarrel - very true about theory that's why I never went any further didn't have the theory exam and no inclination to which is necessary for grade 5.

Bonsoir Mon 20-Jun-11 15:02:13

I'm interested in similar - my DD is 6.7 and has been doing "singing club" as an extra-curricular activity at school all year. Her teacher (who knows her well and has been teaching her singing at school for three years) has twice said to me now that DD ought to do proper singing lessons as she has a lovely voice. DD has also asked me for piano lessons. I have been reticent up until now as DD is bilingual and it seemed to me, and based on various conversations I have had, that learning to read in two languages was enough to deal with for the time being without adding in music. But the reading in both languages is coming on nicely and so I am thinking of putting her in the conservatoire from September. But I so want it to be fun for her, not a chore.

JemimaMop Mon 20-Jun-11 20:45:29

Bonsoir my DC are bilingual too. DS1 began playing the piano when he was in Year 2 (aged 7) and loves it. He also sings in a choir.

Bonsoir Mon 20-Jun-11 21:31:47

JemimaMop - has your DS1 learned to read in both his languages and learned to read music too?

JemimaMop Tue 21-Jun-11 07:34:30

Yes.

He was taught to read his first language from Reception, then taught to read his second from Year 3, although TBH he had taught himself to read in it by then and just needed help with phonics etc.

He passed his prep test in December and will do Grade 1 at the end of this year.

sevenseas Fri 24-Jun-11 01:15:26

I think if children start young they may progress at a slower rate than if they are older, but it can still be very enjoyable for them as long as they are allowed to take things at their own pace.

DD started at 6, and she enjoyed learning, mainly with the incentive of musical evenings at her previous school, and would practice approx 3 times a week. She eventually took her Grade 1 after nearly 3 years learning the piano partly because she had to change schools and teacher and partly because we were away quite a bit (holidays and trips overseas with no practice).

Since taking Grade 1 her playing has flourished, mainly because it was only in preparing for her exam that her teacher - and I - realised that she could not sight read for toffee, so we helped her with lots of practise and her confidence has really improved.

She is now learning some fun, quite jazzy pieces and practices most days - with some prompting - and I have no idea when she will be entered for Grade 2.

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