Piano tuition - where to start?(16 Posts)
How did your kid start to learn to play the piano? Does anyone have advice as to what sort of teaching options are about for small children. I play and whilst life is busier for me now its weekly at the least. My dd6 is interested but quite oppositional to me and she doesn’t want to copy what I do, she does the opposite! She will bang the keys etc if I’m with her but I see her sit there by herself and tinkle so know she’s interested. I taught myself at about 14 and played very well as a teen but that’s not a great way to learn properly. My music reading was also self taught and is far below my playing standard so don’t feel able to teach it. I’m actually a teacher (in a different subject) but seem unable to manage the one child I should be able to actually teach!
I’d like her to play, I think she’d love it once she got the basics and I want to give her the chance.
Does anyone have any tips for where to start? Do tutors teach in a small group setting? Like two kids to one tutor as they get the hang of the basics. I think she’d be better to start with if there were other children doing it too. I can't find anything locally that looks like anything other than bog standard tuition, which I think she's too young and immature for. It may also put her off. Any advice or your own experiences welcome.
I teach piano but I do not teach my own children. My very young beginner pupils start around 6/7 years old and start with 20 minute individual lessons. Have you done a Google search for a local teacher? Or perhaps you're in a local Facebook page and could ask in there if there are any piano teachers in the local area? It's great she has you at home to help with practise!
I was so lucky. I had an old lady who lived down my street, who was a registered teacher, but she taught as more of a hobby. Charged £4 per lesson, the lessons lasted about 1-2 hours because she loved to talk, but fairplay she got me to grade 5 within 4 years. She was lovely. And this was only about 15 years ago. I've tried to have lessons since with various teachers, but it's hard to get started at a high grade again and it's so expensive and time consuming with a job and family. But worth shopping around and finding someone you like, teaching styles vary so greatly.
I've not heard of piano being taught in a group. I've heard of it with keyboard but not that common either. You definitely think piano not a more group-oriented instrument?
What does your DD think about the idea of having lessons? One of mine was adamant not and learned at home for a couple of years first, one was keen and started lessons from year 1.
DS who learned at home is also quite - let's say - independent minded. What we ended up with is having a "lesson" with me once a week, I'd write down what to practice and he'd practice it. On the other hand DD who does have lessons usually also needs a bit of help with practice at 6, it's quite little to practice alone. So in terms of needing to work with you could go either way!
For DS what I did was go through the first few Piano Adventures books (Primer, book 1, book 2a etc, there are other series too) which I think are brilliant, specially if you play so can play the duet parts. Actually DD who did want lessons I took through PA Primer at home first to make sure she was going to be prepared to practise and not change her mind. Maybe have a look? If you work through a teaching book it kind of teaches them to read music as you go along, you don't need to teach it yourself.
I don't think 6 is too young at all, but you do need a teacher who is good with and enjoys teaching 6 yr olds and will aim for them to have fun not make super fast progress. If you talk to a few local teachers they'll probably tell you who is good with littlies.
That's actually a good idea to maybe get in contact with teachers to ask their advice. Rather than for their services. That hadn't occurred to me! And books, yes. And actually I've just remembered tight now there's a lovely music shop - I may go in there and ask. I bet they'd know something.
I have googled and had a look at a few but still not really any clue what's right or best. I spoke to a local music charity who provide music tuition and stuff to schools etc to see if they had any links to piano teaching for little ones but they didn't have much to say. I am worried about putting her off. I want her to enjoy it first. With me she doesn't! I was just wondering if anyone had experienced a way of teaching at that age that worked well.
She has said she'd like lessons but I don't thinks she knows what that means. I think she'd be good though. She holds her hands and wrists perfectly, like a natural really. I think it's the best instrument as I understand and I know lots of ways to help her practice and music to inspire her down the line. I'd love her to do drums but in our house....not fair really. At school they are doing ukulele. This is a struggle as she really can't work out if she wants to play left or right handed (she writes left) and I've restrung it several times now and she has made no progress. She can't get comfortable with it. She's shown no inclination to anything else. Piano would be good for her, confidence in being able to do something her peers might not and a way to escape as she struggles with many aspects of day to day life. I want her to have a chance to find as much love for playing as I do. I was always told to shut up!
Thanks for your comments everyone.
My 5 year old has 1:1 lessons through a company who come to her school. She loves it and is doing well so far. Her lessons are only 20 mins so she doesn’t get bored.
Actually DD did start off in a group. It was general music and then they introduced keyboard. There was about 6 of them.
She now has an individual teacher. It was a good way to start as individual lessons are expensive and we now know she is actually interested.
How about Suzuki? They are good at teaching young age. You can search local Suzuki teachers on the internet. Many of Suzuki kids I know seem to love their lessons and some are as young as 3 yo.
You can change the learning method later on, when you feel your dd is ready to learn in a more traditional way. I don't mean Suzuki is only for younger ones - of course you can stay with it if it works. I just see the case of switching from Suzuki to traditional quite often, whereas I've never seen the other way round. So I assume it's a good method for those who want to start young and also easy to change the learning method if needed.
As a left handed person, I would leave the ukulele the normal way round, the right hand is not doing anything complex at that age so it should be no problem. It is harder if you swap as chord charts are harder, tab doesn't work, if she goes onto another string instrument it is unlikely teachers will want to do it left handed, it's not just the strings that need swapping, it really needs a different instrument set up inside. I was given a choice of playing guitar left handed by my first teacher, but warned of the hassle ahead, I stuck with ' normal' way of playing. My DD loves her ukulele, she looks up songs on you tube with chords below, she is quite independent with it and sings away! Have you thought about recorder as well? Fun to be able to play with others. Piano does give a very good logical grounding though, but mine were all 7 when they started.
I started at seven. Individual lessons that were no too long and I loved them.
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Horseymum the ukulele is the normal way now. It was the teacher who said I should do it if my dd wanted because she kept picking it up and using it the wrong way around in the class and seemed to naturally want it that way round. But you're right, the confusion of different chords and positions has made it just as hard so I swapped back. Needed new strings which are taking a while to settle so sounding not great right now! But really, she is not really interested in the instrument. She asked to swap the other way again but I'm not going to.
She's not interested in the recorder either. Though she'll be doing the recorder next year at school so may decide differently then.
With the right teacher 20 minutes 1:1 will pass fast. A good teacher for that age group will incorporate some games and fun and switch things up if child looks like getting distracted. In a way group lessons have to be more rigid.
You might find it helps for you to sit in on lesson too so you can see what they're supposed to be practising. My kids learn piano at school which has the disadvantage that I will tell DS something is wrong and he'll swear blind that's how teacher told him to do it! Of course she didn't, but Parents Are Always Wrong.
It's not the end of the world if you try now then decide to leave it a couple of years. So if she's liking the idea of lessons I'd ask around and see what you find.
I am a professional music teacher- I teach my own 6 year old DD and it's going really well. I find it works great as we have a 20ish minute lesson every week- if she wants to do a bit more or a bit less then that's fine too.
She then wonders up to practise most days - occasionally I stick my head in and make a suggestion but mostly I can hear her anyway so leave her to it.
I used Tunes for 10 fingers to get started which she's rattled through
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