teaching your own child

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Does anyone have any advise on teaching your own child to play piano? She is almost 6 years old shows definate interest, and is eager to learn. Is it a bad idea-would she stay interested longer if she is learning from someone else besides "mom".

-- lisa David (lisa472@hotmail.com), September 24, 2001


One thing that's always been real important to me in my learning experience is being able to practice ALONE. Now, I know if the piano is in the house, it's hard to be completely alone. However, you being the student's mother might drive you to turn every "practice session" into a "lesson." What I'm saying is she needs to have at least some practice time to herself. This I do know from experience: a person can become self-concious about his/her playing real quick if they always feel like someone's looking over his/her shoulder watching for mistakes. Most of all, though, if she's ready to quit, LET HER QUIT. Whether it be just quitting for the day, or quitting altogether, the choice must be hers. If there is one sure-fire way of burning out a child, it's to push them to the limit. You may see me mention this in several of my responses on this board, that's because it's VERY important. I know living examples of people who might otherwise love to play the piano who instead absolutely hate it because their parents wouldn't let them quit. That being said, I say give it a try. You can always take her to someone else if it doesn't work out. Hope this helps!

-- Andrew (superfriend2k@yahoo.com), September 24, 2001.


It seems to me to be a great idea to spend a lot of time with your child doing musical prep work, that is, teach your child to sing and play lots of different songs by ear and by rote--folk songs, nursery songs, family favorites. Using one finger to do this is fine. Also play duets together as often as possible (chopsticks, heart & soul, down at pappa joe's, anything fun and catchy that you can both play). If you can help your child learn to sing and listen and play, and ultimately pick out tunes by ear without your help, you will have done a terrific job of preparing your child for actual lessons. I believe this should all be done without any note reading or fingering issues or counting-you might just mention that real piano lessons will deal with those issues.

After some months of music making with your child, you could then decide, based on your experience together up to that point, whether or not it would work for you to be the piano teacher. But I wouldn't worry about formal piano lessons until your child has a good background in playing by ear and by rote. Have fun.

-- Alan (Noname_Poster@yahoo.com), September 28, 2001.

Just play with her (one-finger tunes, chopsticks, etc) and let her play a tune as you play it, a couple of octaves up or down, so that she just learns to enjoy the piano. Then, gradually begin to "teach" as you go. Don't you use much the same system as you home school. We did. Some simple tunes like nursery rhymes, Sunday School songs, etc, can be played easily by "ear" and copied (with one hand) as she learns to enjoy just being at the piano. I'm teaching a granddaughter, who played around for awhile and now wants to get serious about the piano. Eventually, she'll need a more accomplished teacher, but this is working for now. She's now progressed to playing with both hands, simple tunes, reading music rather well, counting, so the tune moves as it should, etc.

-- Rosecarol (deatline@globalsite.net), October 05, 2001.

Hi Lisa,

-- Linda Cordsen (lcordsen@gedco.com), April 07, 2003.

Hi Lisa, I started to teach my youngest son three years ago - he is now 10 years old. Right from the start I had the feeling that it would work. He was very open to the idea and is usually very motivated in everything that he does. It has worked out well so far and he seems to be able to make a shift in his thinking at the time of his lesson. He usually thinks of me then as his teacher and does not call me "Mom" but instead "Mrs. ....". This is one thing that I asked him to do in his very first lesson and he likes it in fact. Another student that he knows has a lesson just before him so he gets to see how that student works with me and he follows suit (most of the time). There have been some lessons where he doesn't cooperate and it is usually that he is tired or has had a bad day at school. Sometimes then I put the lesson on hold and we complete it some other time. One important thing is to have s scheduled lesson and stick to it. It is easy to stick to it when you have other students who have lessons the same day. Your child simply becomes one of "the students". I also have an older son and I knew that it would not work for me to teach him. He and I just "locked horns" too often about other things like homework and so it was better for him to have another teacher. One more thing about teaching your own child. Try to stay out of his practice time as much as possible. You have already done the teaching - let him do the practicing. If you hear or see something that is an obvious big blunder or if he is getting sloppy about things then I would say it is time to step in, as I would hope any parent would do if they were listening to their shild practice. Otherwise leave the correcting to the next lesson and deal with it then. Good luck. Linda

-- Linda Cordsen (lcordsen@gedco.com), April 07, 2003.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ