There isn`t a parent who doesn`t want their child to be good at something and one of the more common aspirations is playing piano. There`s something about being able to dance your fingers across the ivory keys that appeals to both parents and children. The big question on every parent`s lips is "When should my child start piano?"
The younger, the better. We`ve all heard about the likes of Mozart and other child prodigies who began playing at very tender ages, 3 or 4. Getting a child into piano that early means they will have the most time possible playing, even if they don`t end up being extremely gifted in the area of music.
It may appear obvious, but there is a marked difference between a five and six year old learning to play piano. It's not just hand size to reach the piano notes but ability to concentrate too. Basic knowledge in other ways of the world makes a big difference too. For example, knowing the first seven letters of the alphabet.
First, you`ll want to ensure that this isn`t just a passing phase. Most parents do this by requiring their children to take a minimum of one year of piano lessons. This is more than enough time to get a good taste for the music and after a year, a decision can be made, to continue on or to leave it.
Children who instigate the learning process tend to stick with it better than those who are forced into it at an early age, but they may be slower to pick up the concepts behind the music and it can be a bit of a struggle for older children to learn to read music in some cases. However, if the effort is made, it can be an excellent way to learn more about music and no one has ever done poorly because they learned to play the piano.
To make the piano lessons a success, be sure to have a way for your child to practice daily. It`s important they have this opportunity, no matter what their age. While younger is still better, that certainly doesn`t rule out older kids who are interested in learning.
A lot depends 'though on the course offered and the skill of the teacher. When I teach the very little ones I encourage their parents to sit in on the lessons and help to guide their child. I can then lead from the front of the class whilst parents can help to guide their child's hands in to place on the keyboards whilst I move around the class to check that all is well.
Lessons for the very young need to be fast and flexible. Singing, and perhaps even dancing help to develop children's musical skills. Even most adults will find it difficult to concentrate for long if the work is intense.
It not only takes skills in the movements that we produce with our fingers, but our brains have just such a lot to assimilate and analyze. It's only when you think that you're asking a very small child to read two languages at the same time, use their two hands in totally different directions and then put expression and feeling into the music that you begin to realize what a task it is.