Good home-school piano lessons for toddlers? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 09-11-2010, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is almost 28 months old. She's been attracted to and in love with our piano since about a year old. She likes to "play" her own songs that she makes up as she goes, and she likes to take her story books (particularly Cinderella) and put it up at the piano and pretend she is playing a song from it, while she is singing. I would love to start to do some piano teaching exercises with her to start teaching her some of the notes and how to read music, but I really have no clue where to start. I never took piano lessons, I just figured it out myself based on my music knowledge from years of playing Clarinet.

Do any of you know of some downloadable piano lessons I could get online and then print off to use? Or any good books of piano lessons for toddlers?
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#2 of 11 Old 09-11-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I always use Alfred's books...that's how I learned to play as a college student, and it's how I'll be teaching my 3 year old to play. It doesn't go down to toddlers (the youngest age range for the books in the Alfred's collection is 5 years old), but I have one of the children's books, and I just break down each lesson into multiple smaller lessons so it's easier for a preschooler to understand.

But honestly, at 2 years old, and just barely 2 years old at that, I'd just let her explore the sounds of the piano however she wants to play it. IMO, she's really too young to be learning finger placement and the like (and likely, her hands aren't even big enough for proper finger placement). But the best thing for a toddler is just being able to tinker with it and hear different sounds and volumes.

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#3 of 11 Old 09-11-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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We started our son in MusicTogether at 18 months. He quickly got bored with that and luckily our local university offers a musical play class for 2 to 5. Ut's more affordable and more fun than our local MT. When my daughter was born she got to join in at a month of age. Right from the start she clearly loved it. My son doesn't want to go any more but my daughter gets to start going on her own now that she's 2. They play lots of games with music. Perhaps you could find something through your local university. Music Together and Kindermusic are just so expensive, but some people love them.

We got a piano from freecycle specifically so our toddlers could play with it. (We had it tuned to make sure they are hearing proper sounds.)

Although our kids love playing on it, I have no plans to start piano lessons until they are old enough to ask for them and have brains that are developed enough to comprehend what they are doing.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#4 of 11 Old 09-11-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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We are a fairly musical family (dh and I are both classically-trained vocalists with some piano background). Our dd is 4.5 and is well aware of what sheet music looks like, understands chords, has discovered octaves and intervals, understands rhythm, and has a very tonal singing voice. We just sing around her and we have a piano with music out and she plays around with that. When she was 2 I taught her how to play a 2-note chord and she has remembered it ever since. I do not plan on teaching her any sort of formal piano until around 7-8. My reasons being: 1) I don't want her to burnout by getting frustrated, 2) I just don't think she has the patience or the cognitive abilities to adequately learn to read music, 3) there's plenty of time and she has so many other things she needs to know. I think Suzuki piano would work well for a little one. That's pretty much what we do with voice. Dd knows hundreds of songs and understands pitch and rhythm simply by being immersed in it. Probably the best thing you can do is to take up piano yourself and just play with your child around. We play song rhythm clapping games when we're stuck in the car, too. I think the absolute youngest I would teach formal piano (non-Suzuki) would be age 5, and that would be the youngest. I don't know if they still sell them, but I prefer the Bastien series for younger kids. Those were always my favorite because they had colorful pictures and were far more "fun" for littles. As a teen, the Alfred Basic Piano series is a good one. I know the Bastien books come with Music Theory books as well as piano music, so you'd probably want to get something like that.

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#5 of 11 Old 09-11-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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I recently had a piano teacher told me (she is a very serious teacher) that she would never take a student under the age of 5. She said their fingers just aren't long enough. Curious if others have heard this as well?
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#6 of 11 Old 09-12-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tammyw View Post
I recently had a piano teacher told me (she is a very serious teacher) that she would never take a student under the age of 5. She said their fingers just aren't long enough. Curious if others have heard this as well?
I've heard that too. I've also heard teachers say that they won't take a child who doesn't know how to read, at least at a beginning reader level, because it's much easier to teach them to read music, again even at a very beginner's level (the kind with pictures of the keys and all that), once they understand how to read.

DD is really obsessed with the piano for some reasons, and keeps asking to learn how to play the piano. I'm not entirely sure where this came from, as we don't even own one! She just loves them. I am hoping to be able to get one by the time she is about 6 and to get her lessons then. I would like my kids to learn how to play.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#7 of 11 Old 09-12-2010, 05:12 AM
 
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Those Alfred Books look great. . .both my kids have taken piano lessons but since moving haven't even touched a piano since May. I've been looking for a new teacher, but haven't found one. Maybe we'll do these Alfred books together.

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#8 of 11 Old 09-12-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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My six year old takes piano lessons...and while she's always been attracted to music...I could NOT imagine her trying to learn at that age. In my opinion, it is just too young, unless your child is one of those who, at two, can play Mozart from ear.

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#9 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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We just let the kids (3 1/2 and 20 months) goof around on the piano. I think they're learning just by playing that the low notes are at one and the high notes are at the other ... that when you press to keys you get a combination of sounds ... etc. I like to let them learn by experimenting at this age Plus, I can't imagine my 3yo buckling down and actually completing a lesson of any kind!
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#10 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tammyw View Post
I recently had a piano teacher told me (she is a very serious teacher) that she would never take a student under the age of 5. She said their fingers just aren't long enough. Curious if others have heard this as well?
That sounds pretty bogus to me. My 7yo, who is the size of and average 5yo, has had two very successful years of piano study already and was the only piano student under 13 asked to perform on our regional music festival hnours concert. I doubt that teacher has ever investigated how to teach young children. Thousands of Suzuki teachers do it every day. It can certainly be very successful, though you naturally can't teach a 4yo the same way you would teach an 8yo.

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#11 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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To the OP: Look into Alice Kay Kanack's "Musical Improvisation for Children." Not the one that has piano in the title, just the regular one with the rainbowy cover. It's not about teaching technique or theory or fingering. It's a story- and soundscape-based approach to improvisation, musical expression, musical appreciation and play. Hands-on on the keyboard, joyful, open-ended and entirely developmentally appropriate for toddlers, IMO.

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