Teaching Piano/ Music - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-24-2003, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I ahve a three and half year old.
I want to start teaching her some music- more formally.

I know how to read music, from years past.
I wanted to start her on a small keyboard we have.

I ahve no idea how to go abotu this, even what are good songs to start with, how to explain rythm, etc.

Any ideas?

In a few months, she will probly be in some music classes, but they are more "jam" sessions- instruments will be avaible to her in a classroom setting with other kids, but no formal trainging.

PS- Although I dont mind buying a book, or finding it at the library- I cant afford more than a $10 item, so I am not necessarily looking for a huge curriculum, or anything.
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#2 of 8 Old 04-24-2003, 08:24 PM
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No ideas to share, but I will watch this thread with you, as I would like to start teaching DD as well and could have written your post!
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#3 of 8 Old 04-24-2003, 09:52 PM
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We've started recorder with my 7 yr old son- as Waldorf methods suggest. We aren't teaching him to "read" the music yet- he just follows along with me and he seems to be picking it up just fine. My almost four year old has her own recorder, and although she can't finger the notes, she can toot the rythem along. What the Waldorf material suggests for young children is pentatonic music- so folk songs, rounds, easy rythems are usually good. Usborne has a big book of recorder tunes for $10. I know you specifically asked about keyboard, but I just wanted to share our experience.
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#4 of 8 Old 04-24-2003, 10:13 PM
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We also have recorders for our younger children. We got our book from Oak Meadow. I bought it used from Ebay. I know it wasn't more than $10. My kids love it. I love the way it explains things. My 10 year old plays guitar and does really well. I think you have to be a little older, like at least 8, to start that, though.

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#5 of 8 Old 04-26-2003, 12:20 AM
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Could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by formal? Is this something your child is asking for?

I used to teach piano and wasn't comfortable taking children under 5 or 6 because the parents usually seemed far more interested than their kids. (That said, a good friend of mine at the time was, when much younger, driven to the point that she practically demanded lessons from her parents by 4.)

I think it's more important for young children to "feel" music than to have formal training. You can learn an awful lot about rhythm and harmony by singing folk songs and rounds, doing clapping and finger games... and moving to music. There are some excellent books available for early childhood educators (that's the trick... they're rarely with parenting books) that contain many of the songs, rhymes and games that seem lost to many of my generation. We have copies of "Musical Games, Fingerplays and Rhythmic Activities for Early Childhood" by Wirth, Strassevitch, Shotwell and Stemmler and "Sally Go Round the Sun" by Edith Fowke. The latter amazing, but is unfortunately out of print. It might be available at your library.
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#6 of 8 Old 04-26-2003, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree with the feeling music verses foraml training.
She is very intereste in music, and is looking for something more structured than what I provide- but I dont think if I sat down and did lessons daily about position, notes, rythym, etc- she would stay involved and interested. We are not ready for- say- the Susuki method, but she wants to be able to play songs to her brother.

I will try and find those books, they sound great.

We wont be starting the recorder for some time- but I am glad that I was reminded of it- I ahd totally forgotten. It is indeed a good first instrument.

thanks for all the ideas and sharing of your experience.

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#7 of 8 Old 04-27-2003, 01:02 AM
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I will tell you about my experience with my son because I think it illustrates how interested our children are in the things adults do and it may give you an idea about learning music together with your child.

I started to take violin lessons about 1,5 years ago. My sons came to the lessons with me because the teacher was only available during the day. After a few months my 4 year old asked why I got to have all the fun. My teacher pulled out a small violin and gave him a little five minute lesson and sent him home with a plastic bow to "practise" with. About a year later, he is a pretty competent little "twinkler", to use the Suzuki jargon. Our teacher is using the Suzuki music and some of the Suzuki ideas with him, but mostly she is teaching him what feels right to her. Most weeks he has a ten minute formal lesson at the end of my 50 minute lesson. He practices for 10 to 15 minutes about 4 times a week. He is quite proud of his accomplishments as a violinist.

Most people are amazed that my son takes violin lessons. He is very interested in being a macho male and his great passion in life is to become a firefighter who plays hockey in his spare time, although he also thinks he will continue to play the violin, or perhaps be a conductor of an orchestra, for fun. (He thinks Pinchas Zukerman is pronounced "Pinker Superman.")

My son dances and explores music in other ways, too, but he is a child who has encountered music in a more formal setting and really enjoyed it because the adults around him are enjoying it as well and they are willing to teach him slowly and help him develop his talent slowly.
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#8 of 8 Old 04-28-2003, 10:09 AM
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You have gotten some really good advice here!

With little ones we start out just helping them to find middle C, and then fingering the scales. As long as there is still interest have the child count out the beats and repeat the notes. Check out your local music store and you will find lots of beginner books, just remember that the goal is not to 'finish the book' but to use it as a tool to help you interact with your child and help your child to better interact with the insturment.

Get them comfortabe with the keyboard let them explore the sounds and rythums it can make.

keep your lesson times short and fun and give the child plenty of access to making music creatively so that it is fun and not thought of only as 'work'.

Enjoy and don't get discouraged if your child loses interest quickly. If you enjoy music and allow your child access to it, he too will develop a love for it and want to improve his own music making skills eventually.
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