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Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? #1790845 11/17/11 06:23 PM
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Csillag Offline OP
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Hi,

I am now here, please let me describe my situation.

First off, I am no piano teacher.

I live in Hungary (Europe), and I have been playing the piano from 7 till 17 years of age. During those ten years, I received a basic classical education. (Nothing extra fancy, 2 lessons a week, a few hours of practice between the sessions.)

I really enjoyed it, but when starting the university (100 miles from home), I had to move out from home, and I could not take our old acoustic grand with me. (My siblings still used it, after all.)

Unfortunately, I could not afford to buy an other one, so I started a 12 year long pause in my relationship with the piano. (We have never really broken up, but the distance did separated us.) During my university years, I had many other things to do, so the pain has slowly faded... somewhat.

Now I am 29, with a family of my own, and I can't (and won't) anymore suppress my desire to play the piano again, so I decided to finally get a DP, and start practicing again. Finally, after must deliberation (see http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1780929/1.html , if you are really interested in my quest), I managed to save the money for a Kawai CL-36 DP.

It is going to arrive next week. I think we will have some good time.

Here is the complication: I have two daughters, 4yrs and 2yrs old. The older one is totally into the piano; whenever we enter a room with a piano (for example, at my parents place), she wants to play with it. She often borrows my smartphone, too, to play with the piano app installed there.

I expect that when finally we will have our own DP, she will be all over it.

* * *

I do not plan to start any official education for her yet, but if she wants to explore the DP anyway, and asks me to show her how to do it (like she does with the letters, numbers, clock, etc), then wouldn't it be better to use some tried and working teaching method, instead of just doing what comes into my mind first?

I think I might end up showing her the basics myself. I hope that I am up to it smile (After all, I have 10 years of advantage.) I don't mind spending something like 15-30 minutes per day with this. (Plus about the same amount of time with preparation.)

Of course, later on (when she is about 6/7 years), I plan to switch to formal piano education, if she is still interested.

Now, my questions are:

- Do you think this is a good idea? Or is it likely to end up in a disaster?

- What method / materials would you suggest? I know about Faber's First Piano Adventure book, specifically targeted for the 5yrs age group; what else is there?

Two more things:

1. I am a software engineer, and I like to tinker with computers, so any software aided learning ideas (MIDI games, etc) are welcome.

2. I have not yet mentioned my wife, who is going to be an adult beginner with the Piano. (She had classical training for flute, and has some self-taught guitar skills.) So, we have a re-beginner (me), and adult beginner (my wife), and two young children. A combined learning method (for the whole family) would be nice, too, but I guess that's impossible, so let's just focus on the children now.

Thank you for your help:

Kristof

ps. Since I am not a piano teacher, some might consider my post a violation of some rules. I did not mean to disrespect/offend anyone; if this post is at the wrong place, please feel free to move it where it belongs to.

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Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1790971 11/17/11 11:24 PM
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Can you find a piano teacher in your area?


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Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: bzpiano] #1791026 11/18/11 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Can you find a piano teacher in your area?


I could, but
- around here, official music teaching is only available from the age of six/seven
- it would probably involve regularly taking the child to some kind of school/institution, which is kind of uncomfortable, especially since her attention spans are kind of short an unpredictable.

So I would try to avoid forcing this into rigid, official frames now.

Now I might be able to find a teacher that works outside the official musical education system, and is willing to come to our house for the lessons, but that is no so easy, because I am living in a small (5 thousand souls) town, and even if I find somebody, this would still involve agreeing on a regular time for the lessons, which is hard to do, since our schedule is kind of unpredictable.

So, all in all, while the child is so small, I would prefer doing this ourselves.
This would give us so much more comfort and flexibility.

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791109 11/18/11 08:12 AM
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Being able to keep a steady beat is an important pre-reading skill. I think 4.5 year old would be well served to start with a dance class or "music and movement" class, getting experience listening to music and moving with the music.

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791116 11/18/11 08:24 AM
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Csillaq, what you describe is similar to what I did with my children. Parenting is a "best guess" situation, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

What I did with my children prior to starting formal lessons was:

1. allow them free access to the piano. Follow their lead. Most of the time, their own exploring is all they want and is enough. If they invite you to participate, you can play games, like playing soft, playing loud, letting them make up stories that go with their sounds. But otherwise, just let them explore how to make different sounds. I loved watching my kids discover sounds - things like high and low, single notes versus chords, stringing single notes together into melodies.

2. let them see me playing and enjoying. I truly believe my kids love music so much because they saw how much I loved it. Young children like to imitate. We have lots of videos of them dancing wildly around the living room while I played. It was never, "leave me alone, I'm practicing." Music was for everyone, and to be enjoyed fully. Teaching attitudes about music is so critical.

3. Any "teaching" at this age can be done incidentally. You can pretend to play "piano lessons" much the same way kids like to "play school." You can teach things like up and down, black and white, find middle C, play with individual fingers, etc, by playing "copy cat" - you play, explaining as you go, then she copies.

If you decide to use a method book, such as "Music for Little Mozarts" or something similar, you might want to just read through the book on your own, and use the games and ideas as if they are your own. Setting a book out and making it more formal might backfire.

Approach this much the same way as you approached teaching her numbers or telling time. Take advantage of the interest, and leave off the pressure.

We also didn't start formal lessons until 2nd grade (that is what the teacher we found required, although I think my kids would have done fine starting sooner), and we allowed our children the choice about whether to start or not, with the requirement that once they started, they had to continue for three years, without complaint.

The oldest two took lessons all the way through high school, and are quite proficient. The youngest opted to play violin instead, with just an intermediate level of piano. The middle and youngest both majored in music performance (although neither in piano) in college/conservatory.

I'm sharing my experiences only as an example of what worked for us, not necessarily as the "right" way to do something.

(I'm writing this before my 2nd cup of coffee. Hope it makes sense, and hope it gives you some ideas. Good luck with your daughter and with your own lessons.)


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Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Overexposed] #1791135 11/18/11 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
Being able to keep a steady beat is an important pre-reading skill. I think 4.5 year old would be well served to start with a dance class or "music and movement" class, getting experience listening to music and moving with the music.


Thank you for the idea!

I forgot to tell this, but she is already doing dance classes (Hungarian folk dance, started 2 months ago, to be more specific), an I thing she is doing well. She has no problem with moving in the correct rhythm.

She also listens to a lot of music while at home, and likes to sing along.

So I would say that we have this covered smile

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791481 11/18/11 05:50 PM
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Hi Kristof,
Being Hungarian, and trained as a piano teacher in Hungary I was thrilled to read that you are interested in teaching the piano to your own children. In the last 10 to 12 years I have specialized in teaching the piano to very young children (ages 3 to 7). I work in the UK and teach mainly individually but sometimes in groups. At this age you need to speak the “language” of the child and, working together with my husband, I worked out a very simple “child friendly” method. We use animals to represent the notes – Cat for “C”, Dog for “D” etc. The animals are all of a single syllable so the children sing the names as they play. This helps them to associate the pitch with a given note and establishes a good ear from the start. In addition the animal symbols are printed in the notes to aid the child. All the music is printed in two versions – one with animals in the notes and the other without. The illustrations in the music are the same however, so the child can find the correct music even if he/she is unable to read or write.

When teaching children of this age group it is important to include many different musical elements into the lessons. In this way you will find your children will be able to concentrate easily for a 30 minute lesson (even a three year old). In general in a lesson I will first use the animal note version and then the blank. We will do rhythm/tapping exercises, sight-singing before playing the piece, finger exercises based on the piece, ear-training, composition on a large set of staves, and different types of improvisation. You can find more information on the method at www.dogsandbirds.co.uk.

We especially wrote a supplementary book so that parents can start by teaching their children the material in Dogs and Birds Book 1. This will cover the basic fundamentals of musicianship. The supplementary book contains lesson plans and information on the various musical games. This book is also used by teachers.

The most important thing that you should remember is that the child at this age should see learning the piano as a game. The lesson should be playful, and including all the additional musical elements helps to make it so. These activities will stimulate your child’s imagination and train both the ear and the brain. Please let me know if you would like more information.

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791505 11/18/11 06:19 PM
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In my limited experience of Faber's Piano Adventures (First Adventures, for the young ones), I still prefer Alfred's Basic Piano Library. They have it for young beginners as well. Another option is Bastien (not Piano Party).

I put a 6 year old student in First Piano Adventure, and I don't like it - maybe if he was 4 or younger? Once he is completed this book I'm going to try and switch him to Bastien.

Alfred's and Bastien get them into recognizing notes (quarter, half, whole), and counting right away which I'm finding is better. Maybe it's just my preferred method of teaching.

*disclaimer: I just started teaching again!


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Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791563 11/18/11 08:02 PM
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Dear Lollipop, Elza and ceg_piano,

Thank you for all the advice! I will keep those in mind.

For now, I have ordered the first volumes of
- Faber's "My First Piano Adventure"
- Alfred's "Music for Little Mozarts"
- Suzuki Piano School

I will review these, and try to choose. We might try a few lessons from each, and see what my daughter likes.

I will keep collecting and evaluating other material, too, like Elza's stuff, Children's Musical Journey, etc.

For now, the biggest challenge seems to be that none of these materials are available in Hungarian.

This is not a huge problem with the printed books, where I can just translate everything while staring a new page, but this is a serious drawback with built-in songs, animations, and the like.

Why has not somebody localized these already? (Do I have to do everything myself? smile

* * *

Does anybody have experience with "MusIQ HomeSchool"? ( http://www.musiqhomeschool.com/ )
They offer a "Children's Musical Journey" - based curriculum starting from 4yrs old, designed specifically to be used by parents with their kids.

Thank you:

Kristof

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791614 11/18/11 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Csillag
For now, the biggest challenge seems to be that none of these materials are available in Hungarian.

This is not a huge problem with the printed books, where I can just translate everything while staring a new page, but this is a serious drawback with built-in songs, animations, and the like.

Why has not somebody localized these already? (Do I have to do everything myself? smile
Gosh - lack of materials for teaching music to young children in the land of Kodaly? I'm struggling to get my head around that.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: currawong] #1791782 11/19/11 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by currawong
Gosh - lack of materials for teaching music to young children in the land of Kodaly? I'm struggling to get my head around that.


There are lots of materials; what I could not (yet) found are modern, visually appealing, computer-aided, gaming-oriented approaches, easily accessible for the 4-yrs old - like Alfred's little Mozart, Faber's piano adventures, Adventus's Children's Musical Journey, and the like.

It seems like the standard curriculum still relies on mainly the same material that was used when I began my classical training back in '89. Those materials are OK (for the 6-7 yrs old), but they don't utilize the available modern technology (MIDI, computers, etc), and if possible, I would like to do so.

* * *

Anyway, my research is far from complete: I started to look into this only about 2 or 3 days ago. I might find something wonderful later on.

I will let you know.

Best wishes:

Kristof

Last edited by Csillag; 11/19/11 03:08 AM.
Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791948 11/19/11 11:29 AM
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i like to 'show' younger children how to play..

I think the time to learning ratio is very low for teaching sight reading to those who are not already readers.

They can learn a lot. chords, notes, little scales, little memorized tunes.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1791985 11/19/11 12:49 PM
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The problem is basically rote vs. reading.

Rote is especially good for chords, patterns, because those can be used for exploration, which is really only a kind of improvisation. It's never too early to improvise.

But every week that delays the start of reading will make reading that much harder to teach later, so I would never want to spend less than 50% of lesson time working on developing reading.

I wish people would stop talking about sight-reading, as if it is a separate skill from reading.

It isn't.

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1792122 11/19/11 03:36 PM
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Two methods to try:

Pianimals - slow paced method books with CD's - perfect for non-teachers. see www.pianimals.com

Sing & Play for the youngest student. Fun activities for keeping rhythm and very slowly works into music reading.

Give them a try. I have used them many times for my youngest students with much success.

Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Gary D.] #1792495 11/20/11 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
The problem is basically rote vs. reading.


But every week that delays the start of reading will make reading that much harder to teach later, so I would never want to spend less than 50% of lesson time working on developing reading.

I wish people would stop talking about sight-reading, as if it is a separate skill from reading.

It isn't.


an interesting perspective.. thanks. i just have had trouble teaching that reading goes from left to right in the super young..


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Method for parent teaching a 4.5 years old child? [Re: Csillag] #1792534 11/20/11 11:05 AM
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Gary D, why is reading harder to teach if it is delayed?


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