2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
66 members (AJB, BMKE, Calikokat, Animisha, B3boy, Catlady, 36251, 16 invisible), 719 guests, and 298 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
L
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Lanky
If you haven’t seen these videos of Paul Barton’s daughter ‘playing’ the piano, I think you will enjoy them
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IYPXeaGuEko

I hope your daughter can be given the opportunity to just explore the sounds she can make

Originally Posted by keystring
This is the first one I ever watched. There's a whole time-line. I like what he's doing. It feels totally right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwduHKyjdEE

At 7:04, you see her playing for the first time. It starts with an infant.

These videos are cute. Thanks for sharing!

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,375
C
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,375
Cute videos perhaps, but they are unfair to help argue the point. The average parent of a piano student cannot play and has not given the highest quality introduction to music at home, a setting where you CAN teach for two or three minutes and then let your child's mind wander.

In formal piano lessons, the teacher usually has to teach for thirty minutes, otherwise the parents won't make the trip out. Also, the discipline at the core of that man's being, and the cultural benefits conveyed by the mother (the value Asian parents place on a piano education) are uncommon and praiseworthy.

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,912
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,912
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Cute videos perhaps, but they are unfair to help argue the point.
If you mean the videos I provided, it was not intended to argue the point. In fact, maybe the opposite. This is a couple, both artists, and I know the husband is a teacher (he has some excellent teaching videos out in fact), and they are homeschooling their daughter, who up to the videos is only 5. The teaching and homeschooling are not haphazard. The timelapse from age 0 to 5 shows systematic, careful, and thought out exposure.

I shared this one yesterday with fellow teachers. I've time stamped it to where it begins with the 2nd stage, for learning to memorize a song. A fair bit of what he says resembles the pedagogy that I learned for the formative years. What precedes the time stamp is where he plays various songs for his daughter, who decides which one she wants to learn.

This is really good, methodological teaching. The important thing is that the "end result", where little Emilie is singing the entire memorized song, looks instant, easy, natural, and spontaneous. Non-musician's, untrained people, those who don't really know how to teach, might want to bulldoze their way into these kinds of results. But if you follow this sequence, you'll see that it starts with literally experiencing "raindrops on roses", learning to pronounce it (English is the child's second language) - later using visual memnonics - later still creating her own. Only then does her father start playing the melody of each phrase which she sings, while having the words and "pictures" firmly in her head. She is 5. Reading words, and doing a series of complicated things on her own would not be age-appropriate.

(I'm thinking you might like what is being done here, Cw).


Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
Originally Posted by Candywoman
...The average parent of a piano student cannot play and has not given the highest quality introduction to music at home, a setting where you CAN teach for two or three minutes and then let your child's mind wander....

Originally Posted by keystring
...This is a couple, both artists, and I know the husband is a teacher (he has some excellent teaching videos out in fact), and they are homeschooling their daughter, who up to the videos is only 5...

This is kind of an important point with regards to the original question. A child can start at home much earlier when the parent(s) are musicians that can help slowly work with the child on the basics.

Even when the parents are not professional teacher per se, they may be able to provide guidance to a child much earlier than when the child is ready for formal lessons. I believe LankyPianist mentioned he/she also plays (if the name itself wasn't a giveaway) so piano homeschooling can start relatively early.

Parents can have more time and patience available so that lessons can be spread out throughout without having everything crammed into a formal 30min-1hr session. And honestly, if things are relatively lighthearted and fun, I think many young children would love spending time with their parents on any activity.

Now it may be arguable that a parent that doesn't play piano can still learn what to work on every week and work along with a younger child at home. Essentially, the formal lesson can be more for teaching the parent what to work on with the child. After all, regardless of the age of the child, and regardless of formal lessons, the parents should be fairly involved at home with regards to practice and learning.

Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
L
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
Yes, I think there really are two questions being discussed here, both of which I asked above.
1. How do you judge a child's readiness for lessons (a particular age or specific criteria)?
2. How could parents help prepare their children?

I didn't take the videos as being an argument for infants beginning formal piano lessons. But I do think that infants can begin exploring the piano from an early age, and if the parents are able they can direct that exploration, just as parents would do with other topics and hobbies.

Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
L
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Parents can have more time and patience available so that lessons can be spread out throughout without having everything crammed into a formal 30min-1hr session. And honestly, if things are relatively lighthearted and fun, I think many young children would love spending time with their parents on any activity.

This has been my experience with virtually any activity. My kids are curious and want to be involved. They enjoy spending time with their parents.

Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
Z
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Z
Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
I think it has a very different answer on very different situations.
I probably started piano at age of 4 like many other family members and family friends. In my case is that there were no many safe children playground around and there were no many children around, my parents probably think also piano can develop better skills and it is a good way to keep me busy.
It was not an easy task for both parents and children, especially for parents who don't know much about piano.
I spent a lot of time to practice because I was forced to do that and so I have lost many other opportunities to watch tv, play with class mates after the school. At the end I have never regret this decision. Also because I was quite fortunate to be admitted to top local conservatories and I had many best local piano teachers. Those were really most chic places in every town and the teachers are all great people. It has a very positive influence for my personal development.
But at some point, I stopped to play and learn piano for many many years because I had too many personal troubles.
During the COVID 19, I bought a second hand piano because the local piano dealer has relocated far away and I have finally restarted to play piano again.

Another extreme example I know is a family friend's child has started at age of 4 as well, their parents have already the prospective to make him a pianist at that age. He has now a degree from Julliard. The world is very dynamic, the music is always changing, I don't know if this one is still a good reason today. I don't want to add any additional comment for that.


1970s' Petrof 125
youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrY5TdJHAB6HAYYgdgQliww
recent added:BACH WTC I bwv847 C minor
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 588
T
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 588
This is a difficult question to answer ... because an honest answer from a piano teacher is bound to ruffle feathers from parents who understandably feel their child is brighter than average. So I can only grit my teeth and present the hard facts.

Which are that very few children ... percentage wise ... continue with their piano later in their lives. Of course there will be a fluttering of angry feathers over this sad fact. But it is true. We here at Piano World are NOT the average. We love music or we wouldn't be here in the first place. But I'm concerned with the average child who will be more than 90% of my class.

There will always be exceptional children ... but I'm focused on the ordinary ones. I want each child to remember music lessons as a fun experience and to enjoy music for the rest of their lives. I like to think many of them will still "tickle the ivories" now and then as adults. And above all that they will experience the power of beautiful music.

One of the secrets of enjoying learning piano is moving along fairly quickly. And it is a hard cold fact that if an ordinary 6 year old starts lessons and three years later, when he's nine and another nine year old begins lessons, by the age of 10 and a half, they will normally be at the same level. And the child who started later will be much more enthusiastic about his lessons. That is key. So many children who begin too early are burnt out in three or four years. They don't enjoy the lessons, they don't want to practice and other interests are taking over. So I normally require a child to be at least eight. ( One darling little girl's parents lied about her age and the fact she only had a cheap keyboard for the first year ... both facts I learned only when she announced her eighth birthday a year later ... and that her hands hurt from the new "big piano". But she was an exception ... a delightful one who continued with me until she moved to the Mainland for College.)

I also don't waste time on "exams" ... none of which are in any way a credential for anything and merely waste time on endless repetition of a few pieces ... time better spent on learning to READ THE NOTES. Reading music is my priority because that will "hook" a child for life if they become fluent.

I don't have "recitals" ... which are way too often nightmares for children while parents are caught up in the grip of "competition" and often squeeze the joy out of playing the piano by making comparisons. I find that distasteful. I do encourage the occasional "Piano Party" where kids can play if they want to ... with no tension or "programs" it's a treat to see how many will "share".

I explain all this to the parents before they arrive for the first meeting and trial lesson. My goal is to have my students LOVE music and have it as part of their lives forever.

I also have another "trick". I quickly move the children from the early Leila Fletcher series into the early classics. And I tempt the students by playing a classical piece and an ordinary primer piece and have them make the choice. The classics win by a HUGE margin. Then once I have the student hooked, I offer a few choice fun facts about the composer.

Music is to me a sacred thing ... to rob a child of experiencing the joy of making music is deeply disappointing.

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,555
Originally Posted by rkzhao
This is kind of an important point with regards to the original question. A child can start at home much earlier when the parent(s) are musicians that can help slowly work with the child on the basics.

Even when the parents are not professional teacher per se, they may be able to provide guidance to a child much earlier than when the child is ready for formal lessons. .

Culture trumps enforcement.

If the parents are musicians, they set the example that daily practice is how it's done - that becomes the norm. Regardless of whether they provide any guidance at all, leading by example and creating that culture may make a world of difference to the child.

The same is probably true for athletics, reading, study, etc.

And the converse is true as well. If you tell your child to practice, but you don't show any discipline yourself, probably not going to happen.


gotta go practice
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 467
B
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 467
It depends so much on the student. I taught a 3yo once who was exceptionally bright and attentive and talented. However, we ran into hand size issues--her fingers 4 and 5 were just not strong enough to move forward much after the first few months of lessons. I dropped her, telling her mother that she definitely should get her daughter back into piano when her hands had grown a little.

I have a few very good students right now who started at age 5. Generally I say this is too young. But these kids have had great support at home and seem to enjoy playing piano and are making good progress. I started at 5 myself. I do agree that younger kids move more slowly. One of the 5-year-olds I started a year ago started at the same time as his 7-year-old brother, and the brother is about 6 months ahead and is generally far more comfortable with the piano and has been from the beginning. I don't know how much of that is just that the older brother is more naturally talented and how much is the age difference. I assume it's some of both. (Little sister, who is three, demands a "lesson" every time I go over there to teach lately. Her "lesson" is usually 30 seconds long, and that satisfies her. I can't wait until she's old enough with that level of interest.)

Most of my beginners have been in the 7-9 range. Some of these have progressed great and have been students for years. Many that start at that age are casual students--they're trying it because their mom thinks it would be good for them, or because they have a friend who plays and they want to see what it's about, or whatever. I'd say it's about 50/50.

I've had a few teens start. They progress really fast at first and then hit a point where things start to get slightly harder, and then they get frustrated and quit. This has been my experience every time. Maybe it would be different if I were the type of teacher who demands 2+ hours of practice a day so they're playing Beethoven within a year. I suspect some really committed teens would be satisfied with their progress if they did something like that. Teens tend to be busy with homework, other extracurriculars, a social life, and sometimes work. If they haven't invested a few years into piano by the time they hit this busy point in their life, they tend to drop piano because it's less integral to their sense of self than other things.


Piano teacher since 2008, festivals chair for local chapter of NFMC, dabbling composer of pedagogical music
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,713
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,713
Originally Posted by Brinestone
I've had a few teens start. They progress really fast at first and then hit a point where things start to get slightly harder, and then they get frustrated and quit. This has been my experience every time. Maybe it would be different if I were the type of teacher who demands 2+ hours of practice a day so they're playing Beethoven within a year. I suspect some really committed teens would be satisfied with their progress if they did something like that. Teens tend to be busy with homework, other extracurriculars, a social life, and sometimes work. If they haven't invested a few years into piano by the time they hit this busy point in their life, they tend to drop piano because it's less integral to their sense of self than other things.
If kids were brought up in a musical household, they're far more likely to keep at it.

Without music in the home, it's an ongoing uphill battle which the teen is almost certain to lose.

I've had that experience as a kid: all my cousins (who started piano between the ages of six and eight) went on to advanced level (ABRSM grade 8); and now with their own families, all their children are also learning piano. There was always music in their home: my uncle had a large LP collection of classical music ranging from the complete Beethoven piano sonatas & symphonies to Puccini operas to Tchaikovsky ballets.

Whereas in my childhood home, there was no music, except when I was practicing. My youngest sister - who was pretty talented, progressing at twice my rate - gave up piano for good in her early teens, within a few months of me leaving home, because there was no-one left at home who supported or encouraged her playing. I kept at piano only because I had an obstinate nature and didn't care what anyone else thought.

When I started teaching piano earlier this year, I'd already decided I'd only take students whose parents are really into classical music (- I have a day job unconnected with music, therefore piano won't be a source of income for me). I don't need to battle with unsupportive parents, and I have no interest in teaching non-classical......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
I'm not sure if worrying about a child potentially quitting during their teens should really be a blocker issue.

I stopped in my teens and picked piano back up in my 30s. While I'm certainly not good, I do have a much better grasp of how to approach piano now with the fundamental muscle memory built up 20+ years ago. With all the other hobbies I enjoy already, I doubt I would have made time to learn piano if I had never touched it as a kid. I'm not particularly motivated to go learn guitar as an example even though I played a ton of guitar hero during those drunk college nights.

Also, while I definitely agree that having family members as musical role models would help greatly as a motivation for a teen, I wonder how much of a factor society plays too. Playing a piano nowadays feels much more "cool" than it did when I was a kid, when the stereotype of band geeks was still more prevalent.

Nowadays, you have young youtubers with videos of playing piano in public getting millions of view and I'm sure there are plenty of kid and even adults who look at those and think to themselves I want to be that good to pick up girls.

Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
Z
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Z
Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
Originally Posted by rkzhao
I'm not sure if worrying about a child potentially quitting during their teens should really be a blocker issue....
The main concern is that if a kid starts piano too early, he/she is going to make too much efforts and loose other opportunities like play football, play cards, play puppets, learn sports ,do nothing... Even worse in case he/she has been forced by parents or make a pleasure for parents, he/she maybe is going to not enjoy music.


1970s' Petrof 125
youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrY5TdJHAB6HAYYgdgQliww
recent added:BACH WTC I bwv847 C minor
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,675
2000 Post Club Member
Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,675
Originally Posted by zonzi
The main concern is that if a kid starts piano too early, he/she is going to make too much efforts and loose other opportunities like play football, play cards, play puppets, learn sports ,do nothing... Even worse in case he/she has been forced by parents or make a pleasure for parents, he/she maybe is going to not enjoy music.

Good point! Piano lessons at an early age should be highly attuned to the child's nature. They should not only sit on the piano bench, but move around and engage in other activities as well. For instance, the photos in this picture show two out of three activities away from keyboard. wink

[Linked Image]


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 13
N
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
N
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 13
I would recommend to start as early as possible. If they can concentrate a bit at 3 and are already reading and counting a bit - start then. If not wait a bit and try again. Playing the piano is a complex activity and it is very good for early brain development.

Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
Z
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Z
Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 368
Originally Posted by rkzhao
My wife started piano at 4.

I knew there was something wrong with her. That's probably it then. Starting piano too early is probably the cause for all her personality faults.

I myself didn't take piano lessons until I was 9yrs old. I definitely agree that I am a much more reasonable person than my wife as a result.

Let me go inform her. I'll report back here on how it goes.

If a child started piano at 4 and practice max 1/2h per day, from 8 to 17 max 1h/day, I don't think it will have any impact on personality.
But.... unfortunately(or fortunately) I know many children below 10 years old are practicing 4h/week day, more during the weekend....


1970s' Petrof 125
youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrY5TdJHAB6HAYYgdgQliww
recent added:BACH WTC I bwv847 C minor
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
L
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 30
Thanks for some more replies. Just by way of update, our eldest turned 4 in January and we got her the first book of the Dogs and Birds (www.dogsandbirds.co.uk) as part of her birthday present. She really enjoys her lessons (10 mins or so) but I don't think she is ready for lessons with anyone else yet. The book is really excellent and there are supplementary videos online.

Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,675
2000 Post Club Member
Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 2,675
Thank you for the update! I googled the images for this method, and the books look lovely!


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 420
Full Member
Online Content
Full Member
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 420
but, if the parent simply wants them enrolled in lessons to build their resume, run away!

I do well with young children. I have many fun objects for students to use- clay, stuffed animal, colored pencils, ball; we march and tap a lot, draw on the whiteboard, look inside the piano...

but, if the child is also in karate and swim lessons and chess club and has two siblings just as active, and is only five years old, realize that you will be a well-paid music babysitter.

If you do not have the patience to grin and bear it as the parents beams on about how their child must be a musical genius because they learned three pages in the pre-reader My First Piano Adventures Book A, then say no. Next week, the child will not have done the coloring exercise in the Writing Book, and the mom will mention how school was busy, fundraiser event, soccer practice, whatever... But, you will have to add a new page to make it look like the child is progressing.

I call this horizontal learning.

Meanwhile, I do have one 5 year old that can read well on the staff, sightread level 2A in Piano Adventures, play with feeling, and understands basic music theory. This is highly unusual and I am blessed to have her. Mom also plays and the child is immersed in music.

When these two moms meet, the first mom's world may implode. Normal 5 year old that is still learning to read English and can barely remember that a half-note gets two counts and which hand is left hand, meet child that can name and play pieces by Beethoven, and can read English fluently and music with expression. boom!

btw, that video of Emile's learning "My Favorite Things" brought tears of joy to my eyes. So much love! Mom and dad pour themselves into their daughter.

It boils down to this- if you have a normal child and a normal family that will be minimally involved with practicing, then whether a child begins at 5/6 or 8/9 will not matter much. It will even out enough by ages 10/12 if they keep on with piano. Unless they feel that pull, that passion, and the parents carve out practice and lesson time as important, beginning age will not matter.

Parents have much influence over young children. Treat that influence well.

A teacher can only do so much.


Learning as I teach.
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 11,256
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 11,256
Ah Emilie and her dad, Paul Barton! Should have known. Paul started sharing his love of music with his daughter as a newborn by holding her in his arms as he played. By the time she was three, the first thing she would do in the morning was run to the piano and experiment with the sounds she could make.

There is an entire series of them together sharing their love of music. I highly encourage watching the series—


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Which would you recommend and why - K8, K20 or U3?
by plumberpw - 08/17/22 08:00 AM
C2X Silent (SH2)?
by Jadam - 08/17/22 12:25 AM
Happy Birthday, Bill Evans!
by Dfrankjazz - 08/16/22 10:52 PM
F. Weber action removal
by DH83 - 08/16/22 11:33 AM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics214,431
Posts3,216,947
Members106,103
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5