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#939091 - 01/11/05 08:23 AM Childrens' Instructor
DavidPJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 51
Loc: Ohio
I'm considering starting our daughter of almost 5 years old on piano lessons. What background, characteristics, certifications, etc. should I be looking for in an instructor? Thanks.

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#939092 - 01/11/05 09:03 PM Re: Childrens' Instructor
ken070749 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/05
Posts: 18
You can contact local music teachers association and get a teacher there. Ask the teacher what method books to use. Piano Adventure and Alfred's Basic Piano Library are two popular piano method books. Many teachers favor Piano Adventure. And get involved in every piano lesson and even her practice if you want to see her progress in a pleasant manner.

When my daughter was about four, we sent her to a neighbour who was teaching kids of six or seven with Thompson's easiest course. It turned out my daughter did not like the lessons and we had to end it a couple of months later. When she was four and half, we started her again on lessons with

a very experienced teacher in our town. The (current) teacher had my daughter work on Alfred prep course level A, in the teacher's view, the Thompson progresses a bit too fast and too hard for a four year old. Now my daughter has been with the teacher for more than four months and she loves the piano. It is once a week 30-minute lesson, and she practices every day. She has finished Alfred prep course level A, B and C (both lesson and technic books) and just started level D. My daughter will be five years old in two months.

#939093 - 01/12/05 07:47 AM Re: Childrens' Instructor
DavidPJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 51
Loc: Ohio
Thanks ken070749.

We met with an instructor last night and she evaluated our almost 5 year daughter. Our daughter passed her evaluation, but I don't think the instructor passed our evaluation.

We're trying to find someone that regularily teaches young children as opposed to an instructor that teaches from 5 to 75 year olds. We didn't think last night's instructor was able to relate to our daughter and break things down in simple enough terms.

So we'll keep on looking until we find what we're looking for. Thanks for the tip on the local music teachers association.

#939094 - 01/12/05 07:58 AM Re: Childrens' Instructor
Cindysphinx Offline

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro

I started my oldest child in lessons at age 7, IIRC. Knowing next to nothing about picking a teacher, I picked up the phone and began calling parents of her friends and asking if their child took lessons, and if not, whether they knew anyone who had their child in lessons.

I wound up with a reasonable list of parents in the area who had kids in lessons. From there, I called these parents one-by-one and chatted them up. I was able to figure who was looking to raise a concert pianist and who wanted their kid to have a good time. I learned what teachers should cost (one family was paying $89 a lesson for a teacher they believed was harsh and too high a level for a small child!). I learned the ways in which various teachers and studios differ, all without having to get my child too involved in this screening process.

Ultimately, a parent turned me on to our current studio. What really sold me on it was that their son was very accomplished and had done well on piano, but their other children were much less interested yet were finding a way to stick with it, too. The mom was a fairly experienced "piano parent," and her advice on most everything was invaluable. This approach was also advantageous because I knew my daughter would know at least one other student in the studio.

It was at that point that we had our daughter meet the prospective piano teacher and see if they would click. They did, and the rest is, as they say, a monthly check to the piano teacher. ;\)

Good luck!
Vote For Cindy!!


#939095 - 01/12/05 04:55 PM Re: Childrens' Instructor
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi David,

It sounds as if you are well on the way to getting your child started and are doing some of the right things in looking for an instructor. I would continue to ask others - word of mouth is the best route. Most exceptional teachers don't have to advertise, their students do it for them. Also, you can see if the teacher is affiliated with MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) go to mtna.org and find your state.

Interview several prospective teachers to see what the best fit is for you and your child.

With that said, it's my personal experience that 4 is too early for private lessons. I've been teaching for many years, all ages and abilities. In my experience, age 7 seems to be the best age, sometimes 8 if the child is a boy (small motor skill development is slower for boys than girls). I have the best success with 7 year olds. I have started 4 and 5 year olds, (but no longer will take them that young) The reality is, unless the parent is willing to sit and monitor EVERY practice moment, it doesn't work (unless the child is a musical genius). Also, by the time the early beginner is 9 they are at the same level as their friends who started at 7 or 8.

I started my own daughter at age 5, with a fabulous teacher, and within a few months we all realized it would be best for everyone if we waited. She started again at 6 and 1/2 when she was a fluent reader and really was able to move quickly with great success.

Have you thought about trying an early childhood program like MusikGarten, Music for Young Children, Harmony Road, or Kindermusik? (I prefer MusikGarten) I've found that students who participate in these types of music classes really are prepared for private lessons. These early childhood programs focus on large motor movements, and singing and dancing to music. They are really delightful programs.

Good luck in your search.
charlene \:D

#939096 - 01/12/05 04:56 PM Re: Childrens' Instructor
DavidPJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 51
Loc: Ohio
Thanks Cindysphinx. We've starting doing exactly what you suggested and I've learned of several teachers just by word of mouth. Unfortunately, we're still not close to selecting anyone. Some of the teachers work on semesters, which starts next week. So either we have to make a quick decision or wait an entire semester to begin. And of course some teachers don't have any openings either, or are too expensive.
Hopefully we'll come across someone soon so we can started!

#939097 - 01/12/05 08:47 PM Re: Childrens' Instructor
ken070749 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/05
Posts: 18
I agree with Cranky Woman that the parent is required to sit in the lessons and monitor EVERY practice before the kid can read music. And in terms of musical genius, I do have a clip of Lang Lang playing when he was only five. (click the link below if you have Real Player.)


He began his piano lessions at the age 3 with a professor from a music conservatory.

I know a good voice teacher will make a huge difference, but I am not sure of piano.

#939098 - 01/15/05 10:20 PM Re: Childrens' Instructor
Candywoman Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 1034
I have taught for 8.5 years and wholeheartedly agree with Cranky Woman. My sentiments exactly, except I would save the money that would ordinarily be spent on an early childhood program and put it towards piano lessons later on. If you have a lot of money and time, I suppose you could enjoy such a program. But it's equally beneficial to play singing games of your own at home prior to beginning piano lessons.


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