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Joined: Sep 2004
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My daughter is now in the first grade and is showing a great deal of interest in playing the piano. I let her use it from time to time and she tries to play her own version of music that she likes. Sometimes she will sing along.

When I try to show her something like how to play something easy or what the keys are, she rapidly loses interest. (no surprise I guess)

Any tips on good places to start or should I give her another year? I know she has music class this year and she told me they are working on "Hot Cross Buns." Maybe I should just work on the same thing she's doing at school so she becomes more fluent?

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There are many other things that will help to engage a 5-year old rather than just "showing songs." I'll leave the controversial question alone for now of whether it's good for parents to teach their own children or not, but you might want to look at the Faber "Early Beginner" piano books. They are geared towards 5/6 yo's, and provide many age-appropriate activities that help familiarize them with the piano and music at their own age, gradually introducing songs.

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Thanks for the suggestion, I will take a look at that!

I wouldn't mind your take on if it would be better to get her a teacher. I find that she does great in her classes (dance, swim) away from the home and I had considered doing this for music or piano because she loves having activities to go to. Are you thinking in the long-term it's better to get a teacher or from the start?

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Give her drum lessons.

Seriously. Drum lessons are age-appropriate, and teach rhythm and tempo control, counting, playing with others, that is invaluable regardless of what instrument is later learned.

Young students of mine who concurrently study drums typically play with more confidence, and much better timing, than others.


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That sounds like a good idea. I assume she doesn't need an actual drum set. Do you know of something affordable and durable to get her started? Do you mean a hand drum or something with drumsticks?

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Whatever you can do. If you can do formal drum lessons with a drum kit, that would be ideal.

As for noise, they sell digital drum kits, but they cost a bit:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...pe=&gclid=CKHN26KmmroCFcFj7Aod-0wAmw

I think it would be best if she had an actual drum teacher who was skilled in that, and ask the teacher what to do.

I work in a large music store, where we have numerous youngsters taking drum lessons. One little girl who is 7 just started with piano last month, and had been taking formal drum lessons with sticks and a real (but child size) drum kit, and wow, does she have great timing at the piano.

All the tempo problems (tempo is the speed of the music piece) that plague students, which include speeding up, stopping, not being able to count while playing are simply not there.

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Are you thinking in the long-term it's better to get a teacher or from the start?


With piano it is imperative for a child to have a good teacher from the start.

I strongly believe that the first piano teacher is the most important. That would go for drums also.

Best wishes!


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Has she shown an interest in drums? She likes to sing, and drums aren't really a melodic instrument.

I think starting her out in piano is fine, but perhaps she is losing interest when you show her something simply because she's not used to learning form you in that way? It happens. I think that some parents can teach their children, and some cannot. I've even known piano teachers who don't teach their own children. So it's OK. Find a piano teacher and try lessons out. She seems interested enough, and having someone who is in the role of "piano teacher" will help her stay focused.

I highly recommend you sit in on lessons so that you can go through her practicing with her during the week and understand the assignment.


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@rocket
Thanks for the info! I think it's a great idea to establish a strong foundation for rhythm and timing. It's too bad that it will cost me more but she also has a little brother who I think would also benefit.

@Morodiene
She has shown an interest in drums but has much less exposure. I'm pretty sure she would enjoy piano, singing or drum lessons.

I haven't really tried much with her on the piano because I realized she just wanted to play on it and I didn't really have a specific plan for how to teach her. So she is having fun but she definitely is ready for more structured music lessons. She's an extremely focused and eager learner and I'm sure I could teach her some things but I didn't want to ruin her enjoyment!

I do very well teaching her the more common stuff like math and reading. I like to get techniques that the teachers are using and then provide a supporting role. Based on your recommendation, it would probably be best if I do the same with music. I will start looking at the options and see which teachers/instruments are most feasible.


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Find her a teacher that is skilled in working with children her age. A good teacher lays the foundation for everything she will ever want to do with music at the piano.


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Do some research and find the best teacher available. The child's first teacher is the most important one. A poor foundation will lead to problems further down the road. Over a year ago I got two transfer students who have had extremely poor teaching, and even today I am finding out new problems to solve--and it was NOT the students' fault! These are wonderful, smart, hardworking students who just happened to be taught by incompetent teachers.


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I would make sure at 5 she isn't over scheduled. A once a week, one hour dance class can turn into 90 minutes in 6 months and 2 hours or twice a week quickly. Swim can turn into summer swim team 4 days a week just as quickly. Add in practice and you get a very busy five year old.

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Originally Posted by MaggieGirl
I would make sure at 5 she isn't over scheduled. A once a week, one hour dance class can turn into 90 minutes in 6 months and 2 hours or twice a week quickly. Swim can turn into summer swim team 4 days a week just as quickly. Add in practice and you get a very busy five year old.


That's a really good point and I hadn't thought of it that way. I still want her to do music but that's kind of another layer of strategy to consider. As it is she never wants dance or swim to end and she also loves soccer. Very easy to manage right now but decisions will have to be made at some point.

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It's fun having an engaged child. Outside interests have kept my daughter happy through school years that were less than stellar. But it's funny how it all stacks up - - - rather quickly.

I think a nice median is one music and one physical activity. But they never want just one sport and one sport is never content with one day a week.


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