Image Credit: woodleywonderworks
Want Your Child to Learn To Play Piano? – 5 Keys to success
Music is a very powerful force that can stir deep emotions, bring great joy and encourage social interaction. Many parents would like their children to learn how to play an instrument and piano is one of the most popular instruments often chosen.
One question that many parents ask is how do you encourage your child to play piano without being too pushy and spoiling the enjoyment of learning? Should you expect your child to strive to achieve concert pianist level or be happy for them to knock out a few tunes for their friends or at family functions?
It can be confusing for parents who hear conflicting opinions on whether ability to play piano is mainly nature or nurture and whether children need to be coerced to play or whether they should be left to decide on whether or not they want to learn and if so, how much practice they should do.
If your objective is to empower your children to enjoy the joys of playing music, express their creativity and have fun, the answer is remarkably simple ……
The 5 keys to success in your child to master playing the piano
- Chose an effective piano tuition method
- Maximise motivation
- Maximise aspiration
- Maximise fun
- Encourage regular practice
Step 1 – Chose an effective piano tuition method
When choosing a tuition method, unless you wish your child to follow formal classical training, then a far more effective method of learning to play the piano is one of the rapid results methods which avoid spending time on formalities such as posture, scale and learning to read standard notation and focus solely on achieving the ability to play a song which gives enjoyment to the performer and listeners, within the shortest time possible. Arguably, the most effective rapid results method is www.decplaypiano.com which has proven that rather than requiring any special abilities or genetic predisposition for musical ability, virtually anyone can learn piano within an amazingly short period of time (usually within 1 hour to play song to a reasonable level), if the correct tuition method is used and key features are included to maintain the student’s motivation.
Standard notation is great for classical music and complex arrangements of popular music but it is not the most efficient way to teach a beginner as it is teaching an abstract concept – i.e. dots on lines which first has to be learnt before you understand which key to press on the keyboard. This is the single biggest obstacle to beginners getting to the stage where they can play a song and is a major factor in the huge drop out rate (over 90%) of students who give up piano lessons within a year and before they can play a song to a reasonable level. By replacing the abstract of dots on a stave, with descriptions already understood by the student e.g. numbers, the rate of progress of learning to read the instructions and press the correct keys is dramatically improved and methods such as DecPlayPiano.com have consistently shown that the average person can learn to play piano within 1 hour, if the obstacles inherent in traditional tuition methods are removed.
Step 2 – Maximise motivation
Maintaining motivation is a fundamental ingredients to successful progression in learning to play the piano. A flexible approach is necessary as each child has different needs and desires.
The old adage … you can bring a horse to water … but you can’t make it drink has a lot of relevancy from the point of view that many children ‘go through the motions’ in piano lessons and only practice the minimum amount to avoid being ‘told off’ by their teacher or parents, which means that their rate of learning is a fraction of what it could be if they were highly motivated.
Allowing the student to choose the music they want to learn is key to ensuring they maintain their motivation to learn, whether this is pop music, themes from their favourite TV programme or films etc… Young children often love nursery rhymes, so starting off a young person with Bach or Mozart might not be the best choice – similarly, trying to teach a typical teenager Three Blind Mice, might not be the best way to maintain motivation!
Step 3 – Maximise aspiration
Showing inspirational piano videos e.g. www.decplaypiano.com/inspiring-piano-videos can also help to energise the student and fuel their desire to learn. Taking your child to see lve music performances is a fantastic way to give them a taste of what joy can be given to others through music performance and give them some role models to aspire to emulate. This doesn’t have to be expensive concerts with top artists – even informal song-a-long type events, watching street entertainers, folk / community music events or impromptu performances can be an incredibly powerful positive influence on children.
Step 4 – Maximise fun
Making lessons ‘fun’ can massively improve the rate of learning. There are many examples of fun piano videos on YouTube and examples can be viewed at www.decplaypiano.com/fun-piano-videos which can show that playing piano does not have to be too serious and boring and can be one of the most amazing experiences you can have which simultaneously develops your creativity, dexterity, mental agility and more importantly …. gives huge enjoyment to others and is great fun!
Step 5 – Encourage regular practice
If you have followed the 4 steps mentioned above, your child should already be motivated to want to practice and should look forward to playing piano as a ‘fun’ activity. As a parent, it is very important to help your child maintain focus and create healthy habits, such as practicing at least 15 minutes per day. You can help by reminding them daily, giving encouragement, attention and praise to acknowledge their improvements and achievements. Creating a calm and relaxed environment in which they can practice will help. Learning piano can also be a great social activity and peer learning can achieve fantastic results. If your child has friends who also have an interest in learning piano, they can have great fun by teaching each other what they have learnt, playing duets, creating group ensembles / bands and co-writing their own tunes.
In summary, the first and most important step in helping your child to learn to play the piano, is choosing an effective tuition method. If you get this right, all the other aspects will follow. If your child does not view the method as fun or if the method prevents them playing their favourite music, it is unlikely to be very effective and in some instances may even put your child off playing an instrument at all.