Ever wonder what you should do before your child starts piano lessons? For the parent coming from a non-musical background, this can be a completely new world. To clear things up and keep it simple, here is a list of 9 things to do BEFORE your child starts lessons this fall.
1. Purchase an Instrument
Whether you choose an acoustic or digital piano, having daily access to a piano is a definite must. Should you choose a digital piano, make sure you purchase one that is educationally and musically appropriate with weighted keys (ones that feel like an acoustic piano), a fixed pedal, and good sound. Our expert sales team at Piano Central can give you some great advice about the best instrument for your child.
2. Place the Instrument Well
When choosing where to put your instrument, you absolutely must not 1) put it somewhere out of the way/lonely or 2) where the TV is located. Your child will have little interest or motivation to practice if your child equates practicing practice to being completely by himself in a dark corner. At the same time, trying to practice in the same room while the TV is on will prove frustrating and unprofitable.
3. Maintain your Instrument
If you do have an acoustic piano, make sure you keep it tuned. Usually this will be every 6 months to a year depending on the climate. Should you need a referral, we recommend Mr. Sam Taylor at 288-2353. Sam has been doing piano tunings for years here in upstate South Carolina and does a fantastic job.
4. Make the Piano Part of Everyday Life
If possible, have the piano in your home for months or even years before your child begins lessons. Not only will this make piano seem part of everyday life, but it will also encourage your child to explore more on his own during the course of the day.
5. Encourage Exploration
Let your child play around on the piano. Perhaps you can make a game out of find black keys and white keys, noting how the black keys fall in groups of two and three. Play around with the pedals and see which ones make the sound last longer. Encourage “free play” and praise your child’s little compositions. Becoming comfortable with the instrument before actually beginning formal lessons will give your child confidence in trying new things, not to mention a head start during the first few weeks of lessons!
6. Find a Height-Adjustable Bench
Being able to sit at the right height and distance from the piano is very important. While the distance can be easily corrected, height can be a challenge if you don’t have an adjustable bench. If your piano/digital keyboard came with a fixed bench, check into purchasing an adjustable one before starting lessons.
7. Talk About Their Music
Listen to what your child is playing. Is he trying to play a tune he knows? Is he making up his own? As you listen, take opportunities sometimes to talk about what your child is discovering. Talk about what the music sounds like to him, or what it makes him feel like. Encouraging your child to think about the music he is playing will developing a strong sensitivity to music.
8. Distinguish Between Left and Right
Knowing which hand is left and which is right certainly is important, but knowing left vs right indicates a child’s sense of physical-spatial awareness. Children with a stronger sense of spatial awareness will be able to better learn new skills at the piano. Any activity to help your child distinguish between left and right will be very beneficial. Jumping left or right, playing Simon Says with left and right commands, Red Light/Green Light with left and right commands—all are great activities for strengthening this concept.
9. Know Treble Vs. Bass Clef
Whether you know what a treble clef is or not, all your child needs to be able to do is 1) recognize the symbol (Google Images is a great option) and 2) know that Treble clef is for high notes and Bass clef is for low notes.
10. Find a Great Teacher
With a staff of over 30 teachers, PCS works hard to ensure the very best teacher-match right from the beginning. It’s part of the essential questions we ask as we are working to place you with the teacher who will best fit your personality, learning style, and musical goals. To get started with finding the perfect teacher for you, give us a call at 864-232-5010. We’re happy to help you get off to a great start with piano – or strings, voice, guitar, harp, or flute – lessons!