Parents have instinctively used music to calm and soothe children, to express their love and joy, and to engage and interact with them. Music exposure promotes development in areas such as intellect, social and emotional skills, and motor skills. Music helps the mind and body work together.
Bringing musical experiences into a child's life can speed up their brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills, giving them an advantage later in life. Learning to play an instrument has scientifically been proven to increase mathematical skills and increase SAT scores. It's no wonder parents want to engage their children in musical activity and that piano lessons are a popular choice among parents.
5 Reasons to Enroll Your Child in Piano Lessons
Piano lessons will teach your child about drive, determination, and hard work. Sitting down at a piano and focusing every day, practicing for hours just to get it right, is not an easy task for anyone to do, especially a child.
Taking on piano lessons teaches children how to set goals and work hard for them. It then rewards them with the beauty of seeing their accomplishment. The fruit of their work, so to speak. This is an important life lesson that children will need throughout their lives.
Having learned these fundamental principles at an early age, children are better able to face, accept, and conquer the things that life throws at them. Piano lessons are a key factor in the ability to get back up, re-focus and succeed.
The amount of research showing how music affects our cognitive abilities is outstanding. Enrolling your child in piano lessons puts music in their lives regularly. As parents, we want to give our children every advantage we can, to help them achieve their full potential. We can help influence and improve our children's academic and social development through their involvement with music.
Vast amounts of research have shown that studying piano can increase a child’s comprehension of language, which leads to better reading skills, better information processing, a stronger memory, longer attention span and excellent motor skills.
Emotional resilience is another positive attribute to the way piano lessons can influence our children. Learning to play the piano has shown notable improvement on a child's ability to learn, comprehend, and express empathy to others. Empathy, in part, is derived from sensing the subtle changes in a human voice that show mood and emotion.
A child who has been musically trained is better at picking up on these subtleties. They become better listeners and are better equipped to read emotions and understand them and react to them.
Building confidence at a young age has tremendous effects on a child's success throughout life. Taking piano lessons and playing the piano for an audience will teach a child how to focus, calm their nerves, and complete the task at hand.
Overcoming fears, anxieties and constructive feedback through practice is an enormous boost to a child's self-confidence level; self-confidence being an important characteristic to embody and piano lessons being a key factor in a child’s ability to develop. Being the embodiment of confidence will help them succeed throughout their life.
Taking piano lessons allows children to express themselves creatively and can open many more avenues to be innovative throughout their lives. Awakening the creative spirit within encourages children to become inspired and removes any limits on their personal growth.
Creativity encompasses three basic ideas; problem solving, self-expression and imagination. Having a good imagination enhances a child’s ability to become a better problem solver. With creativity, there are no right or wrong answers; creativity fosters feelings of worth in a child's concepts and ideas.
Steps to Take Before Beginning Piano Lessons
Listen to Music Together
Before enrolling your child in piano lessons, try to inspire their interest by playing music within your home daily. Enhance your child's musical appreciation by playing different genres such as classical and cultural music from around the world. This will expose your child to a variety of musical interludes while enhancing their ability to identify their own musical interest.
Invest In an Inexpensive Piano
When you notice your child’s interest and appreciation for music taking shape, it may be a good time to invest in a relatively inexpensive electric piano, if you do not already have one. Electric pianos are ideal because they do not require tuning and are also portable. Let your child explore the piano freely as opposed to forcing them to play it when you want them to.
Talk About Music
Talk to your child about music and teach them how music relates to all aspects of life. By displaying respect and appreciation for music, you are increasing the chances of your child’s appreciation to develop within themselves.
Explore the Piano Together
Invest in a basic lesson book and make time to explore the piano with your child. Choose a time good for both of you and schedule it in advance. This will help your child to be better prepared and excited about it. Learn how to play simple melodies together while having fun. In time, talk about the keys, how they translate into notes and musical tempo. This should all be done intending to have fun together while inspiring your child’s interest in the instrument.
Try to limit distractions that may go on within your home while you and your child explore the piano together. In time, it may become less necessary to join them at the piano. Once your child displays their own interest, make time to listen while they play for you and always be supportive of their efforts.
Introduce Piano Lessons
At that point, it may be a good time to introduce piano lessons to your child. Propose the idea and see what they think about it. If they do not seem interested, do not force the issue. By allowing your child to take part in decision making, it will help them become more responsible.
Lessons and Responsibility
If your child decides that taking piano lessons is something they would like to try, talk to them about a time of day that they would like to dedicate to practicing their lessons. Remind them that with piano lessons comes responsibility. When they practice, be supportive and praise their efforts.
If the structure of piano lessons is too stressful for your child, allow them to stop taking lessons until they feel ready for them. All the while, still displaying a love and appreciation for music of all types, while talking about and enjoying music together within your home.
Tips for Beginner Piano Players
Learning to play piano should not feel like a task or burden, it should be enjoyable. Remember that your child is unique and will embody their own strong points and weaknesses while learning at their own pace. Encourage your child to try their best and keep practicing.
While learning the piano should be an enjoyable experience, there are a few things to remember when trying to master the art of piano playing. Here are a few tips to help your child while learning the piano.
Study Basic Theory
Basics in music theory will teach your child about notes, note values, clefs, chords and rests. This is the foundation of music and it is key to a child’s musical comprehension and their ability to play it.
Play the Music One Hand at a Time
Once the left and right hand have been mastered separately, your child should then play the music with both hands at the same time.
Maintain Proper Tempo
If your child is struggling with this, consider buying a metronome to set the tempo for them.
Focus on Accuracy
Speed comes with a lot of practice.
Practice Proper Hand Flow
Hands should glide softly and smoothly across the keys while maintaining the proper form.
Learn Proper Hand and Finger Placement
Practicing proper finger and hand placement is important for both beginner and advanced piano players.
Make Time to Practice
Fifteen minutes per day is more productive than a four-hour practice session. Practice works because our brains build upon what we've already done. With the act of piano playing fresh in their mind, it helps to gain better results the next time your child practices.
Take a Break
If your child is struggling with a specific piece, have them take a break. Encourage them to play something they like and then go back to tackle that original piece later. Just make sure once the frustration subsides, they return to that original problem piece, and tackle it.
Learning the art of music can enhance one’s life throughout all their endeavors. And piano playing is no exception. Learning at an early age inspires confidence, self-discipline and patience, which are important characteristics to gain.
Piano playing also provides a creative outlet which can help fill a void and relieve stress. Creativity offers a sense of mindful purpose and is self-expression through artistic endeavors.
While investing in piano lessons can be costly, if your child displays an aptitude and an interest, it is an investment well worth making. You can ease the costs by purchasing an inexpensive electric keyboard while your child is in the beginning stages of learning. As your child’s abilities flourish, slowly upgrade their equipment to match their skill level. In time, they will no longer require the lessons, and the money can be spent on a quality piano.
Music inspires all people, everywhere. It offers a universal language that brings people together as it relates to all aspects of life. It is the best gift you could give to your beloved child.