When is my child ready for lessons?
When he/she starts reading and is able to follow simple instructions with a level of concentration.
What can my young child do prior to formal music instructions?
Young children learn through their play from birth. There are early childhood music classes that will bring young children to explore and experience music through movement activities, story telling, singing, dancing, listening, etc. Throughout these activities, music becomes assimilated into the young child’s system, and becomes part of his/her language. Please see (link) for class descriptions and offerings.
Why is there such a range in teacher fee?
You get what you pay for. There is a wide range of qualifications when it comes to piano teachers. Beware not to fall into the misconception that “if the teacher can play, then he/she must be able to teach”. Although being able to play the piano well is essential to being a successful teacher, teaching is an acquired skill. There are student teachers who are in the process of completing their education. This means they have lesser years of teaching experience and often times they haven’t had any training in teaching. Often times, they will teach the way they were taught.
In order to maintain consistent progress at the piano, it is necessary to practice on a daily basis. For any student new to this discipline, it takes some time and effort to establish a healthy routine. Parental help can often be beneficial initially. Try to set up a regular daily practice time to help this become part of the daily routine. Then, make sure student is free of distractions during practice: tiredness, busy and/or noisy surroundings, cold/hot temperature, uncomfortable bench height (too high/low), insufficient or over-abundance of light in the room, poor eye-sight, etc. After a routine is established, encourage student to practice with specific goals in mind so to avoid mindless repetition just to fill up a “required” practice time. Check to see if student is attentive to and achieving the goals outlined on his/her assignment sheet. Effective practice should require the least amount of time to achieve the goals. Often times, students like to always start from the beginning and just play through a piece many times and call this “practice”. When this is done, most of the time the problems and difficulties in the piece are never mastered. Instead, each spot needs to be tacked in isolation with repetitions from slower to faster tempo to achieve the necessary control before becoming easier to play through.
Piano Posture is often trivialized in the home environment. In order to maintain physical health devoid of pain, and to perform effectively at the piano, two elements are essential: bench height, and distance from the piano. Bench height – should allow student’s lower arms to be almost parallel to keys when the hands are on the piano and arms are slightly floating outward. Bench distance – should allow student’s knees to be just under the keys so that body and arms are at a comfortable distance from the piano with plenty of room for the arms to move within. Both feet should be solidly planted on the ground and farther apart than the knees. For a smaller student whose feet may not reach the ground, simply have the ankles crossed for stability or to employ a foot stool with the right height. The best piano posture may not be what the student is naturally inclined to sit and therefore, may take some time to be adjusted and assimilated to one’s own. Just keep checking and readjusting. All in all, encourage each student to be an independent thinker, able to apply him/herself fully. As well as following teacher markings and suggestions very closely to make definite changes.
Is there anything that you’re uncomfortable with? Any questions or concerns about your child’s progress? Please don’t ignore the feeling, but contact the teacher right away. Talking about it will benefit your child the most.