One of my biggest regrets in life is that I never learnt to play a musical instrument. Mr. C would probably laugh here about my supposed lack of rhythm and musicality. I would counter, that perhaps if I’d had lessons, things would be a lot different.
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When my first child was seven I deemed it was the right time for her to start piano lessons. She had just moved from Infants to Juniors and the school offered all pupils the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. For a small fee towards tuition every term, Helena was able to learn how to play the clarinet. She chose the instrument herself after a taster lesson where all the various instruments were shown to the pupils. Once she reached Grade Three in school, we moved her to a private tutor, where she progressed through the various grades.
She chose the instrument herself after a taster lesson where all the various instruments were shown to the pupils.
As I said, around the same time that her teachers talked about upping the ante on music in school, we decided that we wanted our children to start piano lessons. We were fortunate in that one of our friends was a music teacher and fortunately had availability to teach Helena.
We were lucky as the piano teacher was also able to suggest things we should do before the piano lessons started.
So what about you? You want your child to start learning to play the piano. Where do you go from here? What do you need to do before your child starts piano lessons.
Buy a Piano
Firstly get some sort of a piano. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s got a keyboard. You can buy an old second-hand one like I did to start. If you do, make sure you get it tuned though as all the moving around from place to place won’t have done it any good. If you haven’t got the room for a full-size acoustic piano, then opt for a digital one. Whatever happens, you definitely do need a piano. Piano lessons are not cheap and your child will need to practise in between lessons or it’s all a bit pointless.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s got a keyboard. You can buy an old second-hand one like I did to start.
Buy a Piano Stool
Now you may think that you can get away with any old chair for playing the piano and as an adult you could do so at a push. Children, however, are smaller and it’s really important for them to be sitting at the right height. Go for a height-adjustable stool which will grow with your child.
Let Your Child Play With Your Piano
Yes it’s important that your child doesn’t wreck your piano. Teach them to respect it. But equally make sure they know they can play on it, indeed play with it. Encourage them to experiment and make their own tunes. Point out to them what happens when you press the black notes. The more familiar your child is with a keyboard, the easier their first lesson will be.
Find a Piano Teacher
Now start looking for a piano tutor. There aren’t enough of them and they’re always full up so the earlier you get your little one on the waiting list, the better. Book your little one in for his or her first piano lesson and when they start,make sure that they practise every week. Otherwise you are wasting your money.
Book your little one in for his or her first piano lesson and when they start,make sure that they practise every week. Otherwise you are wasting your money.
Incidentally all my daughters learned to play the piano. My other daughters chose violin and bassoon in school and like Helena were in their school and county orchestras. Sadly, none of them play their school instruments any more. Although Maddie, our violinist, is now teaching herself how to play the ukelele in what little spare time she has as a junior doctor. Likewise Helena, who now has her own house, invested in a lovely new piano as soon as she could and plays for fun and relaxation now and again.
On a separate note, as an ex foreign languages teacher, I’ve noticed how children who play musical instruments find language learning easier. So if you’re thinking about piano lessons for your children, you’ll be doing them a huge favour and giving them a skill they will enjoy forever.