Notespinner

Thoughts on composing, teaching and performing music, by Fergus Black

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The cover of the piano tutor

Teaching Young Beginners

There seems to be a view that 8 years old is a good age to begin piano lessons: by that age children have sufficient mental and physical capacity - not to mention the concentration and discipline to benefit from lessons (and indeed to make the teacher's life easier).

I read in various books and online resources, this sort of thing:

"Piano students not only need to know the alphabet from A to G, but they also need to know those seven letters in reverse - G, F, E, D, C, B, A". (1)

Alec Rowley (2) says of these people: "They imagine ... [the child] wants to hear facts, and commence by saying "This is a clef," or "this note is 'A'." The child is not interested because

  1. It does not know of care about clefs (never having seen one).
  2. Neither is it interested in letters as such."

Hear! Hear!

Resources

So what should parents know before considering piano lessons for their young child. Well, the first thing they should do is buy this book, and read it:

The book "How to Raise An Amazing Musician"]

There are many other good published and online resources:

The piano tutor book "Piano Magic"

In terms of tutor books, I used to think you couldn't beat Piano Magic by Jane Sebba (see illustration) - every time I open it with a small person at the piano, I marvel at how well it is thought out, and colourfully presented. Sadly, the latest reprint is in black and white. What possessed them?

I have shifted allegiance to Get Set Piano:

![The piano tutor book "Get Set Piano"](media/teaching-young-beginners-get-set-piano-1-240.png

There are other books and tutors, of course, most of which I find dull: they are so notation-based. Goodness only knows what the children might make of them - I suppose they must think that playing a musical instrument is a dull thing.

I like what I see of the Magic Tree books - Kate has done a good summary of them. I do very VERY much like that the are printed in and American edition with American names AND in and English edition with English names. Make sure you buy the right one!

Online, Elissa Milne, for example, is especially to be praised for her injunction to buy a piano at a very early age, and I agree with the first eight of her ten points!

Kevin Kao's post Best Age to Start Piano Lessons, 5 Reasons for 5 Years Old, is very obviously backed up by some educational science.


(1) https://voices.yahoo.com/piano-lessons-determining-perfect-age-your-647107.html?cat=25

(2) Do's and Don'ts for Musicians, Alec Rowley, pub Edwin Ashdown in the 1920s. OOP

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