Teaching Your Own Child to Play the Piano

Teaching Your Own Child to Play the Piano

These days, many of the parents I meet are able to play the piano and it’s wonderful news! Increasingly, I’m seeing students who enroll for my lessons equipped with some basic music knowledge and piano skills imparted to them from their parents.

If you’re a parent thinking of teaching your own child the piano, here are some tips to get you started.

The Basics: the Environment

Fix a regular time slot for lessons – Just as you would send your child to a music school at a fixed time each week, it helps to establish a regular time slot for lessons with your child. Commit to that time as you would if you were sending your child to school.

Keep lessons free from distraction – Having lessons at home means that the environment is familiar and comfortable. This could, unfortunately, be distracting or overly relaxing for your child. When carrying out lessons, conduct it in a room and keep siblings, spouses, and grandparents at bay.

Parent versus Teacher – Play the role of a teacher when carrying out lessons for your child. I’ve observed that children often behave differently around their parents and their teachers. This is usually the hardest step, as children find it hard to separate “mom/dad” from “teacher”, and it is the main reason why most parents end up sending their children to other teachers for lessons.

Getting Started: the Curriculum

The challenge with teaching your own child is in planning a curriculum for his or her learning. If you have no experience in curriculum planning, fret not, as you can generally follow the books that are available in the market.

Piano Adventures – This is my go-to piano book for 3 to 5-year-old beginners, however, I usually dive straight into Lesson Book B and skip the Primer altogether. The Piano Adventures series has been around for more than 20 years, and you can purchase the books for the various levels as your child progresses.

Music Theory for Young Children – This is the most-used theory book for children in Singapore. Not only is the content well planned, but there are also stickers in the books to complement the learning, making it really fun for children! Depending on your child’s age, you may have to work on his or her writing skills as note writing will be introduced in the second half of Book 1. I use this series for my students between 3.5 to 6 years old.

When Should You Look for a Teacher?

These days, I do receive students who attend lessons on an ad-hoc basis. Often, these students are taught by their parents but come to me once a month for assessment on their level of proficiency and advice on the next steps. I have to add though, that these students are often beginners and are below the age of 7.

While you can definitely teach your child basic music knowledge and piano skills, don’t be afraid to pass your child on to another teacher if you reach a point where your child’s learning has plateaued. Ultimately, we want the best for our children, even if it means passing on the baton to another teacher to carry on your child’s learning journey.

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