Parent's Guide to children
playing the Piano
AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS 5 - ADULT
is a learning experience
that synchronizes the mind, hands and fingers, and it requires endurance
and patience. It is good foundation for all musical education.
Your child will learn, develop, and practice skills as well as enhance
their eye/hand coordination.
What age should my child
The recommended age to
start a child in Piano lessons is 5 years old. Some instructors
will start as young as three depending on the interest and attention
span of the child, Your child must be able to sit for thirty
minutes to be taught simple rhythmic and melodic patterns.
for music can be
done at anytime, as long as space is available, and your session will be
prorated. Registration can be done in person, by phone, by mail or
fax. In addition, some organizations will allow you to register on
Normally these programs are very popular and space can be limited so
don't delay registration or you may miss out! These programs are
normally 16 -20 weeks long.
practice is necessary?
As with anything,
improving in music takes practice. One of the major problems with
children and music is the drudgery of practicing. There is no set
time, however your child must spend quality time each
day reviewing what they were taught. Piano practice must be concentrated and focused. Set the same
time every day to practice so that it becomes part of a routine or
habit. For young children 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity and
they spend more time watching the clock then practicing.
Instead of setting a time frame, use repetition as your gauge. For
example have your child play each piece 3 - 5 times per day.
The child does not pay attention to the amount of time they are
practicing but knows that they are on the third time and almost
finished. Ideally, your child should have a place to
practice without distractions and it should not disrupt the household.
If the home is small then you should consider the instrument chosen. A very
large instrument or a noisy instrument could be very disruptive and you
may not have the room for it.
Depending on the
instrument and the skill level of the child lessons will run either 30,
45 or 60 minutes per week. Lessons are scheduled on an individual basis.
Your registration reserves you a time slot for the duration of your
instruction period. It is imperative that you arrive promptly for
your lesson. They will normally give you only one make-up lesson
per session and any other that the child misses will be a forfeiture of
Formal and informal
recitals are an important part of the music program. They will offer
your child the opportunity to perform, listen and learn proper recital
etiquette. These recitals are not mandatory but it is to your
child's advantage for them to participate.
The cost of music lessons has four components:
- cost of the
- cost of
- competition or
The cost for lessons
would depend on whether your child is taking private or group lessons,
the length of the class and the qualifications of the instructor.
Music sessions will run
for 16 -20 weeks. As a general indication most instruments
will be $25 - $40 for a 30 minute lesson, $35 -$50 for a 45
minute lesson and $50 - $60 for a 60 minute lesson. Some
organizations offer family discounts and group rates. Many
students enjoy taking lessons with their family or friends.
The cost of the
instrument would depend on whether you rent or purchase the instrument.
If you rent the instrument it will be a new piano, that will cost you a
monthly fee plus delivery charges. You can pay the cost all once at the
beginning or they will automatically bill your credit card on a monthly
basis. This option is usually available for vertical pianos only.
If you choose to
purchase the instrument you have the option of purchasing a new or used
instrument. A used instrument will be substantially cheaper and
many times are like new. In addition you have the option to purchase a
piano or a keyboard. Pricing will vary drastically, depending on
the type of instrument chosen.
Initially, the materials
required will be a method book that will cost approximately $ 8- 10.
Some music stores will include the book with the rental of the
instrument. In addition, some musical accessories could be recommended
depending on the instructor. For instance, music stands, portable
CD players, microphones or instrument stands may be required.
recitals are a wonderful way for your child to show their abilities to
the world and it is extremely exciting for them. However, many
recitals and competitions often have entry fees. You will need to
discuss with child's instructor their philosophy on this subject.
Keyboard vs. Piano....
The rule of thumb
that applies is that the larger the piano the better the sound.
However, if you have a choice between a so-so grand and a good vertical
then choose the vertical. The grand piano is the best investment for the
concert pianist. The largest of verticals is the studio piano,
which is about 44 inches tall. Verticals 39 to 42 inches are
called consoles, the smallest of the verticals is the spinet, which is
36 to 39 inches high. Remember that a piano is a big
investment but it is something that you will have for a very long time.
You can also learn to
play using a keyboard and many students begin this way. Keyboards are
less expensive, and don't require tuning ( which cost around $50 and
should be done twice per year). You have the option of a beginner
keyboard or a professional keyboard. A professional keyboard are
priced above $1000. A beginner the price is considerably
more affordable, at $200 - $250. The more keys the more expensive
the key board will be. Key boards should have at least 61 full
sized keys. You will not need the full 88 keys until the second or third
year of instruction. You must make sure the digital
piano that you select has touch-sensitive keys, that is the harder you
strike the key the louder the sound. Be sure your keyboard has the
option to plug in a sustain pedal, this is something that will be needed
towards the end of the first year of lessons. You will want to be
able to buy this item and plug it in when needed. Also, you will need to
consider a keyboard stand so that you have someplace to put it when you
get it home. The cost of stands will range from $40 to $115.
A bench is also needed so that you have the proper hit and positioning
for playing. Keyboard benches will run about $30 to $60.
dedicated students should purchase an 88 key electric keyboard or an
acoustic piano at some point in their development.
Although keyboards are sufficient they still do not duplicate the sound
and feel of an acoustic piano. If your child is playing
primarily classical music then the acoustical piano is necessary.
If they require an instrument capable of performing a variety of
different types of music then you should consider the 88 key electric
Realize that the
instrument that your child begins with may not necessarily be the one
that they stay with forever. They are however, learning the
basics of music theory and harmony that can be easily converted to
You will know when your
child is ready to enter competition when he/she feels extremely
confident and is willing to play in front of people. This is the best
sign that your child is ready to go out and be judged for their
Rewards work very well
for children. Be sure to grant an occasional simple reward to help
encourage practice. Stickers are a great way to show approval.
Praise also tends to be a great reward; there is no substitution for a
pat on the back for a job well done.
are very delicate and should always be protected from heat, cold and
quick changes in temperature.
important to properly maintain your instrument at all times.
||Two or more
different pitches sounding at the same time
EVERY GOOD BOY DOES
||A rule to
remember the lines of a staff by using the first letter of each
for two players.
||A rule to
remember, from bottom to top, the spaces on a musical staff.
written for one player, often with a piano accompaniment.
||Time set aside
for your child to review what the teacher has taught them during
their normal lessons.
||A large musical
instrument with a keyboard.
||A person who
performs music on the piano.
||The five lines
and four spaces used for writing music
||The letters A
through G. These are used to name the notes on the staff
in a LINE - SPACE - LINE - SPACE order
feeling of the keys in operation
that the key can be depressed
strip of wood which, when in place on a piano string, keeps the
string from vibrating.
||The name that
describes a piano with a soundboard and strings: upright, grand
and baby grand pianos.
The smallest type of grand
Turning pegs on an acoustic
piano to produce the correct sound.
The part that hits the piano
strings to produce the sound on an acoustic piano.
An acoustic piano that sits on
the floor horizontally.