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Tips For Starting Piano Lessons For Your Child

September 4th, 2012 Games

Many of us have memories - some fond, others less so - of playing piano as children. It's virtually a rite of passage that every kid must take music or other enrichment lessons at some point. Although the majority of us stopped playing at some point in our lives, all of that time spent practicing scales and pieces wasn't necessarily for naught. In fact, one study suggests that people who took piano lessons as children may have enjoyed cognitive benefits as a result. On a more fundamental level, music appreciation is an excellent mental skill for people to have, and starting kids off early is a great way to ensure a lifelong enjoyment.

But when is it time to have your little one start playing piano? And once they've begun, what can you do as a parent to help make sure they're getting the most out of their lessons? As it turns out, there are plenty of things to consider when going down this path! Here are a few pointers.

1. When is your child ready? There's no set age when a child is definitely ready to start taking piano lessons - it's the sort of thing you have to feel out as a parent. Of course, you can help the process along by making music a part of your little one's life as early as possible. This can be as simple as playing it during dinner or while you're in the car, though if you fancy yourself a music lover, you may want to sit your child down from time to time and teach him or her about musicians and composers who are important to you. Most children will be receptive to lessons around age five or six, so try shooting for that timeframe, if possible.

2. Basic lessons. Even before you've found a teacher, you can give your kid a fundamental understanding of how music works and the most basic lessons in reading notation. Even if you can't read music particularly well, you can probably figure out which notes are supposed to be higher than the others. Sit down with a basic piano piece and see if the two of you can wade through the sheet music together - you'd be surprised how easy doing so can be! You might even learn something, yourself!

3. Picking a piano. You don't have to own a Steinway to get your child on the path toward musicality. In fact, a grand piano isn't even necessary. You can get by with an electronic keyboard – which may be less expensive - but there are a few features that you'll need to insist on if you choose to buy one. First of all, it has to be the size of a traditional piano, which has 88 keys. You also want to make sure that the keys are touch-sensitive, because your child's teacher is probably going to introduce dynamics fairly early on.

If you happen to find an inexpensive parlor or grand piano, make sure it's professionally tuned before the first lesson. There are few things more grating to the ear than an out-of-tune instrument!

Once you've got these bases covered, the rest is up to your child's teacher. He or she may give you a list of works to purchase for your child, though there are definitely a few collections that most pianists would consider mandatory. Now all you have to do is nag your little one to practice every day and Carnegie Hall is just around the corner!