My second article is up on the website, but I’m actually going to post it here as well, for the following reason: they changed a few sentences in the first and last paragraph to make it a tailored “marketing” fit for the website (but the owner made sure to tell me that there was nothing wrong with what I wrote, marketing just wanted it worded differently for search purposes). And, as you can guess, I hated the changes. So here is the article in it’s unadulterated form. If you want to see the atrocious changes they made, you can follow the previous steps I listed and click instead of the title, “Piano Lessons for Kids”.
Music Lessons for Kids are a topic of much debate in the music community. How should one go about teaching music to children? Are Music lessons for Kids even worth the money? What is the best age to start?
Just as with any other activity, it completely depends on the child. Age is only one of the factors, including attention span, eye/hand coordination and the basics of the alphabet and numeric system. But even the importance of these factors varies from child to child. Music is not a one-size fits all activity. Anyone who says there is only “one method” is probably saying so out of a lack of confidence in their own capabilities. Creativity and perseverance are two easy ways to overcome almost any initial disadvantage the child may start with.
Don’t believe me? Really, how young is too young? How can “creativity” teach a 3 year old how to play the piano? The answer is easy, for a 3 year old can learn to do lots of things. What makes the piano any different? Children are able to identify rhythm patterns as early as 15 months old. They can clap and tap along using various body parts, such as fingers and toes. A 3 year old just needs to be shown that this “clapping and tapping” can be done on various keys of the piano.
But how does a 3 year old come to follow notes along a page? It is true that most children of this age do not yet know how to read, but the basic skill of tracking the eyes from left to right begins at this stage of development. It is very likely, then, that learning to read music from a page will simply go hand in hand with this learning process already taking place. In other words, reading does not need to happen prior to the music lessons, but will probably happen as a result of them!
Even attention span can be overcome by the teacher’s own creative and consistent efforts. It is true that most children under the age of 8 will not be able to handle the traditional “music lesson”. Sitting still for thirty to sixty minutes is something that is nearly impossible for children of all ages! To say that a 3 year old is not ready for music lessons, simply because they cannot sit still for thirty minutes is to believe that those thirty minutes of sitting are absolutely essential to play music. To say such a thing would be like telling Beethoven that one needs to hear in order to play music! All the teacher needs to do is break the lesson into smaller increments of varying activity, depending on the individual personality of the student. Tapping the rhythm of the song with drumsticks on the floor is a great way to re-capture a distracted child (because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be a rock star?).
All in all, learning music comes down to one skill: passion. The child must, above all else, desire to play music. It’s not something that can be taught, but it’s definitely not something that is limited to an age group.