Monday Mailbag – Help for Parents Teaching Their Children Piano

There are no piano teachers here in our area that will teach kids under the age of 7 or 8. Do you have any lesson and/or book recommendations…teaching approach recommendations for beginning teachers and learners?

Occasionally I receive questions like this from parents who really want their children to have a music education, but just have no opportunities for them to take lessons from a dedicated piano teacher. I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of getting a solid start with an excellent teacher, but I sympathize with parents in this predicament and applaud you for wanting to find the best materials/resources for working with your children.

For starters, there are some great musical things you can do with your children that will prepare them for piano lessons even if they are not specifically starting in piano lesson material yet. Here are a few resources that might be helpful:

13 Ideas for Parents to Prepare Their Young Children for Piano Lessons – a post I wrote a while back that gives some helpful ideas for a well-rounded musical start.

Fun and Easy Musical Activities for Young Children – a video interview I did that gives practical suggestions for parents wanting to work with their children.

Pre-Piano Camp Package – this is a course I put together specifically for children ages 3-6, and it should be very easy for a parent with minimal music background to use with their children.

As far as specifics, here are some of the books I use with beginning students:

My First Piano Adventure – This is especially designed for young beginners and comes with a CD that has lots of fun music and interaction for the students. It’s fabulous for several students at once, too, because they can clap or tap along and enjoy the music, even if not all of them will be specifically learning to play the piano right now. There are three sets in this series (A,B, and C) and by the time a student goes through all of them, they are ready for level one of the Piano Adventure series (and have a great musical foundation!). There’s a writing book that goes along with the lesson book so that students can do fun activities and learn theory concepts as well.

Piano Adventures Primer – This is good for a student who is already reading and is ready to jump right into learning the piano without a lot of other supplemental activities. The layout is clean and easy-to-follow. I usually use this along with the corresponding Technique and Artistry book to help students develop good technical habits right off the bat.

Flashcards-in-a-box – This is my favorite set of flashcards. I love using these with students and try to develop fun games that will make it exciting to learn the concepts, terms, symbols, etc. You can find some specific game ideas in my book, 5 for Fun!

Premier Piano Course – This is a newer series that I enjoy using for some students. It has appealing music, is similar in teaching method to the Piano Adventures series, and also includes an At-Home book with a fun story and specific practice suggestions for parents who want to work with their children. It moves a little faster than some of the other methods, so I recommend this more for an older beginner, but I could see even just getting the At-Home book and adapting the practice ideas to whatever else you’re using.

If anyone has other suggestions, please feel free to share, especially if you’re a parent working with your own children!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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