As you are considering piano lessons for your child, you might think: What is the best way for them to learn this new instrument? The possibilities are many due to new technologies and exploring these many options could be daunting. Some ways to learn include youtube, games, apps, online courses, a private piano teacher, group class piano instructor, google, self-taught from a book, a playing piano, etc. BUT- What is the best way for YOUR child to learn?
To see progress, a teacher must instill passion and promote the desire to learn how to play. It is –in the end– a study of playing piano. The student must show effort, spend time developing their skills, and have discipline to keep consistent with it.
The best way for anyone to learn a particular skill is based on your learning skills. What ways do you learn the best? According to ThoughtfulLearning.com, “The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.” If a child is able to use this new technology to accurately play piano with a correct hand shape, read music easily and with understanding, all the while interpreting the correct musical sound for the piece, then I applaud their learning! Not everyone can process new information clearly on their own.
However, the most effective way a child can succeed in learning the piano in it’s entirety (theory, technique, sight-reading, performance, etc), is to be in a student-to-teacher learning environment. In group classes, the 4 C’s are used in every aspect of the lesson plan. The curriculum includes students analyzing music notations and symbols, examining repeated sections and patterns within the music, defining musical terms, describing the feeling and musicality of a piece, creating contrast in volume and sound, and classifying the composer and the written work. Using all of this knowledge will develop a masterful composer and an advanced performer.
Piano classes provide useful tools to establish good habits early in the beginner’s piano playing journey. In the foundation of the lesson the teacher introduces a new concept, possibly from a magnetic white board, then uses flashcards, games, and clapping/singing to engrain the new lesson in the child’s mind. The student is then able to apply the knowledge to playing by reading from their book of written music. The teacher will usually model the new song so students can hear the correct interpretation of the sound before they play. If a student gets confused, he or she can get clear feedback by asking the teacher a question. Each child interacts with one another by listening to each other play. Participation is required in activities so students can learn from each other and grow as musicians. This is not a difficult task in a small class of 4-6 students.
In the end, the bulk of progress in a student’s piano playing happens at home during the week while practicing the piano. The student goes to class once a week only to be instructed and guided in a new lesson. Classmates provide peer motivation to encourage students to complete their “home-work.” There are prizes awarded to those who complete their time goals for practicing during the week.
Another advantage to being a part of a piano or music studio is that there are many exciting opportunities to be involved in the community. Students are able to participate in a halloween float, mini-Christmas recital, end of the year Spring Recital, nursing home performances, talent shows, and more!
Mastering piano is an investment that will bring joy and fulfillment throughout the student’s life. If you are going to learn piano the best way, start by finding a professional piano teacher near you!