Is your child learning piano this summer? Check out these tips from Des Moines, IA teacher Mariana P. to help him or her stay on track and motivated…
Do you have a young child who just started taking piano lessons? The summer is a great time to start lessons, since children have more time and are able to practice a little more, which is essential to grasp the basics of music and piano technique. However, with more time also come fun vacations and camps.
So, how do you help your new piano player retain what he or she has just learned when you’re away? First of all, speak to your instructor and get their insight. The lesson before a trip or summer camp, meet for five to ten minutes at the end to discuss a plan. If you feel confident enough to guide your child through a few new pieces, exercises, or worksheets, have your instructor write down a detailed plan of what to do in between lessons.
Week 1 – Lesson book page X, theory book page X, technique book page X
Week 2 – Lesson book page Y, theory book page Y, technique book page Y
Please be aware that almost every lesson book page has a corresponding theory, technique, and performance page and you will be able to find those at the bottom of either the lesson book pages or the complementary book’s pages.
If your child has a particular weak point, go ahead and explore some of the worksheets available for download or purchase at lesson plan marketplaces like Teachers Pay Teachers or Lesson Plan Pro.
I have a four year-old student who is just learning her finger numbers, so I suggested to her mom to visit The Plucky Pianista and download her Froggy Fingers worksheet. I’ve used it with my most recent students who are new to learning piano and have had a ton of success. If your child is more into games, Susan Paradis has a couple of them for learning finger numbers. My favorite ones are:
I’ve also created a set of flashcards to practice finger number recognition and placement on the keyboard. You can find it here.
Free iPad Apps
I own an iPad and and iPhone so I haven’t been able to try out the apps available for the Android platform, but here are my favorites for iOS users:
This is great for beginners to feel the beat internally when learning piano. Students have to wait for the count-off and tap the green button for the necessary duration. Each level has an accompaniment to make the exercises more interesting.
This app includes a few free songs and you can buy some more through the app. There are 15 “bots” and they each play a different pitch. When the player is ready to play the song, one bot will light up and raise its hand to let him know to touch it. It’s a fun version of a light-up keyboard. The app offers the option of having the bots sing the pitches on “la,” note names, or solfege syllables.
This is a bonus one. It’s a silly ear-training app to introduce tonal memory. There are three “blobs” and their “king blob.” The three blobs sing three different pitches and then the king blob will sing a pitch that matches one of the other blobs’; choose the correct one and move on to the next exercise.
Finally, the most important thing to keep your child excited about music is being excited about it yourself. Have fun during your practice sessions, be silly, and explore the instrument to ensure the joyous light of music remains lit in their hearts.
Mariana C. teaches piano, singing, and Spanish lessons in Des Moines, IA. She has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory and a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy at the Catholic University of America. Learn more about Mariana here!
Photo by lee