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10 More Easy Piano Songs For Kids

10 MORE Easy Piano Songs for Kids [Video Tutorials]

10 More Easy Piano Songs For Kids

We’ve already shown you easy piano songs for your child to learn, but why stop there? Piano teacher Liz T. adds to the excitement with her recommendations for 10 more of the best piano songs for kids…

 

The keyboard or piano is perhaps the easiest instrument for kids to learn how to play. Within a few weeks of practice, most kids are already playing the melodies to some of their favorite tunes! Between the ages of four through 10 is ideal for students to start learning how to play the piano.

Your child will most likely already be familiar with some of these traditional songs, therefore making it fun and easy for your child to pick them up on the piano. Here are some of the best piano songs for kids to learn.

1. “The Wheels on the Bus”

The wheels on the bus go round and round
C F F F F A C A F
Round and round, round and round
G E C C A F
The wheels on the bus go round and round
C F F F F A C A F
All through the town
G C F

2. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream
C C C D E E D E F G
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
C C C G G G E E E C C C
Life is but a dream
G F E D C

3. “Pop Goes the Weasel”

All around the mulberry bush
C C D D E G E C
The monkey chased the weasel
G C C D D E C
The monkey thought twas all in fun
G C C D E G E C
Pop goes the weasel
A D F E D

4. “Ode to Joy”

E E F G G F E D C C D E E D D
E E F G G F E D C C D E D C C
D D E C D F E C D F E D C D G
E E F G G F E D C C D E D C C

5.”You Are My Sunshine”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
G C D E E E D# E C C
You make me happy when skies are grey
C D E F A A G F E
You’ll never know, Dear, how much I love you
C D E F A A G F E C
So please don’t take my sunshine away
C D E F D D E C

6. “Yankee Doodle”

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony
C C D E C E D C C D E C B
Stuck a feather in his hat and called it Macaroni
C C D E F E D C B G A B C C
Yankee Doodle went to town, Yankee Doodle dandy
A B A G A B C G A G F E G
Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy
A B A G A B C A G C B D C C

7. Barney’s “I Love You” Song

I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family
G E G G E G A G F E D E F
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you
E F G C C C C C D E F G
Won’t you say you love me too
G D D F E D C

8. “When the Saints Go Marching In”

Oh when the saints
C E F G
Oh when the saints
C E F G
Oh when the saints go marching in
C E F G E C E D
Oh how I want to be in that number
E E D C C E G G G F
When the saints go marching in
E F G E D E C

9. “Amazing Grace”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
D G B G B, A G E D
That saved a wretch like me
D G B G B A D
I once was lost, but now am found
B D B D B G D E G G E D
Twas blind but now I see
D G B G B A G

10. “Jingle Bells”

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh
G E D C G G G G E D C A
Over the fields we go, laughing all the way
A A F E D B G G F D E
Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright
G E D C G G E D C A
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight
A A F E D G G G G A G F D C G
Jingle bells, jingle bells
E E E E E E
Jingle all the way
E G C D E
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey
F F F F F E E E E D D E D G
Jingle bells, jingle bells
E E E E E E
Jingle all the way
E G C D E
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey
F F F F F E E E E G G F D C C

Following along with these video tutorials can be helpful, but I also recommend checking out this guide to piano notes, so your child can learn more about the relationships between the keys.

I also encourage you and your child to sing along while you play these songs! This is a great way for children to become familiar with these classic and traditional songs, while improving their reading and aural skills.

Finally, if you or your child needs some guidance working on these songs, I highly recommend working with a piano instructor! A private piano teacher can show your child the proper fingering placement on the piano, the appropriate speed and pace for the song, and the joy of playing these fun songs. Happy playing!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by C.K. Koay

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25 Tips for Supporting Your Young Musician [Infographic]

100 ways to be the perfect piano parents

Parents, wondering how to best show your support as your child starts music lessons? Read on for a round-up of the best tips from piano teacher Rhonda B., plus a few other prominent piano bloggers…

 

So you’ve enrolled your child in piano lessons. End of story, right? No. Learning this challenging instrument — or any instrument, at that — will require a long-term commitment of at least a few years. It takes teamwork to make it happen.

My student Mallory’s mother, Christy, understands this. A couple of months ago, she asked for a consultation during lesson time, and explained her concerns that her 13-year-old daughter seemed to be losing interest in lessons. The three of us agreed to concentrate on making practice times consistent and holding Mallory more accountable. Mom, student, and teacher cooperated toward a mutual goal.

Since the consultation, Mallory’s practicing has improved 100%. This helps her to enjoy lessons and to progress more quickly. She recently nailed her assignment piece, a rendition of “Maple Leaf Rag.” Sweet success! And it happened because a concerned mom walked the extra mile to lend a hand to her struggling daughter.

Kids need their parents’ assistance, encouragement, understanding, and occasional firmness to help them master their music assignments and progress. This is especially true of young beginners — ages 5 to 7 — but also for students of all ages. Mom and Dad can help even if their knowledge of music is practically zero.

You, too, can achieve the status of a perfect piano parent. Here are 25 suggestions for helping kids learn piano and showing your support.

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support in Lessons

Is your child nervous about taking lessons? That’s normal! Ensure a smooth start with these tips…

Start at the right time. Consider if your child is really ready for piano lessons. Although some teachers will take students at very early ages, there are general guidelines for the best age to start piano lessons.

Don’t choose a teacher they don’t relate to. If your child doesn’t like his or her music teacher, this may reflect negatively on the experience. If your child is complaining about their teacher, ask them to share what they don’t like about them. Listen without trying to convince them differently. (via The Child Whisperer)

Stay in close touch with teachers. Keep your instructors informed of what’s happening at home. They can adjust their expectations, change the music, revise the lesson format, switch to better times or days, and more.

See if you can get involved. Check with your teacher to see if he or she suggests sitting in on the lessons — this works for some kids, but not for all.

Consider taking piano lessons at the same time. Be a terrific role model by practicing what you preach, and show your children that you are as human as they are when it comes to making mistakes. Bonus: Playing duets together can be a great way to bond!

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support at Home

Helping kids learn piano begins with a supportive home environment! Here are some tips…

Ask questions about what your child is working on. Listen to some of the assigned composers’ music on YouTube together. My student Aiden’s mom helped him find a ragtime version of “Everything Is Awesome”… which got her son really excited about the song.

Make sure your child has the right resources & books. Talk to your child’s teacher and ask about getting a theory book to accompany the lesson book. There’s a good chance that your teacher will suggest one to begin with. If not, ask for one. (via KeytarHQ)

Encourage other family members to applaud your child’s efforts. Positive attention is a great motivator. (via FamilyEducation)

Listen to music at home and in the car. It really doesn’t matter what you listen to – rock, country, classical, pop, or indie – what matters is that you let your kids see you bebopping along to it. Encourage singing and dancing as much as possible!

Head off burn-out. Kids may need to push through a tough stage, but at other times, a reward can help. For my student Matthew’s outstanding lesson last week, for example, his mother treated him to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Realize that it’s a process. There usually isn’t fast progress, but if students consistently practice, they will see wonderful results over time. This really is a case where slow and steady wins the race. (via Laura, Laura’s Music Studio)

Be especially supportive when they have a bad day. Music lessons are hard and get harder every week. While your child may be picking up their lessons at a fast pace, they won’t always. There will come days when your child has a tough time learning something and gets frustrated. Explain everyone has a tough day or two from time to time and to be patient. Help them through it. (via Piano Wizard Academy)

If there’s a growing attitude problem, try to identify the heart of the issue.
Does Kaitlyn really hate the piano, or is she frustrated because she can’t seem to master the B section of “Musette”? What’s the real issue?

Be wary of unrealistic expectations. People often vastly underestimate how difficult music can be. It’s best to have as few expectations as possible, and take every development as a gift when it comes. (via The Wise Serpent)

Don’t ‘help’ in ways the teacher hasn’t asked you to. For example, don’t write the names of the notes in the music for your child. (via Elissa Milne – from her article 15 Things You Need to Know About Supporting Your Child Learning to Play the Piano)

Encourage your kids to compose their own songs! Being creative in this way is not only fun, it instills deeper music intelligence, fosters general life skills, and increase self-confidence.

Piano Parents Tips: Handling Practice Time

Not sure how to motivate your child to practice? Here’s what you need to know…

Set up the right environment for practice. Make sure your kids are practicing in a comfortable place, with all the supplies they need. Here’s a great resource from AMP (the National Association of Music Parents).

Establish a practice routine. Explain that practicing is non-negotiable… like completing math homework or eating vegetables or tackling chores. Make it doable by insisting on regular practice times when students are rested and alert.

Consider using the phrase “playing time” rather than “practice time.” (via FamilyEducation)

Establish daily musical goals. For example, instead of saying that 30 minutes of practice is enough regardless of what is achieved, you might say, “Today the goal of practicing is to play the first eight measures of your piece without any mistakes.” (via PBS Parents)

Game-ify your child’s practice, such as with the ideas in this article from NPR.

Piano Parents Tips: Show Your Support at Recitals

Piano recitals are the perfect opportunity for your child to show off what he or she has learned! Increase your child’s confidence with these tips…

Take advantage of performances. Nothing motivates student practicing like preparing to play publicly, whether it’s a formal studio recital, sharing a piece in music class at school, or jamming with the church’s youth band.

Encourage the whole family to attend! Fill the crowd with friendly faces to fend off nerves and make your child feel especially excited about performing.

Prepare your child for mistakes before the recital. Tell a funny story about a time when you flubbed something or suffered a pratfall. Make light in advance of any looming catastrophe. Make it clear that a mistake is “no big deal.” (via The Happy Piano Professor)

Verbalize your support. All students wonder sometimes: is all their practicing worthwhile? Does anybody care about it? Are they sounding better than they did a year ago? A thoughtful, positive comment from a parent can help them persevere.

20+ Tips for Parents How to Support Your Young Musician

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Learning to play a musical instrument, especially one as difficult as piano, requires teamwork. Students learn and practice. Instructors teach, guide, and gently prod toward excellence. Moms and dads enforce practicing, support the instruction, and stay attuned to their children’s struggles and victories. Together they form a win/win/win team, thanks in part to the perfect piano parent’s involvement.

Want more tips? Check out Anthony Mazzocchi’s book, The Music Parents’ Guide: A Survival Kit for the New Music Parent.

Teachers and parents, what other tips would you recommend for helping kids learn piano? Let us know in the comments!

 

Rhonda Barfield has taught piano for 20+ years in two piano schools and now at her home studio. She has a B.A. in Music Education from Culver-Stockton College, and studied post-graduate piano with instructors at Truman State University. Rhonda operates Listening House Studios in St. Charles, Missouri with her son and business partner Eric. Book lessons here!

Photo by Michael Cisneros

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Is Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons This Infographic Will Help

Quiz: Is Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons?

You’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of music education for kids, often leading to higher math and reading scores, improved memory and concentration, and even higher SAT scores later in life. Plus, learning how to play an instrument is just plain fun!

If your child is already showing an interest in music, perhaps you’re considering signing up for piano lessons, a common introductory instrument for kids. However, you’ll want to consider a few important things before booking the lessons. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to the right age for piano lessons, a few factors come into play. The infographic below will help you decide, “Is my child ready for piano lessons?”

Is Your Child Ready for Piano Lessons

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So, how did you do? If you think your child is at the right age for piano lessons, the next step is to find a great piano teacher. Need some help? Begin your search here!  

Not quite there yet? Don’t fret — there are still opportunities to engage your child in music, including playing rhythm games, dancing, and singing along to songs — in the meantime. Music is a lifelong adventure — enjoy it together!

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How to Measure the Success of Your Child’s Piano Lessons

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Piano lessons for kids are an investment — so how do you know your investment is worthwhile? Here are some tips for checking in and making sure your child is learning piano at the right pace, courtesy of Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T

 

If your child has recently started taking private lessons, there are certain benchmarks you can follow to assess musical progress as he or she is learning piano. Many parents are unaware of how to track and measure their child’s musical abilities. These guidelines will help you understand what level of theory comprehension and performance standards your child and his or her teacher should be striving for in the first year of piano lessons.

First Month

Students should begin learning piano by focusing on the right and the left hands, with their correlating numbers for each finger (1-5). Students should begin reading music with these numbers only. This will help train them how to read music and play the piano comfortably at the same time. Students should practice both the left and right hands, starting with 1-3, their thumbs on middle C, playing the white notes on the keyboard, and then using their 4th and 5th fingers.

Three Months

Now that your child is comfortable with identifying their fingers with numbers, they should be moving on to learning the actual note names on the staff paper. They should be familiar with the lines (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) and spaces (FACE) in treble clef and the lines (Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always) and spaces (All Cows Eat Grass) in bass clef, to quickly identify the notes. Students will also start to interpret simple rhythms, such as half notes, whole notes, quarter notes, and so on.

Six Months

At this time students will be introduced to scales, starting with the easier scales (C, G, F). Learning these scales will also help your child become familiar with the accidentals (sharps and flats). The combination of analyzing the correct note names and rhythms will help students learn simple songs to play.

One Year

At this time, students should be comfortable with reading the notes on the page and practicing their scales. This is also a good time to introduce chords, playing multiple notes in the chord triad in the right and left hand. It may take a while for your child to learn chords, depending the size of their hands. Some students love hammering down on the piano playing chords, while others can be intimidated!

 

All students have different learning styles and paces. Depending on the age of your child, these timelines could vary. Some students may hit these target goals months before the average student is expected to comprehend these subjects, while others may need a few more weeks or months to develop their skills. I wish your student all the success, and if you want to make sure your student is on the right track in their piano lessons, find a great teacher today at TakeLessons!

LizTLiz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

 

 

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3 Tips for Raising a Piano Prodigy

3564092909_d1db752125_b (1)Think you have a child piano prodigy on your hands — or simply want to encourage your son or daughter to explore music and art? Here are some tips for providing encouragement from Aurora, CO piano teacher Jon F...

 

Parents, I know what you are thinking: people who play piano are either born with a given talent, or none at all. I believe that is simply false, because whether you’re a genius or a simple person, piano is one of the best activities that everyone can learn.

I come from a family of (mostly) musicians. My father was a pianist before me, my sister and grandfather played trumpet, and several other family members had career training as musicians as well. People say that “it’s in my blood and nature to want to play piano, because so many other people in my family play an instrument,” but I believe that natural skill, and indeed, becoming a piano prodigy can be something developed over time.

Expose Your Child to Music

Some people will tell you that as early as before a child’s birth, it is imperative to play music for a baby in the womb. (Moms – this means you allowing dad to put some headphones on your big baby belly.) Doctors and scientists have confirmed that babies respond to the sound provided through the headphones. Let’s say a dad wants to play classical music for the baby; once the baby is born, chances are higher that the baby will respond positively to that sound because he or she experienced it while maturing in the womb. What’s that? Your baby is throwing a tantrum? Well throw on some upbeat jazz tunes to lighten the mood!

Another great lesson to music-loving parents for encouraging a young prodigy is early exposure to LIVE music. Symphonic concerts (and even the occasional rock or jazz concert) are what I highly recommend. Giving your child a chance to hear other live musicians and draw creatively from what they have to offer is crucial to becoming more able in his or her own playing and learning. I know I was grateful for all the times I got dragged to a theater for a live performance, even if I had to wear my finest clothes, which were uncomfortable and itchy. It all made it worth it once the symphony would launch into a wonderful concert filled with works from famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach. As an adult I know I lean the most toward Romantic Era works by composers such as Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, and Berlioz.

Encourage Your Child to Perform

Do your best to inspire your child to want to perform. If your child seems shy, come up with interesting ways to motivate and challenge him or her in a way that isn’t putting them in the limelight. If you think you have a true genius on board, give them small tests to see what he or she responds to. Most students respond positively and enthusiastically to challenges when they know it will further them in some way, whether by doing better in school, or knowing they’ll have more friends that share the same musical passion. Talent shows and music competitions are a great way to challenge a child who wants to “show off” what they know. Just look at some of the artists in today’s world, like Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, and other musicians that broke onto the music industry scene. Giving children examples of other musicians will inspire them and give them interesting and fulfilling desires to sound like their music idols.

Listen and Be Supportive

Listen closely to what your child likes and dislikes and work off of that. Be supportive, even when your child is frustrated or discouraged. (My father certainly was for me.) Make sure your child is happy with their learning, teachers, time spent practicing, etc. If your child feels they are not being challenged enough (as most child piano prodigies will be), find new ways to test them. Keep raising the bar. But most importantly, love your child for who they become. Whether or not they pursue musical passions and apply it to their intellectual abilities, be proud of them for what they do at every chance you get.

As the great Bono from U2 stated: “Music can change the world because it can change people.” Make you and your child that change.

Jon

Jon F. teaches classical guitar, classical piano, music theory, and percussion in Aurora, CO. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from University of Northern Colorado, and has been teaching students since 2010. Learn more about Jon F. here!

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From Toy Pianos to Ukes: Gift Ideas for Musically-Inclined Kids

Music Instruments For KidsWould you love to give your child the gift of music? Introducing music into the life of your child provides an array of benefits, from the sheer joy of music to improved coordination, social and verbal skills, core competency skills, and more. From toy pianos for kids to technological fun, there are a variety of ways to introduce music into the life of a child.

Pass the love of music on to your child with these great gift ideas:

Toy Pianos & Keyboards
From stomping piano dance mats to mini baby grands with microphones, you can’t beat tickling the ivories for having a little musical fun with your kids. What’s more, toy pianos for kids can teach a multitude of skills, from focus and commitment to the confidence that comes from learning notes and playing their first song. Keyboard skills can build coordination and hand strength as well as spatial cognitive skills that help with math later in life.

Drum Sets, Bongos, & More
What kid doesn’t love whacking things? Add a stick and double the pleasure! Beyond the sheer fun factor, percussion instruments have a lot to offer, including increased physical stamina and better coordination. They also aid children academically, improving concentration, increasing the brain’s development, and complimenting core studies. Go pro with a 5-piece drum set with cymbals, or go light on your wallet – and the gear – with Paper Jamz drums. There are also an array of percussion options for babies and toddlers as well, including the fun and saliva-proof Nino by Meinl Fruit Shakers and Melissa & Doug Band in a Box. Special note: Sound-proof room not included!

Guitars, Violins, & Things With Strings
String instruments help with upper body strength, flexibility, coordination, and fine motor skills. Some instruments, such as violins, can also improve posture. Like other musical instruments, string instruments also improve memory, self-discipline, attention span, and focus, in addition to boosting intellectual and creative development. From inexpensive and simple electronic violins and guitars for little tykes, to Paper Jamz guitars, lap harps, ukuleles, and inexpensive “starter” instruments for older children interested in lessons, you and your kids will be happily plucking away in no time.

Wind Instruments
From simple and inexpensive harmonicas and recorders to Bontempi’s array of inexpensive, color-coded wind instruments including saxes, trumpets, clarinets, and more, wind instruments enhance lung and diaphragm function, decrease respiratory ailments, improve hand and eye coordination, and improve finger dexterity. Want something fun and different for younger children? Go for Quercetti’s Saxoflute for a variety of build and play fun from this 16-piece interchangeable set.

Musical Games
Don’t neglect the benefit of musical games and board games for improving memory recognition, pitch recognition, and more! From old favorites like Simon to new additions like Nino Percussion Shake ‘N Play Memory Game and Spontuneous, musical games offer fun for the entire family.

Music Apps

And there’s many more out there… Just search ‘music education apps’!

The Gift of Music Itself

Playing music for your child, whether that means purchasing CDs, downloading individual songs, or simply streaming music, is important for introducing children of any age to the joys of music. Opt for a variety, from classical symphonies to folk, jazz, rock, and more. There are many groups out there that create music specifically for kids, and these can be great stocking stuffers.

Finally, if your child is a bit older, consider signing him or her up for music lessons. Private, one-on-one lessons with a great teacher and the instrument of your child’s choice can help foster a lifelong relationship with music.

Incorporate the joys of music into the life of your child. Making music a part of your daily world with musical toys and gifts will foster a love of music in your child that will last a lifetime. There is no better gift you can give!

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Piano Lessons for Kids: 5 Easy Ways to Support Your Child

5150019644_753346c6c4_bIs your son or daughter excited about starting piano lessons? Learning a new skill can be both fun and nerve-wracking. So as a parent, what can you do to ensure his or her success? Here, Rosedale, MD teacher Theresa D. offers her tips… 

 

Many parents want to do as much for their child as they possibly can, while other parents want to let their child figure it out on his or her own. But how much is too much help, and how much is not enough, when it comes to piano lessons for kids? Well, I am going to try to help you figure that out.

Ask Questions

Every child has different learning styles and needs. For instance, one might need more help with playing and practicing, while another might be more personally motivated and does not need much support. You need to talk to your child to find out what he or she needs. For younger students, you may need to keep it simple. Start a discussion after the first lesson, and ask questions like “How did it make you feel?” and “Did you enjoy your lesson?” This gives you an idea if the teacher or teaching style is the right match for your child.

Also, ask your child if he or she wants you in the room during the lessons. With younger students, I highly encourage parents to stay in the room as an observer. That way, you are able to help with practicing at home. Feel free to take notes or ask the teacher to email the information after the lesson is over.

Encourage Consistency

It is very important for your child to take lessons and practice regularly. It holds your child accountable and will help him or her stay motivated. If you have to miss lessons or practice, try to make up for it at a later date or the next day if possible.

Set a Practice Schedule

Practice is the most important step to success. But it doesn’t have to take up hours and hours every night. I usually recommend at least one hour a week of practice. For those with shorter attention spans, breaking it up into smaller times can make practice more enjoyable. For example: 10 minutes for six days or 15 minutes for four days. This allows the student to focus on what he or she is practicing and actually make progress. If your child wants to practice longer, then that’s fine.

Practice should also be scheduled. Just like written homework from school, it should have a specific time to be done on a regular basis. Some suggestions for practice times could be right after homework is done for school, while dinner is being prepared, before bed, or first thing in the morning.

Help Out During Practice

For students that have issues with looking down at their hands while playing, keeping track of where they are in the music can be difficult. One way to help is to cover your child’s hands with a folder held a few inches above the fingers. This forces your child to keep his or her eyes on the music and trust his or her fingers. Other students may need more help, so here is another idea to try: point to the notes on the music as he or she is playing. That way, if your child does need to look down, it’s easier to find the spot in the music faster.

If your child has problems reading music or identifying the notes, have him or her say the letter names out loud before or while playing the music. This will help your child recognize the notes more quickly, and is better than writing in the notes, as that can cause dependency on the letters and not the actual music notes. However, students may write some notes in their music as a reminder. Encourage the use of a colored pencils for this, instead of a regular pencil. It makes it easier to see the notes written in the music and it allows them to show their personalities, even if they are the only one to see it.

If your child is old enough, make sure he or she has a piece of paper nearby to take notes during practice. Encourage your child to write down any questions that come up during practice so he or she can ask them at the next lesson.

Finally, while it is important to keep things consistent, children also like exploring new things. For example, you could encourage your child to change the sounds or instruments on your keyboard. Most keyboards come with a variety of sounds to play with. Your child might like to try harpsichord, saxophone, or even animal sounds to make practicing more interesting.

Talk to Your Child’s Teacher

I understand that parents don’t really have a say in what the teacher wants to teach, but as a parent you can influence the direction the teacher will take. If you notice that your child hates practicing or is unhappy after each lesson but is still making progress, maybe the music choice is off or there needs to be a change to the practicing routine. Let his or her teacher know. After all, teachers cannot read minds. Sometimes it only takes one song to get your child excited about playing again. Also, if you and your child are confused about an assignment, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher. Some teachers will be available for questions between lessons through email, phone, or Skype.

Most of all, you need to keep your eyes and ears open to the signs that your child is giving off. Be an active participant in their music education.

TheresaD

Theresa D. teaches piano, guitar, percussion, and more in Rosedale, MD. She has been teaching for the past 18 years. Learn more about Theresa here!

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How to Measure the Success of Your Child’s Piano Lessons

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Piano lessons for kids are an investment — so how do you know your investment is worthwhile? Here are some tips for checking in and making sure your child is learning piano at the right pace, courtesy of Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T

 

If your child has recently started taking private lessons, there are certain benchmarks you can follow to assess musical progress as he or she is learning piano. Many parents are unaware of how to track and measure their child’s musical abilities. These guidelines will help you understand what level of theory comprehension and performance standards your child and his or her teacher should be striving for in the first year of piano lessons.

First Month

Students should begin learning piano by focusing on the right and the left hands, with their correlating numbers for each finger (1-5). Students should begin reading music with these numbers only. This will help train them how to read music and play the piano comfortably at the same time. Students should practice both the left and right hands, starting with 1-3, their thumbs on middle C, playing the white notes on the keyboard, and then using their 4th and 5th fingers.

Three Months

Now that your child is comfortable with identifying their fingers with numbers, they should be moving on to learning the actual note names on the staff paper. They should be familiar with the lines (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) and spaces (FACE) in treble clef and the lines (Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always) and spaces (All Cows Eat Grass) in bass clef, to quickly identify the notes. Students will also start to interpret simple rhythms, such as half notes, whole notes, quarter notes, and so on.

Six Months

At this time students will be introduced to scales, starting with the easier scales (C, G, F). Learning these scales will also help your child become familiar with the accidentals (sharps and flats). The combination of analyzing the correct note names and rhythms will help students learn simple songs to play.

One Year

At this time, students should be comfortable with reading the notes on the page and practicing their scales. This is also a good time to introduce chords, playing multiple notes in the chord triad in the right and left hand. It may take a while for your child to learn chords, depending the size of their hands. Some students love hammering down on the piano playing chords, while others can be intimidated!

 

All students have different learning styles and paces. Depending on the age of your child, these timelines could vary. Some students may hit these target goals months before the average student is expected to comprehend these subjects, while others may need a few more weeks or months to develop their skills. I wish your student all the success, and if you want to make sure your student is on the right track in their piano lessons, find a great teacher today at TakeLessons!

LizTLiz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

 

 

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The Best Piano Competitions for Young Pianists in 2015

piano competition

Are you considering entering your budding pianist into a piano competition? There are an array of competitions to choose from across the U.S., many offering the opportunity to compete against top performers from around the globe.

All-Ages Piano Competitions Across the U.S.:

Seattle International Piano Festival & Competition – Seattle, WA

Competing in May (preliminary) and October 2015 (finals) at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, pianists from all over the world are encouraged to freely select piano repertoire for this bi-annual competition. Numerous cash and non-cash awards will be distributed. Updated information for the 2015 competition is expected to be posted in January, so keep this page bookmarked!

The American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition – New York, NY

In May 2015, students are invited to participate in this competition at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Prizes include scholarships, cash, and special awards. Past winners have been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show. But hurry — mail or online applications and DVD/CD recordings are due no later than January 27, 2015.

Alexander & Buono International Piano Competition – New York, NY

On Sunday, May 17, 2015, winner’s recitals will take place in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie following this annual competition. Application deadline is April 13, 2015.

Piano Competitions for the Younger Crowd:

Cleveland International Piano Competition – Cleveland, OH

May 12-21, 2015, pianists ages 12-18 will compete at Baldwin Wallace University and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium. Room and board is provided for contestants and cash prizes will be awarded at the end of the competition. The application deadline is December 1st, however late applications will be accepted through the 14th with an additional fee.

Dallas International Piano Competition – Dallas, TX

Pianists born after March 14th, 1980, are invited to this competition hosted by the Dallas Chamber Symphony in partnership with the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Prizes include cash and a subscription concert engagement with the Dallas Chamber Symphony for the first-prize recipient. Online applications are due December 15th, and the competition takes place March 11-14, 2015,

The First Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition – Fort Worth, TX

Pianists ages 13 to 17 can participate in this new competition on the campus of TCU, which has held adult competitions since 1962. (The Fifteenth Annual Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for ages 19-30 is scheduled for May 25-June 10, 2017.) The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will perform with each of the three finalists. Competition performances will be webcast live June 21-28, 2015. Online applications and submissions of recital videos are due January 9, 2015, so don’t delay!

Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition – New York, NY

Competing June 2015, pianists ages 7-17 worldwide are invited to compete for cash and prizes, in addition to the opportunity to perform at New York’s prestigious Merkin Concert Hall. Printed applications and auditions via YouTube link are due by March 1, 2015.

Wisconsin Youth Piano Competition – Milwaukee, WI

June 12-15, 2015, The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and PianoArts invites pianists ages 10-16 to compete opposite the PianoArts North American Competition for pianists ages 16-20. Cash, the opportunity to perform with the MSO and its musicians, as well as an array of learning experiences are offered as prizes. Application and CD submission deadline is April 20, 2015.

2015 International Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition – Chicago, IL

June 12-14, 2015, pianists under 20 will compete for cash, classes, and performance opportunities with The New Millennium Orchestra on Chicago’s finest stage, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center. Application deadline is April 1, 2015.

Need More Time? Plan Ahead for These 2016 Piano Competitions:

United States Open Music Competition – Oakland, CA

The application deadline has passed for this competition, in which local, national, and international pianists of all ages can compete for scholarships, cash, and prizes at the Mormon Inter-Stake Temple in Oakland, California. However, you can plan ahead using this year’s guidelines, and keep the page bookmarked for updated information.

Virginia Waring International Piano Competition – San Bernardino, CA

This competition hosts pianists ages 12-18 at California State University’s Palm Desert Campus. Host-family lodging and local transportation are provided. Thousands of dollars in scholarships and performance prizes will be awarded. Though the application deadline for this year’s competition passed in October, those wishing to participate in the 2016 competition are encouraged to review this year’s application requirements.

The 7th Bosendorfer and Yamaha U.S. ASU International Piano Competition – Phoenix, AZ

Pianists ages 13 and up are invited to compete for cash prizes and a number of concerto performances with The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra in this event. Though the application has passed for the 2015 event, it’s never too early to start thinking about your YouTube audition and application for the 2016 piano competition!

Hilton Head International Piano Competition – Hilton Head, SC

Pianists ages 13-17 can take part in this three-round competition awarding scholarships and cash prizes. Deadline for the 2015 competition has passed, so start prepping for the 2016 competition now.

Tips for Piano Competitions

No matter what event you’re entering, remember that rules are rules, so it’s important to pay strict attention to them when applying for your piano competition! Be mindful of application deadlines and what’s required, such as a preliminary CD or video. Other common items required include proof of age (birth certificate or passport), an application fee, photo, biographical material, letter of recommendation from your piano teacher, and parent permission forms. The first time may feel a little overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask your piano teacher or parent to help you through the process – that’s what they are there for!

Ready to apply for what could be the performance of a lifetime? Don’t be afraid to come out of your shell – the world is waiting!

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How to Set the Right Goals for Piano Lessons

1102666312_cb1f6f15b8_oExcited about learning piano? Thinking about and setting specific goals is a must-do before you start your lessons. Learn how to set yourself up for success in this guest post by Helendale, CA teacher Sylvia S...

 

You’ve been thinking about learning piano lessons for a while, or maybe you’ve been away from the piano for a while and want a refresher. Maybe your family relocated or your piano teacher retired, got married, or changed to a different career. Whatever happened, you’re ready for your lesson, and you’re ready to set some goals.

So what is a goal?

One person might want to learn to play a favorite song on the piano by the end of summer by practicing for half an hour a day on a family keyboard, because he likes the song and wants to play it for his friends when school starts.

Another person might intensely desire to master both classical and popular music on the piano by practicing on a grand piano in her living room from one to four hours a day, five days a week, over a period of 15 years, because she is from a musical family and wants to make playing piano her career for life.

Finally, we have the average piano student who just wants to learn how to play.

With such a vast range of options, setting a goal for learning piano can seem challenging. Fortunately, even if you haven’t had much success with goal-setting in the past, piano lessons are a great way to learn how! The right goals are S-M-A-R-T:

  • S is for Specific: What kind of piano music would you like to learn? Do you prefer popular songs from the internet or the radio? Do you like instrumental piano music, like classical or New Age? Are you curious about all the details, with a burning desire to learn all about music theory? If you’re a parent, what are your expectations? Do you and your child share the same tastes in music?
  • M is for Measurable: When do you expect to achieve your goal? Are music lessons a long-term investment, or are you just trying things out? Do you value an impressive goal enough to put in months, or even years, to achieve it? Would you prefer simpler, shorter, mini-goals that can be achieved each week?
  • A is for Attainable: Is there a piano or keyboard available for practice in your home? Is there time in your schedule to practice regularly? Are you new to piano, have you been playing for a few years, or is your musical experience on a different instrument? Sharing your ideas for goals with your piano teacher is a great way to open the conversation and work together on creating goals that you can achieve.
  • R is for Rewarding: Why do you want to play piano? Is it that you’ve always loved the sound of the instrument, or that your living room piano is collecting dust? What’s in it for you?
  • T is for Trackable: How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Back in the day, the only way to track a budding pianist’s performance was at an annual recital. Fortunately, those days are fading into a dim memory, and practically anyone can record and upload a video with the chance to become a global phenomenon.

Okay, we’ve covered all the letters for S-M-A-R-T. Once you get used to using this acronym, you can use it to help you set goals for practically anything you want to achieve in life, including setting the right kind of goals for learning piano!

SylviaSSylvia S. teaches singing, piano, theater acting, and more in Helendale, CA. She comes from a musical family of several generations, and her experience includes playing an electric keyboard and singing vocals in a professional, working band. Learn more about Sylvia here! 

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