First and foremost, I want to say that the best option for your child learning the piano is with a tutor who is both experienced and qualified to teach it. An experienced teacher is well set up to know where to start, what material to use, how best to adapt it, and also provides weekly accountability to promote steady progress in a way not possible through random lessons at home.
However, you may be among those who are forced to look for other options, such as teaching their own child.
- Maybe you live in a place where there is no tutor nearby.
- Maybe the cost of professional lessons is prohibitive.
- Maybe you would like to teach your own child as part of a home schooling routine.
- Maybe you have looked at a few YouTube videos, picked up some ideas and begun to teach your child something from there.
- Maybe you learned many years ago and would like to teach your grandchildren.
What I do know from many conversations I have had with folks near and far, is that there are some parents who would like to be able to teach their own children the piano, but are afraid of nearly killing them in the process because of the likelihood of butting heads! Some professional music teachers I know have said words to this affect when I’ve asked them about efforts to teach their own!
My parents were qualified, experienced music teachers and our family grew up around music. Most people used a caravan for family holidays, but ours was also used during the school term as a mobile teaching studio containing an acoustic piano. The down side of all that was that we didn’t get out of doing our piano practice when we went on holiday! I know, I should say it was the up side, but I didn’t quite see it that way when I was an eight year old and the caravan was parked at the beach.
All this to say, I learned from my mother who was a piano teacher. We got there and I’m hugely grateful for the skills I learned that have enabled me to become a music teacher too. In turn, I taught my children when we lived overseas and I didn’t have the option of sending them to someone else for lessons. I can’t say it was always easy and there were some challenges along the way. I didn’t always get it right either, but I certainly learned some useful things in the process.
In response to many conversations over the years with parents on the subject of piano lessons, I have come to realise that I have indeed learned some valuable things about teaching one’s own children that I would like to pass on to those who feel they have no option but to teach their own.
This has become more possible than ever with the advent of the internet. So over the last year I have been putting together a premium on-line course with the aim of helping such parents through all the positives and negatives that come up when you teach your own children. I’ve included in this a basic course on piano skills for folks who need to know the basic skill area that is essential to even begin. It aims to also be helpful to musicians who know their music but may not know the best way to go about teaching the first piano skills. Also included are things like essentials for success when teaching your own, how to deal with potential personality clashes, practice plans, a review of various piano courses and how to use them, just to name a few of the areas I cover.
The reason I haven’t said much about it until now is that I originally thought I’d be writing an on-line course based on my piano course – Headstart Piano, a curriculum which all my beginners are using now. But I felt I couldn’t do that until I’d given parents the skills needed on which I base my teaching. I look forward to putting Headstart Piano out as an on line course too, now that I am happy with the first two tutor books that I am using with private pupils. It has been a delight to be able to use something that is a combination of all the things I have wanted to see in a piano tutor book.
We have just had school holidays here in NZ (for those reading this in the northern hemisphere) so I have been able to make some progress on the on-line course for parents and I’m getting excited that it really isn’t too far away now.
What I would really like to know from you, as a faithful subscriber to my blog, if you are interested in such a course or know someone who is. I know that parents of my current pupils are among those receiving this and so it is probably not so relevant for you, but maybe it is for someone you know.
For the first 20 folks who get back to me about this from today’s date I would like to include you in a special first offer as I put this out there for the first time. I’d love to be able to get feedback about what is helpful, what isn’t and if in fact there are things that are needed that I haven’t thought of. I will be interacting personally with those using the course in these early days because I want to make sure it meets a felt need, is value for money and really does serve the way I’m intending. I have no interest in doing anything less.