The beauty of learning piano

Learning piano has been considered one of the most essential lessons for their children for many parents. The advantages of piano lessons for children goes way beyond that of just music education: Playing the piano engages both the right & left brain and these advantages carry on through their lives.

Young Children and Readiness

Experts & studies have shown that children have better capacity for learning languages at around the age of four and this could be used for learning music and piano and translating the new language into beautiful piano pieces.  As a parent, you know your child best and can gauge their abilities and motor skills. Depending on readiness of individuals, children as young as 4 may learn to play the piano, starting with simple notes. Ability to read alphabets and numbers and curve the fingers and finger strength helps in early childhood learning piano.

When their child shows an interest in striking the keys on the keyboard or piano, many parents rush to enquire for a piano teacher or class.The key is to match the type of lesson and the teacher to the child\'s readiness to learn certain skills and tasks.

Piano  lesssons for very young

Parents and teachers must always bear in mind that they are dealing with a very small child who may still be unsure of even which hand is left and which hand is right. Learning to play the piano is not an easy task for  anyone, let alone a young child. Most of the time, the piano teacher job is to instill a love for learning piano and music. With four- and five-year-olds, this often translates to simply having fun. Sometimes group music lessons are more appropriate.

What to look out for when engaging a teacher

for the pres-schooler
We get enquiries for students as young as 3 years old. During a trial lesson or the first lesson, evaluate the teacher, just as the teacher assess your child's readiness, especially for a very young child. You do not need a Juilliard graduate with impressive performance career.You want someone who have experience with teaching kids and have experience in pre-school programmes teaching young children in music schools or someone who has taken early childhood classes or beginner pedagogy. You want someone loves children and has some tricks up their sleeves when it comes to children. Not some high flier pianist who does not really fancy teaching young children.

Teachers teaching young children will use age-appropriate materials and spice up the lesson with games and varying activities that doesn't just make the child sit throughout the lesson. These materials and activities should vary from that of a 7 or 8 year old's as a 4 year old's developing skills and ability is a great deal different.

Piano

 

for the young child
Can your child connect with the piano teacher? Most of the time, when a child likes the teacher, the child usually is more receptive and positive. Is the piano teacher engaging and stimulating the child's response and interest?

Piano Teacher's qualifications
In Singapore, there are teachers starting with ABRSM Grade 8. Many continue to pursue their diplomas with ABRSM or Trinity. There are teachers who went overseas for training and achieve their Masters and degrees locally from National University of Singapore's Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Nafa (University of Wales), LASALLE or abroad. 

Communication & parental involvement

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Even as a busy parent who could not be around when your kid is having piano lessons, it is important to communicate with the piano teacher. You need to know what is going on. The success of your child's music journey requires him doing his part, the piano teacher doing his part and you, the parent, doing your part. You could establish a channel that works for yourself and your child's piano lteacher. It could be in the form of weekly or fortnightly smses, emails or brief phone call.

What do you talk about? Lots! Like the progress of your child, his attentiveness, attitude, attendance, schedule changes, your feedback, teacher's feedback, materials and books, music sheets, your child's weekness and strength, make up lesson, style of discipline and practice.

Well, of course, if your child is a pre-schooler, you will likely need to sit-in in class and participate in class. Then you could communicate face to face with the teacher. Also, you could do some homework and mimic the teacher's style of teaching at home for consistency.

Piano Exams Singapore
Many parents in Singapore choose to let their children take piano exams to acertain that they are on the right track and for attainment of internationally recognised benchmarks. It is more tangible in terms of milestones and goals in the music journey. At the same time, it gives children an experience in performing. Does it ensure that children enjoy music and piano? No. Is it a perfect system? No, but piano exams serves it's purpose. Piano examinations is optional. Parents and children make the call to decide if they would like to take the exams. But mentality is of utmost importance, music is not about another paper chase.

The general sructure of piano exams in Singapore:

There are 4 different components to a graded practical music exam:

1. Prepared pieces

3 piano pieces are chosen from a set lists, practiced at home and performed during the exam.

2. Technical requirement

Specified scales and technical exercises are to be practiced and prepared at home and tested during the exam.

3. Sight-reading
Candidate is to play a short piece of music new to him after half a minute of preparation. Graded specimen sight reading tests are available for practice at home.

4. Aural Tests

A group of tests are used to assess listening skills and musical understanding. Specimen aural tests which involve rhythmic, melodic and other musical skills are available for practice at home. Read more to find out about Grade 1 to Grade 8 piano exams in Singapore.