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Teaching My Own Children Piano

August 8, 2011

You would think that teaching my own kids piano would be easy, but it’s not.  Because we already butt heads on certain issues at home, it carries over into piano lessons, but I will continue as long as they express an interest.  Maybe a different environment would be better.  I need to choose a time that is theirs no matter what.  It’s so easy to say that I’m too tired, busy, etc., but they are such naturals at it, I really need to stick with it.

Today I was able to help my oldest son get through the first book he’s been working on, so that was exciting.  It was a bit long, but I told him, “You’re so close to the end of the book!  Let’s keep going!”  I’m really excited to get to the point where they can play their favorite songs.  It becomes really fun then.

My youngest son did awesome.  He remembers the notes well and has excellent rhythm.  He was handling it very well, so I even pushed him to “connect the notes” to create a smoother sound.  It took a while, but he got it!

I gave my daughter (age 2) a mini lesson at her insistence.  She is really into it and will stand by me and sing whenever I play.  Last time she made up a song about giving me a kiss.  So cute!

My 9-year-old son is the most high strung and became frustrated very quickly even though he was doing well.  He doesn’t understand that he is very good at it.  He’s a perfectionist though and has very low tolerance for his mistakes, so I need to use humor with him as much as possible.  Two or three times, tears were flowing.  He is also concerned with passing his brothers, but I reminded him it’s not a competition.  Once the basics click, he’ll take off.

Video games have become more of an issue since their break started, so they can add practicing to their list of solutions when they’re bored.  My 9-year-old wants to learn the violin this year, so this will give him a great foundation.  A friend suggestion viola, but the violin uses the treble clef and I think he will find that less confusing.

Another difficult issue I face is that the lesson never really ends.  When my kids practice, they aren’t likely to just work it out on their own because I am always near.  It’s too tempting to ask me, “How do you do this?  Was that right?”  My piano teacher left and I was stuck with figuring it out myself.  I’m going to have to be better about making them do the same.  It’s not that I don’t want to help them, but it’s part of the learning process.

I also worry about the noise from the piano bothering my neighbors and wish we had a nice keyboard we could use headphones with or turn down the volume.  Come to think of it, headphones might solve the issue of wanting to ask me for assistance frequently.  I’m going to keep my eyes open for a sweet deal!

Are there any parents out there who teach their own children piano?  What are your experiences?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2011 2:42 am

    Wow! If you manage to teach the piano to 4 children (your own, too!), you earn my admiration :-) Keep at it, you’re planting seeds in a fertile soil that will yield a hundred fold!

    I think that you will find the perfect balance between being there for them when they need help, and letting them figure it out. One way to do that is to ask them first to give it their best shot, and be there just to give feedback. Personally I’ve found that it’s just following times of frustration that my skills increased the most. You can perhaps explain to them that skill acquisition is a bit like climbing higher and higher mountains: the achievement isn’t being at the top, it’s getting there. But it’s only when at the top that you can enjoy the view!

    • August 8, 2011 10:44 am

      Thanks, Nicolas! I really appreciate your encouragement. :-D I was thinking, I could go to the church and have the kids practice on different pianos in the building to help with time issues. Maybe I could help clean the building while they do that.

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