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Help. Several people I respect have recommended that I start my 3yo in piano lessons. Evidently he is showing a good deal of aptitude in this area. My older boys did not have interest- music class and some piano lessons and that was all she wrote. My dh plays violin, but has no idea about piano, esp. at this age. He didn't start til K.

 

The best price I can find for a piano lesson for my son is a bit high for us - esp. for a 3 year old. Is there a dvd or other type curriculum that anyone could recommend? (He loves to do the MUS curriculum which made me think of a dvd. Don't even know if that exists.)

 

Has anyone put their three year old in a formal music lesson and have any advice? Worth it? Just a frustration? If it's worth it, we will invest in the lessons, but I'd sure like to hear some BTDT advice from y'all.

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My dd started Suzuki violin when she was 3- almost 4. She is 12 now and a very accomplished violinist. But, I think piano usually starts a little later- 5 or so.

 

There are Suzuki piano teachers all around the country. I really recommend it because it's designed for kids and works great with kids.

 

Try to find a good Suzuki piano teacher in your area. In the meantime, you can get the Suzuki piano cds. The secret to learning the songs is to play the cds a lot. Just put it on repeat and listen to it as soft (doesn't have to be loud) background music while you are doing normal activities.

 

The cd music seeps into the kids' brains and then they learn the songs quickly because they already know it by heart.

 

Best wishes.

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Music for Little Mozarts by Alfred is really easy for parents to use, especially at the beginning. No piano skill necessary, really. My middle child started at almost 4 and while the exposure was good, it took a while before her hands/fingers were really strong enough to progress consistently. We've used all four books in this series now and it was perfect for early music theory (we used the workbooks, too) and basic piano skills.

 

I would use the first book with him and keep going until you and your husband feel he needs more direction than you can give him. Then find an instructor for formal lessons.

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Both my kids started piano quite young. I think any child can benefit from starting early, not just those who show an early talent.

 

We did start with a teacher. If you do start with a teacher, make sure it is a teacher who is comfortable teaching a child so young. Many don't start until the age of 5. One problem with a teacher is that most 3 and 4 year olds can't really tolerate a 'lesson' that lasts for more than a few mins. It can be hard for a teacher to know how much to charge and schedule.

 

My younger child is almost 6 and didn't graduate to a full 30 min one on one lesson until he was 5 and a few month. Before that it was 5 and then 10 min before big brother's lesson. My older boy was ready for a full 30 min lesson at 4.5.

 

Suzuki can be very nice at this young age. It can be mostly group lesson with a 5 min individual lesson before or after the group class. Both my kids started that way.

 

I have seen the little mozart series. I think our piano teacher considered it for my younger boy but we didn't use it. Not for any reason I can remember. I am sure it is fine.

 

And yes to getting the suzuki piano CD and listen, listen, listen and then listen some more!

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I highly recommend the Suzuki method for very young children. My first child began Suzuki violin the week he turned three years old. (He was eager to do so and made very rapid progress for a year and a half, before we moved away and had to stop the lessons.) He is still very sensitive to all kinds of little nuances in music, and I really believe it's because of the Suzuki ear-training method. Even just a year and a half of it during those critical early years was so beneficial.

 

My second child started learning piano when she was five. She figured out instantly how to read notes and went extremely quickly through her piano books. BUT -- big difference -- for her, music equaled sight-reading, not expression of emotion. She played so well that for almost seven years no teacher (and she had top-quality teachers) ever figured out that music meant NOTHING to her. She finally rebelled and stopped taking lessons for a year. She's now taking lessons again, not to learn to become a better piano player, but to learn to love music for its own sake. If I could do things over again, I would have put her in Suzuki lessons when she was little and first starting out. Sight-reading is no big deal. A trained ear that listens carefully to each note in a piece of music is far more important.

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Just wanted to recommend Musikgarten. They start by teaching kids to play by ear, learn to transpose into other keys and learn to play chords with the melody almost straight away. I've been really impressed with what my dds have learned. Don't know what age they start. Our teacher is very reasonably priced but that may be just where we live.

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I began teaching private lessons when I was 12 and later went on to minor in piano in college. I LOVE teaching with Alfred. Two things you should consider: (1) Most children are not ready (mentally or with motor skill coordination) until age 8. Don't let that scare you away from teaching a 3 year old, though. Some 3 year olds are perfectly able to hold their attention and have the motor skills necessary to begin playing. (2) If lessons with a certified teacher are too expensive, you should really consider someone who isn't certified (possibly a teenager who wants to study music in college). Why? It's way cheaper, they probably know more about piano than you do, and it helps them at the same time. I learned so much about private instruction as a child that I was able to get "real" teaching jobs while I was still in college. Besides, a 3 year old may or may not be shy around a professional teacher who is used to older kids, but the child may open up better to another "child" who has an open mind about teaching younger than average children.

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I have a child that started Suzuki violin at age 4 and the other started Suzuki piano at age 5. I would also highly recommend Suzuki method for young kids. Is he particularly interested in piano? I just found it a little easier to start young on violin, and many Suzuki teachers won't take kids on piano until 4 or 5.

 

A good early childhood music program can fit the bill for a year or 2. We did this with both kids until we felt they were ready for music lessons and it really did set them up well to be highly successful when they did start music.

 

I think the biggest thing to know when starting a very young child is that the adult needs to be an enthusiastic participant and helper. Both my kids are gifted, but aren't necessarily motivated enough to practice what a teacher wants every day. Practice becomes a game. Now my oldest has been taking for 4 years, is quite accomplished, and it has been totally worth it. But the first 6-9 months (and even longer for some kids) was much more about building a practice habit, working on small motor skills, learning to work with a teacher, etc. The later you start, the less time you end up working on this kind of thing.

 

Good luck!

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Music for Little Mozarts by Alfred is really easy for parents to use, especially at the beginning. No piano skill necessary, really. My middle child started at almost 4 and while the exposure was good, it took a while before her hands/fingers were really strong enough to progress consistently.

 

Dh is accomplished pianist, guitarist, and harmonica player, and teacher of all three. Our older dd is ready mentally, but her hands cannot maintain the needed strength to play. Dh does not suggest a "toy" piano because they have to learn all over again with a "real" piano. He suggests classical piano music played A LOT, and letting the child "play" the piano to build strength.

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We're using the Little Mozart books for my 3 year old. We are using a teacher. She has never taught children this young and thought they would be a good start. It took about 1 1/2 months before she really started taking off. Good luck!

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Caveat on Little Mozarts-the first book and even book 2 are fairly simple for little hands. However, book 3 asks the kids to do some things that musically seem simple, but actually are pretty tough-playing ONE NOTE of a melody in the other hand at the correct time, for example. This had my DD in tears-and just showing her how to "stretch" beyond the 5 finger position would have solved it, but since the book didn't say to do that, she didn't want to do so. We switched to using the Musikgarten keyboard curriculum at home at that point.

 

One question-how big is your 3 yr old? As a music teacher myself, I held off on teaching my piano loving child anything beyond about what was in Little Mozarts 1 until she was 5 because her hands simply weren't big enough to go beyond single notes and to handle a 5 finger position until then. However, my DD is tiny-she's only about 35 lbs 2 weeks from her 6th birthday, so that made a big difference. If they could have made smaller pianos, like they make smaller violins, we would have started with Suzuki at age 3. But since they didn't, leaving her in Kindermusik and showing her how to take the music concepts she was learning to the piano filled in that gap until her fingers were big enough to truly start. She's progressed fairly quickly for a 5 yr old, so I don't think it hurt her to wait and grow a little.

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yes! The thing about how the Little Mozart books make a big leap..that was why we decided against it. I couldn't remember.

 

Both my boys are petite. That is one reason why an experienced teacher does make a difference. They know ways to keep the lessons going while waiting for things like growing (physical and mental) to happen.

 

Hand strength as well. Both my boys had 'terrible' hand positioning eg: "stick fingers" when they were young. My6 year old still does. While my suzuki teacher friend was horrified to see those fingers, their regular teacher (non-suzuki certified) just said they had to get older/stronger. That has been the case with my older boy and I am not worried about my younger.

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I think starting piano young is a great idea!! Both of my boys started Yamaha Children's Music classes when they were about that age. The group classes made it fun and I was surprised how quickly they were playing songs on their own. They learned to play and sing by ear and the solfege method. I think it might be similar to Suzuki but I don't know enough about Suzuki to say. both of my boys have continued on in traditional private lessons after 3-4 years of the group lessons and I was very happy with the foundation that Yamaha gave them.

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If you can find a Suzuki class, or a Yamaha piano class, then I would go for it. I highly recommend Musikgarten, but their piano program does not begin till about age six. However, the years leading up to that really build musical competence. I think the important thing at this age is not learning to play the instrument, but learning to keep a steady beat, sing on pitch, and develop their ear.

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Has anyone put their three year old in a formal music lesson and have any advice? Worth it? Just a frustration? If it's worth it, we will invest in the lessons, but I'd sure like to hear some BTDT advice from y'all.

 

I have two piano players, 10 and 8. They showed interest in violin and piano at very young ages (2 or 3), and I thought very seriously about enrolling them in classes. Long story short, their emotional maturity simply did not allow them to learn music from someone else, not a teacher, not me. Fast forward to now, years later, they are at least at the same level I was at at their ages (piano). #2 is quite a bit more musical than I was, and #1 is passionately analytical. I had weekly private piano classes starting at 4 or 5, and practiced daily. I loved the piano, but it was a struggle. Definitely not a confidence-builder. Any progress had to be shared with my teacher. My kids, on the other hand, taught themselves to read music, to understand musical notation and terminology (by deduction and by asking and sometimes by watching me play stuff and asking me questions). They learned everything on their own, sometimes sharing ideas with each other about how to do this or that or what symbols meant. Until very recently, they simply were not ready to be taught stuff by someone else. Recently, I started teaching them music theory, 'cause you're just not going to get that by inference, you know? But it's sort of touch and go, and I wonder if maybe I should just leave the books with them and have them ask me questions. It seems enough just to expose them to it, for me.

 

I've got them set up with violins that fit them, and I'll show them the violin self-teaching books soon. I so very much want to teach them and share my passion with them, but it's too much. My kids need self-teaching, maturity-level-wise. They are such perfectionists, and they fear criticism so very very much. With our first go with violin, #1 gave up the lessons after just 3 months, though she showed immense natural talent (in positioning stuff), and #2 insisted on continuing for well over a year (she was only 4). She pretty much played only during her class. Needless to say, progress was slow. When I would suggest practice (in the most gentle ways possible), tears would threaten to come. Yet she wouldn't give up lessons. Whatever. I let her do it her way. Now when they talk about violin lessons, they remember fondly. They thought they did well, and they're eager to continue. From just the initial putzing around, they are sort of amazing me. But then, they both started really playing piano just March of this year, and they have both caught up to years of piano I had at their ages. They play piano daily, when possible, practicing the art of sharing a piano and working that around their little siblings' naps. They memorize music, they compose, they invent, they have fun, they perform, they play together, #2 has even invented 3-handed playing (left hand, right hand, and one foot-hand). She complains that some songs require finger spans she does not have (being a tiny 8-year-old).

 

Sorry about the long post, and it's not to dissuade you from music lessons. It's just another perspective on musical training and exposure.

 

Good luck!

Pei

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We are using Children's Music Journey with our just turned 5 year old son. It's a computer program that hooks up to our keyboard (piano keyboard---not computer keyboard). Our son loves it, and he's already started to play simple songs. It's set up like a game, and each section is taught by a different composer. We tried another program first, but it wasn't very good.

 

My husband seems to think it's a good program. He is the one who plays in the family and he taught himself.

 

http://www.adventus.com/

 

I think there are 3 programs in total and our plan was to finish the 3 and then start with formal lessons.

 

Good luck!

 

Roxanne

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Has anyone put their three year old in a formal music lesson and have any advice? Worth it? Just a frustration? If it's worth it, we will invest in the lessons, but I'd sure like to hear some BTDT advice from y'all.

 

I started my dd in Suzuki violin at 3yo. She was asking to learn violin at 2.5yo. I think most Suzuki programs begin piano a little later like 5yo but not sure if all do.

 

There are many benefits to beginning early like ear training, music practice becoming second nature (my dd doesn't remember a time when she didn't practice her fiddle every day), enjoyable one on one time with your child building a relationship pursuing a common goal, and learning how to learn. Also, for a gifted child, it may be the only thing they attempt to do at a young age that has aspects that are difficult or take work so for my dd, it helped her get over her perfectionism. She learned that it was okay for something to not work for her the first time and that she practiced "to make it easier."

 

All children progress at a different pace no matter when they start music training so if you are concerned or have preconceived notions about progress, there may be frustration but if you enjoy the process of learning and the small steps your child takes rather than the overall results, you will not be frustrated.

 

As for the downside...it takes a lot of time and depending on the teacher often a lot of money. Practicing with my dd at 3yo started with 10-15 minute intervals 3 or 4 times a day plus listening to the Suzuki CD throughout the day...I left it on as background noise in the car and at home so I don't really count that as time I needed to set aside. That doesn't seem like a lot of time but being consistent and fitting it into every day was not always easy. Practice time slowly increased with the demands of her music and improved attention that came with maturity. Then there is time driving to lessons and rehearsals...the distance depends largely on where you live and the availability of good teachers in your area.

 

Lessons are not cheap with good teachers. I believe finding a teacher experienced in teaching very young children is very valuable and could be the deciding factor in whether your child loves music or becomes frustrated and decides it isn't for him. Also some believe the older the child, the more quickly they will progress but some young children progress very quickly...who knows if they'd have progressed and be at the same level if they started younger. If resources are limited that may be a consideration though.

 

I believe it was well worth starting my dd so young not just for the benefits listed above. Music is a huge part of our lives now (daily practice, orchestras, travel, and performances) and we love every minute. When we started her at 3yo, I never imagined we would be where we are now. I would have been happy with a child who took music lessons and learned to play for her own enjoyment so I was able to relax and enjoy each day with her making practice fun and discovering new ways to break every large task into smaller more easily accomplished tasks.

 

I didn't start blogging when dd began violin lessons but started about a year in. If you'd like to read a little about our journey you can click on my blog link below.

Edited by Donna
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My older two dds started Suzuki piano lessons at 5, and my younger dd started at 4, because by then she'd gone and taught herself to play the right hand of the whole first book just by listening to her sisters. :001_huh:

 

I would not suggest "traditional" piano lessons before 7 or 8, but Suzuki is great for young learners. One of my older dds switched to violin after a year (at 6), and all three are still playing and have always enjoyed and done well with their lessons.

 

If you're itching to start but want to wait a bit for formal lessons, you could always buy the first Suzuki CD and just listen to the songs - that really helps when lessons start (ask my younger dd...)

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I didn't read all the posts, but can only tell you my story. My older dd piano teacher doesn't start lessons until 7. younger than that, he feels the kids are just too wiggly to tolerate a lesson. I thought he was nuts until I saw my 7 year old sitting for her lesson. it was too funny, but that could be just my wiggle-butt kid!!

 

It has taken a few weeks for her to settle down into the weekly lesson and she loves it. it is $35 for 45 minute lesson. He comes to our house.

 

Robin in NJ

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Has anyone put their three year old in a formal music lesson and have any advice? Worth it? Just a frustration? If it's worth it, we will invest in the lessons, but I'd sure like to hear some BTDT advice from y'all.

 

My three oldest study with the Suzuki method. The boys play cello and started at 5.5 and 4.5. They are both very wiggly. Starting earlier with them (as in 3 y.o.) would have been frustrating. They wouldn't have had the attention span and I wouldn't have had the patience.

 

My dd plays viola and started at 3.5. I would do it again with her in a heartbeat! She was obsessed with violin and so very enamored with music. At 2.5 she'd hold pencils, sticks, and her baby doll as if they were violins and pretend to play music on them. She repeatedly asked to have lessons. By 3.5 we just couldn't hold her off any longer. Her attention span and fine motor skills were absolutely adequate. She started off like a race horse just out of the gates and hasn't slowed down. Music is still her passion in life.

 

It really depends on the kid. I wouldn't start my boys at 3 (not b/c they're boys, just b/c they really weren't developmentally ready and honestly not very interested at that age). I would start my dd again at 3. If I had to go back and do it again, I would even consider starting her at 2.5, actually.

 

My youngest is still a baby, but is completely impressed by the huge, low tone of her big brother's cello. She also loves the viola, but I think that's b/c her older sister lets her strum its strings. If this little one is interested enough to beg for lessons, I'll start her at 3.

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Guess I'm late. I'm with those that suggest things like MuzikGarten for now. As for taking piano lessons, 3 year olds have small hands which can make it a challenge. With things like violins there are child sized instruments (avoid those keyboards with little keys).

 

If your ds is going to the piano on his own virtually every day, then you could start at 4 or 5 either with Suzuki or with a teacher who is good with young children. I have taught a 4 year old and I don't do the Suzuki method. It went well, but since he was wiggly I gave him a 15 minute lesson and I work well with young dc. Plus, I freely adapt things to suit each student. Because he was gifted he easily covered as much as many 6-7 year old beginners that year.

 

What I wouldn't do is to have him learn piano without a teacher with a self teaching method. This is because it is virtually impossible to learn good technique on your own like this and it is extremely difficult to have to unlearn bad habits. If your ds later wants to go into a highly technical type of piano (say, jazz or classical) that would eventually be an obstacle to overcome.

 

Many highly gifted pianists start later and do extremely well. I don't mean as adults, of course (for classical concert pianists that's a little late), but later as dc. The most important things a preschooler needs to work on, if they are ready, are ear training (with fun play type things!), beat, rhythm, singing, etc. It's easy enough to turn off a highly gifted, sensitive musician in the early years with lessons before they are ready (and that has nothing to do with giftedness or aptititude.)

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Hand strength as well. Both my boys had 'terrible' hand positioning eg: "stick fingers" when they were young. My6 .

:iagree::iagree::iagree::iagree: I don't care what studies show:), every piano teacher I have personally known IRL agrees with me--most boys don't develop the find motor skills as early as most girls do. Most teachers don't know how to make up their own exercises for certain situations, either.

 

But as for being expensive, there are some good teachers who aren't expensive and there are some expensive teachers who aren't good with young dc. People can charge more if they have a good reputation, and that may or many not be reflect in their teaching abilities; usually if they are expensive they are good.

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But as for being expensive, there are some good teachers who aren't expensive and there are some expensive teachers who aren't good with young dc. People can charge more if they have a good reputation, and that may or many not be reflect in their teaching abilities; usually if they are expensive they are good.

 

:iagree: Finding a good teacher has been a topic in and of itself on the boards over the years. btdt with having dc learn from a not so good teacher and having to unlearn "well practiced" bad technique. Not fun especially with a 4yo who is eager to keep plowing ahead and instead has to be reigned in.

 

My advice is to check out any person you are considering for a teacher. Ask around at music stores or ask local musicians. Listen to the teacher's more advanced students play...attend a concert, if possible. Sit in on a couple of the teacher's lessons to see how they interact with other students especially if they are teaching children close to your child's age.

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MSNative,

Just to share another perspective... I had a musically inclined 3yr old too. I waited to start him on piano thinking it was too early. I believe it was actually Donna who explained that kids will advance at their own pace. Thank you for that btw!! So it isn't like the kid is being held back if there is a wait. We did start at 4 and 5 1/2 for the older 2. They both did traditional lessons. The teacher that took them only required that they read already and were interested. Both did fabulously with 30 min lessons. Now, I also have a younger child, 3 at the end of winter, who would like lessons too. Rather than spend the money, because I do think he could also sit through with a teacher, I am giving him fun lessons at home. He has his own special "practice" time and feels a part of the family music routine. Though he is a very beginning reader (self taught) I do not plan on working on note reading because I think he'll pick it up when he wants to. What I am doing with him is just fun. We walk fingers down the piano, sing notes, clap beats. What I have noticed with my own and stories from others is that starting music traditionally is fine for a child with perfect or near perfect pitch. Otherwise Suzuki sounds like the way to go as it develops the ear. Also, I envy those who had groups. My most musical kid is also the loneliest. Music classes like Suzuki ones sound like they foster camaraderie between the kids.

But know it can be done, even traditionally, for some kids. Best to you.

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Dd 10 started the harmony Road course when she was 3; I think dd6 was 4. http://harmonyroadmusic.com/ MANY people hate this course, but the pay-off comes in the 5th or 6th year of the program. When we began traditional violin 6 months ago, the violin teacher was VERY critical of the Harmony Road program and solfege in general - comments at every lesson! At the same time, she would complement dd10 on her amazing ear, sense of time and rhythm, etc! I just politely said, "I love the program; we will continue it." Now, the violin teacher has given up comments, and we just hear compliments! :) And dd's piano playing is great too! Her violin teacher assigned her FIVE theory books, fearing that HR does not teach theory. It may not teach theory formally, but it does teach it, and dd is having no difficulty wither her FIVE theory books. FIVE. FIVE. ;)

Edited by Michele B
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MSNative,

Just to share another perspective... I had a musically inclined 3yr old too. I waited to start him on piano thinking it was too early. I believe it was actually Donna who explained that kids will advance at their own pace. Thank you for that btw!!

 

You're welcome!:001_smile:

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. What I have noticed with my own and stories from others is that starting music traditionally is fine for a child with perfect or near perfect pitch. Otherwise Suzuki sounds like the way to go as it develops the ear. Also, I envy those who had groups. My most musical kid is also the loneliest. Music classes like Suzuki ones sound like they foster camaraderie between the kids.

But know it can be done, even traditionally, for some kids. Best to you.

 

Actually, some good music teachers will work on the ear even if they don't teach Suzuki. Also, for some dc, too much of Suzuki fosters imitation rather than playing from the self. Suzuki is a great program, just not for everyone.

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Music classes like Suzuki ones sound like they foster camaraderie between the kids.

 

They really do!

 

I have three kids playing stringed instruments so far. The absolute best part is the group classes, ensembles, and orchestras. The kids have met their best friends through their Suzuki group classes. The look forward to seeing their friends in orchestra and truly love spending time with their ensembles.

 

If we didn't do the group experience I wonder if my kids would have been motivated to practice all these years...

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They really do!

 

I have three kids playing stringed instruments so far. The absolute best part is the group classes, ensembles, and orchestras. The kids have met their best friends through their Suzuki group classes. The look forward to seeing their friends in orchestra and truly love spending time with their ensembles.

 

If we didn't do the group experience I wonder if my kids would have been motivated to practice all these years...

 

:iagree: Our Suzuki program has been a great homeschool connection and social outlet too. The kids love playing together and inspiring each other. There are a few parents/kids that are a little competitive, but mostly not. My son does Suzuki piano that does groups, duets, extra outings, etc that instills camaraderie. And my daughter's violin program is naturally very group oriented.

 

On the comment that Suzuki kids all play alike. I do think this CAN be true. I think quite a bit depends on your teacher AND the particular child/family. But I think that stands whether you go to a traditional or Suzuki teacher. We had experience with both traditional and Suzuki piano teachers. I think the kids that play most naturally from themselves are the most musically gifted, listen to the most classical music, and/or tend to have musically oriented families. I was at a Suzuki violin recital today, and it was clear who these kids were. I took 7 years of violin as background. The most advanced kid in the group literally just sounded like she was making noise to me. Where the most musical child in the group was kind of mid range in repertoire.

 

Funny Suzuki story that just happened here today. My older is my pianist and he has become accomplished for his age. He is PG and is just a naturally fast learner, gets into his music WHILE he is playing it. But isn't wildly passionate about piano, and knows NOTHING about violin. My daughter was "teaching" him how to play a scale on the violin today. She missed a note. He yelled out to her "You missed the D in your scale". I've had teachers tell me he has perfect pitch, but wow, that really slapped me in the face with it. He's an excellent sight reader too. Suzuki has been a great fit for us on many levels. Our Suzuki teacher has been particular good at dealing with a precocious kid.

Edited by kck
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:iagree:

On the comment that Suzuki kids all play alike. I do think this CAN be true. I think quite a bit depends on your teacher AND the particular child/family. But I think that stands whether you go to a traditional or Suzuki teacher. We had experience with both traditional and Suzuki piano teachers. I think the kids that play most naturally from themselves are the most musically gifted, listen to the most classical music, and/or tend to have musically oriented families.

 

 

This is an excellent point. I think where the difference would lie would be in more average students who aren't likely to become professional performers, but ultimately the teacher makes an enormous difference. I had a very biased teacher who didn't like any of us listening to any recordings of anything we were playing and who didn't like the fact that another teacher in our area had his students do that, and he wasn't teaching the Suzuki method. However, over the years I have seen both Suzuki and traditional teaching work very well, and the key is finding what works for your dc and at what age your dc want to start along with finding a good teacher who is also a good fit for your dc. I have to say that there are some pretty poor piano teachers out there, but don't want to see regulation come in because great teaching doesn't go hand in hand with a BA in music.

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I began playing Suzuki violin at age 2 (a month from being 3). I have been playing ever since. I love my Suzuki teacher because he makes me feel like I can do anything. I would definitely recommend doing Suzuki piano. I have played piano (not Suzuki) for about 5 years and found it much harder than violin because I hadn't started young. I think starting an instrument young (suzuki or not) helps because just being exposed to music at such a young age makes music more of a way of life. But I'm not an expert so don't count my opinion for much. :)

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  • 6 months later...
My advice is to check out any person you are considering for a teacher. Ask around at music stores or ask local musicians. Listen to the teacher's more advanced students play...attend a concert, if possible. Sit in on a couple of the teacher's lessons to see how they interact with other students especially if they are teaching children close to your child's age.

 

:iagree::iagree:As a piano teacher, I say this is wonderful advice. I have seen a poor teacher-student match nearly cause the student in question to quit. She spent a few months with me working on entirely different stuff from what she'd been studying- hymns & fun stuff because she was really nearly outside of the range of skill I am comfortable teaching (and I told her that up front), and then went on to another teacher that she works well with and is doing competitions & they were thinking about sending her to France for a workshop and all kinds of cool things. She's a lovely pianist, but nearly quit because of a poor fit with her other teacher.

 

For a 3yo, I'd say you're going to have find someone that enjoys children. A lot of the high-priced teachers I've known just don't. They don't want to mess around with beginners. I love teaching beginners, and I'm uncomfortable with teaching the more advanced student. Find out who your perspective teacher loves to teach - and if it's not beginners, then ask if she knows someone that loves beginners. Ask around at church. For the challenge of teaching someone so young, I'd think hard before engaging a high school student, though if they love piano & they love children it just might work. Don't let them skimp on theory, if you do go with a HS student. Look for short lessons - maybe 15 minutes. Expect to sit down and do the practice with your child pretty much every time, for months or years. It makes a tremendous difference. Ask if the teacher uses games. I used to play matching games with the kids to drill stuff they needed to remember like where the notes are on the staff and so forth.

 

A word of caution about Alfred & Bastian: every transfer student I've ever had arrive in these books was poor in note reading. The 5-finger positions, IMO, hamper the kids in learning the actual names of the notes on the staff. Every time I'd introduce a new song they would want to know what position it was in, and if it didn't fit a position they were lost. I *much* prefer Piano Adventures, because it really de-emphasizes the positions, and even then I often took a marker to the page where it told the kids what position we were in, and blacked it out. It is so easy to become dependent on position, rather than fluently reading the notes. Piano Adventures has a before-the-primer set for the young crowd, though if your child knows their ABCs, can count to 10, and wants to play they can probably start right in the primer with short lessons.

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Here's something to consider: Muzikgarten classes. They use the same types of principles as Suzuki, but you don't play the piano yet. They use age appropriate songs & activites that develop music aurally, and they also introduce rythmic patterns, etc. There are untuned percussion instruments such as rythm sticks, jingles, etc. Apparently a couple of the women who have designed this speak at Suzuki conventions almost annually. Having now seen what Muzikgarten does I think it's a great precursor to music instruments, and you do get a CD, etc, to practice at home. It's worth checking into if you have a class in driving distance. The levels are age appropriate.

 

Disclaimer: I did just get certified as an instructor, but didn't mention Muzikgarten on this thread before doing the workshop because the courses are better music prep than I had expected before taking the training workshop. I knew it had good things about it, of course, or I wouldn't have registered. I haven't seen Music for Mozarts, but one of the other people training with me has taught that before. I haven't investigated Kindermuzik (it was first, but this stemmed off of it to improve what it was at that time, but I'm not sure if they've changed it), but the one difference between them now is the training. Kindermuzik training is apparently now done on line, and I don't see how that could be the same as going in a class in person given the kind of learning experience I had.

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Here's something to consider: Muzikgarten classes. They use the same types of principles as Suzuki, but you don't play the piano yet. They use age appropriate songs & activites that develop music aurally, and they also introduce rythmic patterns, etc. There are untuned percussion instruments such as rythm sticks, jingles, etc. Apparently a couple of the women who have designed this speak at Suzuki conventions almost annually. Having now seen what Muzikgarten does I think it's a great precursor to music instruments, and you do get a CD, etc, to practice at home. It's worth checking into if you have a class in driving distance. The levels are age appropriate.

 

Disclaimer: I did just get certified as an instructor, but didn't mention Muzikgarten on this thread before doing the workshop because the courses are better music prep than I had expected before taking the training workshop. I knew it had good things about it, of course, or I wouldn't have registered. I haven't seen Music for Mozarts, but one of the other people training with me has taught that before. I haven't investigated Kindermuzik (it was first, but this stemmed off of it to improve what it was at that time, but I'm not sure if they've changed it), but the one difference between them now is the training. Kindermuzik training is apparently now done on line, and I don't see how that could be the same as going in a class in person given the kind of learning experience I had.

 

I am a curriculum developer for Kindermusik, as well as teaching the program at a University school of music.

 

Kindermusik has also been fully updated and changed, several times, in fact-with the most recent changes for Fall 2011 going live today. The differences, before the Musikgarten Keyboard class (which I LOVE as a beginning piano course, and which my daughter started after finishing Kindermusik for the Young Child) are mostly cosmetic, from what I've seen (and I've had both trainings) in that Kindermusik materials tend to be brigher and more colorful, and the newest versions have some music that has a more contemporary sound mixed with the folk/traditional music (which I'm lukewarm about, so my units tend to be world music heavy). Both are excellent programs, with the correct teacher. I do think that the Musikgarten model, which requires a teacher to physically go to and commit to a training workshop for EACH age level tends to weed out those who are less serious about it, while Kindermusik tends to do so over the first year or two of teaching, but I've known some dilettante MG teachers, too and some very, very serious music educators who chose Kindermusik, so that's no assurance, and Kindermusik does a better job of providing ongoing professional development (although I will say that more MG folks than KM people are involved in organizations like ECMMA and AOSA/OAKE. I am usually one of only a handful of KM people at ECMMA conferences, while there are dozens of MG people, despite MG having a much smaller educator base). The other big difference doesn't affect parents, but does teachers, and that's that Musikgarten is a curriculum, and mostly stays out of the business side. Kindermusik actively trains and teaches the business skills as well, and provides a lot of tools on that side.

 

My usual advice applies. Pick a program based on the teacher, not the name on the curriculum. With a good teacher, either curriculum (as well as Music Together and a lot of smaller, usually local alternatives) can be wonderful. With a mediocre teacher, even the best curriculum is no better than mediocre. My job is to make sure the Kindermusik curriculum is excellent, and that teachers who want it have the training and support they need to do well-but that doesn't mean they all do.

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I am a curriculum developer for Kindermusik, as well as teaching the program at a University school of music.

 

Kindermusik has also been fully updated and changed, several times, in fact-with the most recent changes for Fall 2011 going live today.

My usual advice applies. Pick a program based on the teacher, not the name on the curriculum. With a good teacher, either curriculum (as well as Music Together and a lot of smaller, usually local alternatives) can be wonderful. With a mediocre teacher, even the best curriculum is no better than mediocre. My job is to make sure the Kindermusik curriculum is excellent, and that teachers who want it have the training and support they need to do well-but that doesn't mean they all do.

 

Yes, this makes a lot of sense and I agree particularly with the bolded part. Thanks for the information. I want to make it very clear that my trainer, whused to teach Kindermusik, did not diss it and was very clear that she doesn't know how it's being taught today, but I happened to love the live training (also personal, and it happened to be close enough for me to commute to; had it been far away, Kindermusic training online would have been what I would have opted for because I really want to teach music to young children.) As for contemporary music vs older folk songs, etc, I think much of the preference for one over the other is very personal, and I do love the folk songs.

 

For the most part, I think that programs like this, with a good teacher, are great for young children who aren't old enough to begin formal instruction with an instruments such as a piano. There are some children who aren't going to like it no matter how great the teacher is.

Edited by Karin
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We started DD at 4.5y/o with Suzuki violin - no problems, her teacher is lovely and fantastic with her. DS1 is going to start suzuki piano next year at 4.5 (at home with me), I was going to hold him off a bit longer but I think he's ready and waiting. DD wants to tag along on piano too.

 

Donna, loved your blog (couldn't comment) - especially your DD's recital piece, I'll be playing that for my DD to watch today!

 

eta: she loved it, she was speechless!

Edited by LMD
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