Saturday, January 3, 2009

Young Children Learning Piano: Group or Private Lessons

By Georgia Reader

Students may train in keyboard skills by private lessons with an instructor or by participating in a class with other students. Most parents are unable to decide which type of piano lesson format to take for their child. The two types of venues are both effective, and we will show how a parent can decide.

Group lessons are basically designed for younger children ages 3 to 6 and likely includes other activities such as playing rhythm instruments, singing, movement, and some keyboard activity. Very young children like fun interactive activities because group keyboard lessons for the very young do not emphasize keyboard playing. Older children will get more time at the keyboard, but there are still other activities such as learning rhythm and singing during the lesson session.

Private piano lessons can be quite demanding for younger children as it can be mentally and physically challenging. If a teacher is particularly strict or demanding, piano lessons begin to become something that is dreaded by a young child not used to structure. The attention span of a young child is shorter than an older child, and the hands are much smaller so not many keys can be reached at once.

Some classroom lesson sessions and a few private instructors may require that parents attend the lesson with the child. The reason is that the parent can study their child's behavior during the learning process, and possibly learn some music themselves if they don't have any musical training. By observing lessons, a parent will be able to help their child if they do not understand and need help.

If the child seems to adjust to private lessons, then they should continue for awhile. It also depends on the approach and the personality of the private teacher. Is the instructor fairly patient and accommodating and offers stickers or little rewards if the child successfully passes a piece?

Group lessons can be hard to adjust by some young students because they may not like all the activity that goes on in the classroom. Private lessons provide a calmer atmosphere if the teacher is gentle and understanding with the younger student. Again, the parent should watch their child in the private lesson situation to see if they are learning and understand the musical concepts.

Does you child want the group lessons or private lessons? Did they ask to learn how to piano or join a group class? Let them observe the group classes or take a private lesson or two from a recommended teacher that accepts and enjoys working with very young students.

Is your child excited or happy about the classes or lessons? If not, do not make them go to a class or lessons if they do not wish to go. One of the worst things you can do for a child is to force them to take music lessons or classes when they have no interest.

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