How do piano lessons for preschoolers differ from older beginners?
It is a common mistake that teachers do not change their teaching techniques and lesson plans for our younger students. Although your preschooler will still receive a normal lesson time, which is weekly 30 minute lessons. They will also be learning their notes, rhythm, technique and music theory as well, just like all the other piano students. BUT... how long you take with each concept will vary, not only with age but with each individual child as well. Some preschoolers learn their notes quickly but struggle with rhythm or the other was around. Piano teachers that have experience teaching piano to preschoolers can pick up pretty quickly what your child's strengths and learning styles are.
Learning how to teach in a way that is not only fun and patient, but lets our preschool piano students actively engage in their lessons is something that we strive for. We wish to cultivate a love for playing the piano while at the same time excelling at a pace that works for each student's needs. Some preschoolers will have a longer attention span than others, or practice more willingly. If your child does not want to practice it is not unusual! Most adults taking piano lessons often say that they wish they would have stayed in piano lessons, or that they wish they would have practiced. Although, you may not see it now, your child will thank you one day for keeping them in lessons. And if your child does have problems focusing, it's ok. Piano lessons will actually help improve their focus! It's actually a win win!
How long should I be having my child practice during the week?
Beginners in general will not have as much time needed to practice during the week when compared to advance piano students. And preschool beginners will be even slightly less than our older beginners. We will often have parents ask for a time period on how long their child should be practicing each day. Should they be practicing for 30 minutes or an hour every day?! If a child is being forced to practice that long they will most likely get burnt out. They do not have enough music to be practicing on for that length of time yet. When they are first starting, it might only take them ten minutes to get through all of their assignments. You might think that is not long, but their pieces are very short to begin with. Generally we recommend playing through their assigned pieces three times each day they practice. We do not even say that they should practice every day. If they want to that's great, but five days a week of practice is great! As a side note, when students become advance pianists setting a time is easier, when you have very long pieces you could be at the piano all day if you play them all three times each.
We LOVE sharing our passion for the piano with our younger students!
Yes, yes, yes!!! Starting your child in piano lessons at a young age is an amazing gift to them. Our students who start out young in lessons are always shining in our recitals, because after five or so years of playing the piano, they are able to play some really impressive pieces of music! Most our students become extremely passionate when they reach the point of being able to pick out challenging pieces of music for recitals.
When all is said and done, there is no "right time, or right age" to start your child in piano lessons. ....BUT, the earlier you start the more time you will have in your life to grow and learn the piano.