Teachers are noticing that kids are not ready to write when they go to school.
Fine motor skills are so important to a child's success. But in this age of ipads, smartphones, and tablets - what's a parent to do?
Check out this important article for some tips on how to help your child. It's about a 5 minute or less read.
At our piano studio - we are always striving to find ways to increase those motor skills, and give kids cross-over skills that will help them succeed in school and life. It's so much fun to watch these kids grow!
If we can help you in any way - let us know. Pop us an email, ask a quick question, and we will get back to you shortly. Looking forward to a great year of young musicians in 2018!
There it is. The ugly truth about my silverware drawer. It drives me crazy - and occasionally I wipe it out - but there they are again. Crumbs!
Why am I being so openly transparent about this? Because I want all you mamas out there to know several things: it's okay if your house is not sparkling, your kids are not perfectly behaved, and you lose it every once in a while.
Forget all the Pinterest-perfect pictures. Let's talk about real life.
My kids are grown, but I look back on lots of times that were less than perfect. Big picture - they managed to make it to functioning, loving, amazing adults. Even my special-needs adult son continues to encourage me by his responsibility and care for others.
From my vantage point - I try to make the main thing the main thing - Love. And I hope that in this New Year - 2018 - you take the time to love, and to be kind to yourself.
Here in my piano studio - we practice the same thing. We love each kid, and overlook the small stuff. If you are curious as to what a modern piano lesson looks like, contact us. We will give you a few quick schedule options to choose from. Happy New Year - and here's to wonderful music-making!
Do you want your child to have an enjoyable activity that will carry throughout life?
Do you want your child to learn skills that will help them succeed in school?
Do you want part of your child's brain to be bigger? (What?)
There is great research on just what piano lessons can do for a child BEFORE they turn seven.
Read this quick article - written by the founders of Wunderkeys. I hope it helps you as you navigate the choices of parenthood!
So, why are YOU thinking about piano lessons for your child?
*Did you take lessons as a child and want your child to have a good experience with music?
*Did you wish you had taken lessons when you were younger, and never had the opportunity?
*Do you want your kids to have the benefits of increased attention span, better language and motor skills, and generally be a more well-rounded person?
*Do you want to see smiles and hear energetic laughter as your child plays and creates songs?
Whatever your reason, piano is a great activity for kids – and the younger, the better!
Here are some glimpses into the studio:
And my favorite – I hear this one all the time:
What kid says, “Can I play that again?” to a learning activity? That is when you, as a parent, know that you have hit the sweet spot of providing that is so unique and special- they can’t get enough of it.
The Best Part – You are framing an experience for your whole family.
Learning piano is a skill that your child will enjoy throughout life. Imagine your child helping your GRANDCHILD to play the piano.
This powerful truth hit me several years ago. One of my former students, all grown up with kids of her own, put her two year old on my waiting list. Her child had to wait FOUR YEARS to get into the studio. It was so cool to see Elisabeth bring Noah, then his younger sister Emma, to lessons every week. They were my first “grand-students”! The whole family had fun playing piano together.
Thinking about buying a keyboard for your child? Read on for the top 5 digital pianos available for under $1,000!
Digital pianos have changed the way piano is taught, and the way it can be learned. They also provide you, as a parent, many choices on what kind of instrument to buy for your children. Let's examine the considerations:
"What is the cheapest option?"
If your child is a preschooler (age 4 and under), you may want something they just can "play" with. In other words, you want a toy. In that case - why not buy a "toy piano" for under $25 from Target or Wal-mart? Here is an example of a cute one:
What you are really after is something that gives them a little way to explore, without busting your budget or having a younger sibling destroy it (right?). Any child in my Wunderkeys program could do their lessons on something like this.
"I Want my child to learn to play piano."
In that case - please don't get a 61 or 76 key un-weighted keyboard. This type of instrument might cost $50-$100 ish at a big box store. You are wasting your money here. Reasons you DON'T want to buy this kind of keyboard:
So - if you really want your child to play the piano, even if they are just a beginner learning to play simple songs (and I would say, ESPECIALLY if they are a beginner) - get an instrument that won't confuse them.
If you are ready to get that kind of instrument for your child, keep on reading for my 5 Digital Pianos for under $1,000 recommendations!
#1- Casio Privia
I don't particularly like the sound of these pianos, but the price is lower than some of the others. You can sometimes find a used one for $399, and a new one for $499. Check Guitar Center and Amazon. Watch out how you use this one - try to get the keyboard the correct height for your child. See your teacher for recommendations.
#2 - Yamaha P45 - 88 key weighted action
This one comes just as a keyboard ($399) or with a frame, bench, and sustain pedal for $529.
#3 Yamaha DGX 660
This piano was recommended by a teacher I highly respect. In fact, she put one of these in her studio as an extra piano. It comes with a stand and pedal, and can be "portable" if you need to transport. Around $799.
#4 Yamaha Arius
These instruments are available at Guitar Center, Yamaha dealers, and other music stores. The settings are simple, action is weighted, and pedals are secure so they don't slip. (That's something to really consider about the previous instruments. If you buy a digital piano with a plug-in pedal, and your child continues piano for more than 2 years, you will need to upgrade to something more substantial after that to allow them to learn pedalling techniques.) The Arius ranges from $699 used to around $1,000 new at most stores.
#5 Roland FP-30
Another portable instrument. Not ideal - but will carry you through a couple of years if placed properly. I personally love the sound and feel of Roland pianos. They are also easy to connect to ipads. Around $699. I personally recommend also buying the kit that is "furniture" style. It's sturdy, and looks alot better than the X-stand. The X-stand was very frustrating for the little kids in my studio.
There you have it! Five options to get your little ones' fingers moving on the keys. If you have any questions about acoustic pianos, or digital pianos over $1,000 - contact me. I would be glad to help point you in a direction that is budget-friendly, yet helpful to your kiddo!
Calendar dates for the school year are set! Take a look at the attached file. I hope you find many, many opportunities to involve your child in music this year. As they say, the more, the merrier!
We know you are doing your best.
Parenting little ones is exhausting! How in the world are you supposed to keep everyone clothed, fed, cleaned, and well-behaved? Thinking about preparing for kindergarten is one more daunting thing on a parental list.
Piano Lessons can help.
"What? Piano for preschoolers? I've always heard they were too young."
Not now. With the introduction of Wunderkeys, a curriculum built developmentally for ages 3-5 - your preschoolers can learn about music and the keyboard in a gentle, age-appropriate way. We also throw in math, listening, and fine motor skills mixed in with a heap of fun!
How do i know if they are ready? Will they like it?
Contact us for a free, no-obligation resource that outlines characteristics of children who benefit from Wunderkeys.
What if I need more ideas?
Denton Piano Lessons is always striving to help provide more information to parents. Check out this link for a great article on getting kids ready for the classroom:
Contact us - we will see how we can help you
Let's start a conversation about your child, his needs, and how we can serve you and point you in the right direction. You're not in this alone.
Wow - that word - "force".
It doesn't sound like fun to think about forcing a child to take piano lessons, or to do anything. As a parent, you have to teach your child about personal hygiene and health habits, cleaning their room, taking responsibility for homework and chores, and so much more. Children have to learn to read, write, and do math; as well as get along with others and be kind. But, do they have to take piano lessons?
The short answer is no. As a piano teacher for over thirty-seven years, I can tell you that if a child is super oppositional to piano, it will be difficult or impossible to get very much accomplished with piano lessons.
On the other hand, if your child is open to lessons, even if they don't always want to practice - you might want to consider guiding them in this area. The benefits to music lessons for the child are many, and the lessons they learn in piano will help them in other areas of life. Consider what this Nashville mom is doing for her children:
Feel free to start a discussion with me on the merits of your child taking lessons. What are your views on what children should learn when it comes to music? I would love to know your thoughts.
Why do piano students quit? Recent research by Karen King provides the answers. Students need three things in order to be motivated to succeed. If they don't have these three things, chances are they will become discouraged and quit. What are the three ingredients for piano success?
Students have to feel like they are competent and can do piano. In order to feel competent, they have to receive good instruction, and put in the practice times. Students in grades 2-4 who dropped out averaged 80 minutes of practice per week. Students in the same age group who continued lessons had an average of 155 minutes of practice per week. So - actually putting in the time on the piano bench at home is a great predictor of success.
Competency is a part of every lesson here at Denton Piano Lessons. We stress the steps that are important to music learning, practice the skill, then turn the students loose to explore these on their own. Many times, students will achieve high scores on their pieces through Piano Maestro because they have focused on this sure-fire process.
Students who have a sense of autonomy have a higher sense of ownership in their music study. Students who can choose some of the pieces that they study, or they have a choice about when they practice, develop a higher self-motivation about piano. This motivation can include extrinsic motivation, but transcends that into feeling like it is something that they want to do.
I am hopeful that every student will pick the pieces and styles that they enjoy most. There are certain things we must all learn. No doubt, we have our favorite pieces to play. Often, for a studio recital, I will let the child pick whatever they want to play and share. Then, the musical expression comes from the heart.
Piano students need to know that what they are doing matters to those who matter the most to them. If family or friends do not see piano lessons as "cool" or "relevant", students will not want to continue. If students are studying classical pieces, for example, and their family never listens to classical music, it becomes hard for them to stay motivated.
So- what can parents do to help their kids stay motivated? Karen King offers 3 suggestions:
Since I have started teaching preschoolers, I have noticed there is a wide range of ability in handwriting skill. Some don't even know how to hold a pencil or marker at all. Some are eagerly writing their names and drawing numbers and pictures for me. All of these children are brilliant; and working hard to better their fine motor skills.
How can a parent better prepare their child for kindergarten? I came across this link which gives wonderful ideas and pages for kids to do some practice that doesn't feel like "handwriting". Let me know if you like this resource! I am always on the lookout for ways to help my littlest students.
Also try drawing big circles on pieces of paper with crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Draw a "t" - starting from the top, then down, then left to right if right-handed, right to left if left-handed. Use play-doh, fingerpaint, and watercolors.
By exposing your child to music through our Wunderkeys program, you are already engaging their brain, their motor skills, and their listening skills. You are also helping them along with a love of music, and some pre-kindergarten math skills. Let's give our littlest students a big cheer!