Saturday, February 9, 2013

Piano Lessons for Children - What to Expect

Learning how to play the piano is a skill that can provide joy and enrichment for a lifetime. One of the most enjoyable parts of learning how to play the piano is the opportunity to perform in front of others.

In the first lesson, the piano teacher will ask questions and start with exercises that help gauge the student's interests, musical capabilities, and goals for piano lessons. With younger students, the teacher may play copycat games, where the teacher plays short patterns and asks the student to imitate them.

The student will be assigned exercises that build skills like finger dexterity, identification of the fingers by number, rhythm, connecting one note to the next, and correct hand position. With these skills the student will be ready to learn simple melodies by ear. Note reading comes next, starting with identifying notes by letter on a page, and then learning to identify the same notes on the keyboard. Five-note scales may be introduced at this point, first with the hands separately and then together.

As the student advances and is ready to start working on pieces, the structure of lessons will begin to vary depending on the student's musical preferences. A student wishing to learn popular music, for instance, might begin learning to read chord charts and learning chord progressions rather than focusing on reading sheet music. For classical piano, scales and arpeggios along with music theory will be important tools for learning repertoire.

In a lesson, the teacher will listen for correct notes and expression, and help the student learn to adjust their hand position or fingering so that the notes flow easily without straining the hands or wrists. No matter the style or level, the piano teacher will encourage the student to listen to recordings and attend live performances. Listening can help in every aspect of learning, from learning notes to enhancing expression to developing musical taste.

Piano lessons can be started at almost any age. Each student will progress differently depending on their age and previous musical experience. Very young students might stay at a beginner level for several years, as the physical coordination and cognitive skills required to play the piano are still developing. For an older student, it might take a year or so for a student with no previous musical experience to become comfortable with music reading, playing with the hands together, and playing chords in addition to melodies. Don't be discouraged if progress seems slow at first.

Learning how to play a musical instrument is an exciting activity. A great piano teacher will make sure that your child’s piano lessons are fun and will provide positive feedback and praise.

About Wagner Dance and Music

Since 1989, Wagner Dance and Music, a performing arts school, has been teaching East Valley students. Our 3600 square foot Gilbert facility is conveniently located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Guadalupe in the Big Lots plaza. We offer classes for ages two to adult in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Tumbling, Cheer, Musical Theater and Voice as well as adult classes. For more information about Wagner Dance and Music or to sign up for a class, visit or call 480-892-7179.

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